By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
No matter how much they celebrated the shockingly good release of Topps’ maiden UFC product last February, there were those among even the hardest of hardcore mixed martial arts fans who feared that a UFC-exclusive trading card product lacked legitimate sustainability.
Supposedly, the UFC’s roster of truly collectible athletes was too limited. Supposedly, the lack of competition would prevent Topps’ product developers from continuing to raise the bar creatively and conceptually. Supposedly, the sport was too young/obscure/violent/nontraditional to develop a deep, savvy collector base. Supposedly, Topps – looking to capitalize on a hot property – would run this good thing into the ground too quickly . . .
One year and three products later, every one of those alleged concerns – and any others – has been waylaid, rendered utterly incapacitated like anyone trying to stand and strike with Shane Carwin or Paul Daley.
Clearly, this whole UFC-as-a-trading-card-sport experiment continues to deliver one knockout punch after another.
That much is refreshingly obvious from the very first pack of 2010 Topps UFC Main Event, the company’s third installment of the franchise that’s due out everywhere Feb. 24.
Main Event delivers everything you’d want from an evolving product line that appears desperate to continue improving. The hit-filled release advances the genre considerably and offers a collecting experience that feels dramatically different than the two that have come before.
Some of the most telling new additions include . . .
- An attractive foilboard base design that makes every pack pop
- A subset devoted to the brightest stars of the WEC, the UFC’s popular sister organization that showcases lighter weight classes
- At least two autographs and three Relic cards per box (one of our two preview boxes included three autographs and four Relic cards; both included at least one autographed Relic card)
- A stunningly colorful propaganda-style insert set
- Absolutely zero redemption cards, according to Topps officials
- And the first autographed Relic cards of Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Josh Koscheck
Still, despite all of that, the single most-rewarding aspect of Main Event is the historic, extra-thick inclusion of pieces of actual UFC Octagon cage. It makes for a revolutionary-feeling card that adds a great deal of gritty authenticity to a product line that didn’t really need it, but benefits greatly because of it.
To get you ready for Saturday’s UFC 110 pay-per-view, and to satiate you until you can get your hands on some next week, here’s a riveting sneak peek at 2010 Topps UFC Main Event . . .