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If life can be described as nothing more than a series of moments that help define the different eras of our respective journeys, Saturday's UFC 300 card marks a pivotal time of reflection for MMA's leading promotion. 

Just six months removed from its 30th anniversary, UFC enters T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this weekend at a new mountain-top moment in terms of financial gain and international reach. And even though the perfectly viable Alex Pereira-Jamahal Hill main event wasn't most fan's first choice for such an anticipated card, the top-to-bottom depth alone speaks to UFC's global position of increasing dominance, even as ambitious competitors like PFL try their best to give chase. 

UFC 300 also marks the third round-numbered event of its kind, which has been treated by CEO Dana White and his team of matchmakers as the type of can't-miss, historic event akin to the Super Bowl or Olympics, except for the fact that the time between such ambitious cards is arbitrary based upon the UFC's numbering scheme for pay-per-view events. 

If UFC 100, headlined in 2009 by Brock Lesnar and Georges St-Pierre in separate bouts, marked an early peak of the promotion's brand power as it equaled or surpassed -- thanks to a then-record buyrate of 1.6 million -- the PPV reach of its combat brethren boxing, it was UFC 200 that kicked off, due to the promotion changing hands from Zuffa to new owner Endeavor that same 2016 weekend, a new era of expansion through a landmark ESPN distribution deal that the promotion still enjoys to this day. 

So, what type of future might UFC 300 usher in for the combat sports leader between now and UFC 400 which, should the promotion continue at its monthly PPV schedule, come to fruition around 2031? That's an interesting question. 

The UFC, which was founded by businessman Art Davie and martial arts legend Rorion Gracie in 1993, was seen as nothing more than a niche product promising no holds barred entertainment during the SEG ownership era until it was completely banned from PPV for being too violent while on the verge of bankruptcy. 

The promotion's purchase in 2001 by Zuffa saw the UFC run towards regulation as Station Casinos heirs Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta joined forces with their childhood friend White to model their company after everything their collective favorite sport of boxing was unable to still be due to greed and disorganization. Although their success was far from overnight, the cable television breakthrough of their 2005 inaugural "The Ultimate Fighter" season helped turn the UFC's fortunes away from financial ruin. 

By the time UFC 100 came around some four years later, the promotion was on its way toward becoming a PPV and live event juggernaut just as its early stars like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture gave way to a more modern group of icons like Lesnar, GSP, BJ Penn and Anderson Silva. But if UFC 100 celebrated a true arrival for the promotion, it was the next few years that built the groundwork for UFC's acceptance into the mainstream. 

The UFC 100 main event between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir generated an estimated 1.6 million PPV buys. Getty Images

In 2011, UFC moved its focus off of cable to terrestrial TV through a deal with Fox that kicked off with a heavyweight championship bout (Junior dos Santos-Cain Velasquez I) on free TV in prime time. The ensuing years saw Lesnar's meteoric rise give way to the two most important figures UFC has promoted since -- Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey -- which not only brought women into the fold for the first time in 2013 but only expanded upon the promotion's PPV dominance. 

Fast forward to UFC 200, which coincided with the promotion's $4.025 billion sale to Endeavor, and the event marked a new beginning altogether of celebrity crossover and a new business model, sparked by a $1.5 billion ESPN deal in 2018, which saw the focus shift from PPV revenue to consistent content creation in the form of fight cards nearly every weekend. 

In 2021, Endeavor bought out Zuffa's remaining owners at a valuation of $1.5 billion. Two years later, Endeavor merged UFC with its new purchase of WWE to form TKO Group Holdings, a publicly traded company that currently holds an enterprise valuation of nearly $10 billion. 

Not only are UFC and WWE now open to ideas like talent sharing and cross-platform appearances from its biggest stars, the two promotions are offering major cities a group package of big events from both brands during the same weekend, in a merger that was previously unthinkable not just due to the rivalry between White and ex-WWE chairman Vince McMahon, but the obvious stigma of aligning a scripted combat sports entity with the real thing.  

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The obvious question now surrounds what fans can expect from UFC over the remainder of this decade and whether there is still room for the brand to grow. 

To some, the idea of UFC joining the NFL, NBA and MLB in the classic interpretation of the "Big 4" of pro sports in North America remains the impossible dream. To others, it's a dream UFC has already accomplished through the reach of both its ESPN deal and the consistently escalating live gate records the promotion has achieved post-pandemic. 

Either way, the company does have room to grow from the standpoint of its output deal. If the broadcasting success of new partner WWE is any indication, which recently announced a move for its Raw brand to Netflix in a massive, $5 billion deal, the dream scenario for each pro league within the "Big 4" is to diversify its distribution across multiple high-paying platforms, which UFC is expected to do in 2025 when the ESPN deal expires. 

In fact, some Wall Street analysts already believe UFC could end up doubling its value through a diversified portfolio of broadcasting deals next year -- possibly through aligning with upstart streaming giants like Netflix and Prime Video -- that could see the total value of its output deal increase to $3 billion. 

One should also expect UFC, which recently opened state-of-art Performance Institutes in both China and Mexico to further recruitment, to continue its international takeover into new markets. From expansions in France and the United Kingdom to its want to invade Spain now that breakout star Ilia Topuria has commandeered the promotion's featherweight title, the UFC has only built upon inroads already created in Brazil and Australia over previous decades. 

UFC, which first brought a PPV card to the Middle East in 2010 after selling 10% of its ownership share to Abu Dhabi's Flash Entertainment, has also made expansive moves into that same area in recent years by staging cards all over the United Arab Emirates, including a COVID-era residency at Yas Island that helped make UFC the only game in town in pro sports during key stretches of the pandemic.

In May, UFC will look to further expand its global footprint with a debut event in Saudi Arabia, airing live on ABC during the afternoon in the U.S., which marks a key partnership with the oil-rich nation that has ambitiously tried, through gluttonous payouts to boxing promoters and a $100 million investment in the PFL, to turn Riyadh into the new Las Vegas as the fight sports capital of the globe. 

The next major takeover for UFC could come in the form of the continent of Africa, thanks to an infusion of recent homegrown champions like Kamaru Usman, Francis Ngannou, Israel Adesanya and Dricus du Plessis. It's an expansion that could get sped up now that PFL has created a regional African promotion headed up Ngannou following his bitter exit from UFC citing poor fighter treatment. 

Referring to PFL -- or anyone else, for that matter -- as a competitor, is an exercise birthed much more in hope and ambition than actual truth. The reality for UFC is that its only true competition comes from within itself -- and its own greed -- as the promotion continues to make subtle changes to the product that have steadily increased profits but come at the price of a watered-down feel, which has only begun testing the patience of the hard-core fan base for which it depends upon. 

Ticket prices have been dramatically dialed up post-pandemic (to even as high as $900 for nose-bleed seats at New York's Madison Square Garden last fall) just as matchmaking quality has dipped precipitously for non-PPV events. On the flipside, UFC has been just as routinely criticized for holding too many Fight Night events at the cost-effective UFC Apex, a facility the promotion owns in Las Vegas that feels both cavernous and soulless to both fighters and fans watching at home.  

UFC, which years ago bragged about how much its content was an escape for those tired of religious or political propaganda on sports television, has pulled an extreme 180 from the standpoint of not just refusing to police the controversial (and sometimes caustic) opinions of its fighters but purposely televising the walkouts from the arena tunnel to their cageside seats of former President Donald Trump and an All-Star team of right-wing personalities.

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And then there's Power Slap, the polarizing and barbaric combat spinoff promotion founded by White and the Fertitta brothers, which has infiltrated UFC's public relations ecosphere and has often been more aggressively promoted than its flagship MMA brand. 

But when referencing UFC's rare missteps of late while debating whether any of them will produce a lasting impact to its bottom line, one must also mention the recent settlement of a pair of class-action lawsuit some 10 years in the making from a group of Octagon alumni that threatened to dramatically alter the future of fighters' rights (and the one-sided control for which UFC benefits) for years to come. 

This was the same platform for that Ngannou so brazenly stood on when he fought out his UFC contract, despite multiple obstacles, in order to attain true free agency. But amid the threat of UFC expensively dragging out the proceedings through multiple appeals, the trial never came to be as the same group of fighters agreed, instead, on a $335 million settlement that allowed UFC to avoid the fallout of being deemed a monopoly. 

The result has UFC poised for even more expansion and evolution as not just the gold standard of MMA promotion but of combat sports in general. That's why UFC 300 marks an opportunity for the promotion to flex the incredible depth of Saturday's card and the fact that, given the all-action matchmaking of this landmark event, it would be very difficult for this card to do anything but massively entertain. 

It might have sounded crazy some 15 or even 20 years ago when White would so bullishly inform the media just how big UFC would eventually become, and that it would stand on equal footing with professional sports brands like the NFL and NBA. 

If the expansive growth between UFC 100 and now is any indication as to what the future could bring for the promotion should it balance its ambitious goals with the necessary reality of serving today's fanbase with what it deserves week to week, it's impossible to put a ceiling upon just how big the brand might be on the global stage come UFC 400. 

Who wins UFC 300: Pereira vs. Hill, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC 300, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200, and find out.