I think it is somewhat necessary for UFC to succeed. For most "normal people" (not including us, because we are into MMA enough to post on MMA forums) want some background story to add to what they are watching. Most excitement from events (fights, wrestling) comes from watching how events unfold in a storyline. If you watch a fight and had no idea who they are and what they think of each other, you would not really care. Your level of involvement (including anticipation) in the event increases as you learn more about how they feel, what the importance of the event is, and how it impacts other aspects of a person's life. Not that UFC is turning into WWE, it is that WWE learned long ago that this aspect of audience participation is needed for people to care.