When the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made the jump to the FOX platform they put top-five rankings on the screen that was met with mockery from the 140 character jokesters on Twitter.
The key reason it was scoffer at among the MMA community is because UFC President Dana White has been one of the biggest detractors against ranking systems, discrediting them and questioning their validity in combat sports for years.
Now it seems he has changed his tune. In the pre-fight media scrum for UFC 156 the boisterous figurehead stated they were tag teaming with world-renowned fight statisticians Fight Metric to deliver a rankings system for each division, as well as a pound-for-pound ladder.
The pot was sweetened with the addition of fight media getting their chance to have their opinion be heard with 90 press members getting to vote after each event on the standings.
This is a decision that brings a lot of good for almost everyone in the promotion. The blue-collared grinders who don’t have a master’s degree in trash talking have a bargaining chip at the negotiations table and it gives the UFC an aura of legitimacy to have an accredited ranking system like every other major sport.
Not to mention, marketing unknown entities by their divisional ranking helps a casual observer to get an invested interest in the action and can easily access who the divisional rulers are and again, adds a heightened level of importance when two top-ten fighters are inside the Octagon.
The promotional head honcho has a love-hate relationship with the media. Sometimes he praises them, often he criticizes them, but it’s unmistakable that they are every bit useful to the UFC as their own marketing department.
Staff writers can be of use to the UFC in other departments as well, in particular the Hall of Fame (HOF). The HOF is one of the highest honors that a combatant could get, a prestigious club that validates their life work. However, at this stage it’s nothing more than an employee of the month award.
With Frank Shamrock all but stricken from the record books and it being almost inconceivable that he will be recognized for his contributions with a glass keepsake it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of long time UFC supporters.
At the turn of the century when stars were few and far between the younger Shamrock brother was one of the UFC’s rare marketable stars that defended the light heavyweight crown on four separate occasions before abandoning the company.
At the very least, a spot in a hypothetical pioneer’s wing of the hall is warranted for the 40-year-old but that is almost unimaginable at this point after the verbal venom spat between Shamrock & the UFC President.
The term ‘first-ballot Hall of Famer’ gets thrown about quite a lot but if there’s no voting, that’s a total misnomer. If a panel of hand-selected media and former professional fighters cast their vote on each inductee, it presents a legitimate HOF and not just a UFC’s favorites club.
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