The Ultimate Fighting Championship is synonymous with cage fighting, and has emerged over time as the number one MMA organization in the world. Not only do they employ the majority of the best fighters in the world, they also sell the most PPVs. Most casual fans do not even know that there is a difference between the sport of MMA and the UFC organization.
Before the UFC staked its claim as the clear cut number one, there was another show that competed for the honor. The Pride Fighting Championships of Japan. There was a time when no one knew which organization boasted the superior roster, a time when Pride was its own world. Superstars such as Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Crocop, Takanori Gomi, Antonio Minotauro Nogueira, Mauricio Shogun Rua, and Fedor Emelianenko reigned supreme.
Now that Pride is defunct, the UFC stands alone as the premier showcase for MMA’s top athletes. The rest of the organizations are the minor leagues, with Bellator holding the tentative two spot. The UFC does a great job of matchmaking, has more shows than anyone else, and puts out a compelling product. Still, the vale tudo world is not quite the same without the Pride FC. Certain aspects of the game were lost forever when they went under.
If you ask me, the UFC could use some Pride.
Ring Announcer – Lenne Hardt is greater than Michael Buffer any and every day of the week. Her insane introductions added a cartoony villain to the backdrop, perfectly setting the mood for battle. Bring her back and drop him. The UFC is in desperate need of something instantly nostalgic.
Drop Reebok – Said it once, will say it another thousand times. Fighting is self expression. Corporate dress code doesn’t work with MMA. It kills the outliers who know what they are doing.
Fighters should all have their own t-shirt companies. Let’s see who is the best at the game. We aren’t testing these men on their ability to comply. They aren’t pornstars.
Yellow Cards – If the product sucks, the product sucks. Give me 10% of your purse because I am not trying to watch this. The yellow card is a feedback system that reminds fighters what they are there to do.
For those unfamiliar with real fighting, referees issue yellow cards during lulls of inactivity. The equivalent of stalling, it’s how the ref lets the competitor know that he is being a little bitch. Stop not brawling.
The unified rules of modern mma sometimes encourage control over murder. The lack of a yellow card system is akin to not spanking the kids. Might look good on paper, but it’s good for no one in the long run.
Judge the Whole Fight – This one is too easy. Stop playing along with boxing, a sport perfectly suited for the 10-9 must system, when you are admittedly another thing altogether. Stop letting losers win because of their ability to wrestle-fuck. Wait until the end, and declare a solitary winner. That’s what fighting is, who whooped the ass better? It’s a yes or no question. Let it be that simple.
Schedule Mismatches – Elite fighters should fight other elite fighters, but it doesn’t have to be every bout. You want to build stars? Give em a showcase fight. Have Tyron Woodley scrap it up with CM Punk. They’re in the same weight class. Woodley adds to his highlight reel, and Punk gets to pay his dues. Win win. There is nothing quite like watching a top level guy tear through an up and comer like Wolverine tears through a wet paper bag. The UFC needs more mismatches.
Steroids – The UFC employed a government organization to actively detract from the performance of the fighters. It’s costing them money directly, and indirectly when fighters lose their ability to recover. Steroids are a gift from the Gods. They allow a man to heal faster, and to go harder for longer periods of time. They’re one hundred percent effective, yet for some reason we don’t let athletes use them. So it is morally fine to lock these guys in a cage, let them fight for a prize, all while developing CTE to enjoy later in life, but it isn’t okay to let them shoot up a protein shake? Get outta here.
Best Entrance Award – Bring back the pageantry! If you haven’t seen the performances of retired legend Genki Sudo during his K-1 and Pride entrances, you’re really missing out. They dole out Twitter bonuses for goodness sake. Fight of the night, knockout of the night, submission of the night, entrance of the night. Watch how fast these dudes turn it around when there is 50k on the line. The UFC cannot compete by having these drones march down the walkway with their Reebok shirts and a top 40 song blaring in the background. It’s garbage, fix it. Like I said, the UFC could use some Pride.