With the recent announcement that UFC fighters and Season 1 Alumni of The Ultimate fighter reality show, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar would be getting inducted in to the UFC hall of fame, and my utter disappointment after watching every Fight on the UFC 161 card (Thank god I didn’t pay for this one), I started asking myself, What is happening to the UFC?
I have been a fan of the UFC for at least the last eight years or so, probably closer to 10. I watched the UFC grow into the mainstream after TUF season 1 finale sent it into the stratosphere with the Griffn vs Bonnar fight. I was a fan before the ultimate fighter was a reality show, when Frank Shamrock, and guys like Tank Abbott were still fighting along with some of the Gracie boys. Back then the UFC still had a long way to go, Guys like Frank Shamrock didn’t worry about being well rounded and training in all the different styles of MMA. This school of fighters were still of the mindset that UFC events were basically Tough man contests promoted for the purpose of profit on PPV, where the last man standing won the fight. It was brutal, highly unorganized and purely for entertainment purposes. During the 1990’s there were very few rules, time limits or any kind of organization regarding the fights or the organization as a whole. It wasn’t until Zuffa purchased the UFC from Semaphore Entertainment Group that it became the legitimate and well respected sport that it is today.
Zuffa inc. and Dana White Did not own or run the UFC until January of 2001, and Season 1 of TUF did not premiere until 2005. With arguably the most influential fight in UFC history , season one saw Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar leave everything they had including their blood in the ring for a UFC contract and the status of attaining the title of the worlds first Ultimate Fighter. (BTW if you are a UFC fan and haven’t seen this Fight, Do yourself a favor and go check it out!)
In Season 1 Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell were coaches, and back then the UFC was stacked in every division with fighters that would later become champions and make names for themselves in a big way. Randy Couture would be champ again, Chuck would beat Randy to become champ. Rich Franklin would later fight some of the greatest and toughest guys in the UFC. Tito Ortiz would Knockout the old school Guy Frank Shamrock and The Prodigy BJ penn would go on to make history in 2 divisions, fighting the likes of Jens Pulver. Tough guys Like Matt Huges and George St pierre would re define the sport and the way we look at fighters. Josh Koscheck who could Do NOTHING but wrestle very well when he came into the UFC through TUF would go on to become one of the best, and most well rounded fighters in the UFC. Many of the UFC fighters like Forrest Griffin and others would later become household names. Certainly BJ Penn, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture along with Forrest Griffin became some of the world’s most recognizable faces in the world of MMA.
Fast forward to UFC 161 and after watching the main event with 2 really great fighters, I couldn’t help but to ask myself , what is going on with the UFC? In a world where no 10 year old kid in the world can name the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, all we have for household names in the fight game are the championship belt holders of the UFC.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE GSP fan, and I think St Pierre will go down in history as the Michael Jordan of MMA. I respect Anderson Silva, and how great he is, and there is no question that Jon Jones represents the new breed of champions to come.
That being said, where is the rest of the UFC going?…it seems that Every Single PPV we have now is a Card full of unknown fighters with the main event Possibly being 2 guys that everyone knows. If you’re gonna pay 50 bucks for a PPV event can’t we at least get a card that’s stacked with the superstars of the sport? Shouldn’t we at least be able to name more than one fighter on the card? I mean where is Josh Koscheck? Diego Sanchez? Kenny Florian? Frankie Edgar? Chris Leben? Rampage Jackson? Rich Franklin (retired?) Keith Jardine? (Retired?) If you run to the UFC site these fighters are still listed, but are they ever going to fight again? What I’m saying is this, The UFC really needs to stop trying to make room for every no name fighter that wants in the fight game and start making some superstars of the sport again by making the veteran fighters available at PPV events. Even Brock Lesnar was a superstar because of his status as a wrestler and his sheer size. It seems the UFC is content with having just a few faces as household names and not building any superstar fighters like they did with Chuck and Randy. I mean even Randy didn’t stick around the UFC, he’s running a Bellator MMA reality show. What does that say about the UFC and their Loyalty? Shouldn’t The UFC try to keep guys like Randy Couture, one of the most influential faces of mixed martial arts and the UFC around in some capacity?
We have some great fighters out there now, but it seems that Jon Jones, George St. Pierre and Anderson Silva may be the only Real Superstars we see ever come out of the UFC. At this rate the UFC is content with giving us mediocre main events and Sub par under card fights. Where is the loyalty? where are the fighters that made the UFC what it is today?….We need the Veterans and we need them on a more regular basis!……Maybe I’m missing something here, but if UFC 161 is a sign of things to come from the UFC, and Cain Velasquez is what we have to look forward to as Heavyweight greatness, and new faces and guys we have never seen before fill the fight cards the UFC will go away just like boxing did. I don’t want that , and never wanted boxing gone. Boxing killed itself, and it seems to me the UFC is on the same path. Listen to the fans, and make those fights happen!
If you have an opinion on the matter please feel free to comment! I’s love to hear your thoughts on the matter at hand!