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The Best UFC and Mixed Martial Arts Sites for News and Fight Analysis
Sherdog is the self proclaimed “global authority on mixed martial arts” and with their excellent and in depth coverage of all things MMA they might not be far from the truth. In addition to daily news updates on the newest UFC and MMA developments they also have regular features on UFC events and live updated analysis after each and every round. Post-fight they have regular columns like ‘matches to make’ after the fight, ‘by the numbers’ an interesting tally of post fight numbers, and popular fighter rankings for each division. Sherdog’s pound-for-pound is always a matter of debate. As of this writing they ranked 1 through 4, Jon Jones, GSP, Jose Aldo, and Anderson Silva. Quite a drop for perennial P4P king Silva who fought like he barely cared during his stunning loss to Weidman. On the other hand the win catapulted Weidman to #7. Rounding up the rest of the top 10 are Benson Henderson, Cain Velasquez, Gilbert Melendez, Demetrius Johnson, and Renan Barao.
MMA Fighting is part of the SB Nation network of dedicated sports sites (310 different sites and counting) great content for all things sports and they deliver big time on the MMA front with exclusive interviews from distinguished MMA reporter Ariel Helwani and tons of great articles and write ups from many excellent MMA writers. The site is divided into forums for UFC, Bellator, news, latest news, videos, results, the MMA radio hour broadcasts, and galleries. The site also has a store, forum section and before each fight also presents fight predictions and a live blog following the event as it happens. Truly one of the best sites for MMA fans in the world.
ESPN might be a little slower in getting the MMA scene than some of the other sites on this list but what else can you expect from ESPN other than great analysis and tons exclusive content you’d expect from ESPN award winning coverage. Lot of great info here, including data on thousands of fighters, and a complete schedule of minor and major MMA events from around the globe.
UFC’s official site has a complete schedule of events, tickets, UFC fighter bios, news, UFC videos, UFC photos, UFC Fantasy, UFC.TV and access to the UFC Fight Club and UFC Merchandise. Of course, being the official UFC site, coverage is bound to be a little slanted towards the UFC point of view (ie. what Dana White says) rather than true independent reporting.
MMA Junkie features a radio segment on top MMA news stories as well as videos, events, rankings, and their own MMA forum where UFC fans can discuss the latest news. The site has a nice clean look that is also easy to navigate.
MMA News covers all things MMA with extended coverage of Bellator and World Series of Fighting events. Also check out the MMA forums, fight results, and MMA News’ own rankings of mixed martial arts fighters from the world’s different promotions.
MMA leak is light on the articles but has a lot of video coverage of fighter interviews, analysis, and instructional videos. It also features the latest MMA results, highlight videos and spoilers of ongoing fights for those who can’t wait to find out who’s won the latest match.
MMA Weekly has been around for 10 years and is the world’s largest independent MMA news website. Its news sections features MMA news, UFC news, press release, and an insider MMA blog. There’s also a rumor mill, top 10 rankings, MMA forum, and an Asian MMA section for all events and coverage of MMA action throughout Asia and the Pacific.
Top MMA News covers all the latest upcoming MMA events with a emphasis on Canadian content and it’s unique Canadian ranking of MMA fighters.
History of the UFC
The UFC was founded in 1993 by Bob Meyrowitz, Art Davie, and Rorion Gracie after they had watched the Gracie in Action video-series which showed students from Gracie Jiu-Jitsu take on other fighters in other disciplines from Muay Thai to kung fu to boxing and karate and defeat them by using superior grappling to neutralize striking skills. Davie wanted to bring the excitement he had seen in these matches to North American audience by putting them on television. Beginning in 1993 Davie raised funding, formed WOW Promotions and secured a partnership with pay per view producer SEG to produce the very first event, UFC 1, in Denver, Colorado.
The inaugural UFC event featured fighters from a variety of disciplines including karate, sumo, boxing, kickboxing, savate, shootfighting, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. To everyone’s surprise the winner of this elimination format wasn’t the biggest, strongest, or the fastest fighter but turned out to be none other the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Royce Gracie, who was more than 20 lbs lighter than the next smallest competitor in the event. Gracie’s success in this tournament and wins in subsequent appearances showed the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and its dominance over fighters who practiced pure striking.
Although UFC tournament was intended to only be a one off PPV event the buy rate for the show prompted Davie to hold more events. The stars of the early UFC events included fighters like Ken Shamrock, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestlers like Dan Severn, Don Frye, Brawler Tank Abbott, and sambo expert Oleg Taktarov.
Although the UFC was synonymous with violence and a lack of rules – something which was often promoted by UFC itself – there were however some rules, including no biting and no eye-gouging. The violent nature of the matches was something UFC did not shy away from promoting and would give ample ammunition for opponents of the sport to try and ban it.
Beginning with UFC 5, the tournament format began to change when single matches, called “Superfights,” were introduced. Gradually the UFC’s taxing tournament format would be phased out in favor for an entire card of single matches.
One of the catalysts which set about the reform of UFC rules was John McCain. The Arizona Senator had seen video of UFC matches and was appalled at the level of violence. He quickly sent word to every U.S. governor to ban the sport, resulting in 36 states banning no-holds barred fighting. Because of McCain’s effort, several UFC events had to changed to different out-of-state venues, sometimes at the last minute, because UFC events were no longer allowed to take place.
While the UFC initially resisted to make any changes to satisfy the concerns of the state athletic commissions, they continued to push UFC a a violent spectacle while only brought more scrutiny as well as less and less cable companies willing to carry their PPVs on television.
In order to gain acceptance and comply with each state’s athletic commission, the began to adopt new rules and remove the more violent aspects of the sports in the early 2000s. Gone were such techniques as fish-hooking, kicking the head of a grounded fighter, striking the groin, hair pulling, strikes to the back of the head and neck, and headbutting. Weight classes were introduced and so were gloves, along with 5 minute long rounds. Gradually, the UFC began to lose its image as a violent no-holds-barred street fighting and began branding itself as a legitimate sport. All these efforts, along with those of UFC employees Jeff Blatnick and John McCarthy’s to travel in the U.S. and educate others on the sport proved successful and resulted in California signing off on set of rules which governed MMA. Many other states soon following, including New Jersey, which sanctioned some of the earliest MMA and UFC events under the new mixed martial arts “Unified Rules”.
While UFC’s image and rules underwent a drastic transformation, so too did its roster of fighters. Many great talented fighters began to emerge from this era, including many that could truly be called mix martial artists. These included, Randy “The Natural” Couture, Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Frank Shamrock, and “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva.
UFC Gets Bought Out by Zuffa
Following an expensive battle to bring about sanctioning for the sport, UFC owners SEG were close to bankruptcy until the Fertitta brothers, along with Dana White, purchased the struggling UFC. Lorenzo Fertitta’s close association with Nevada’s Athletic Commission allowed him to bring sanctioned events the state and the UFC was able to make its return to PPV cable television on UFC 33.
Following the purchase, UFC began a slow, arduous process of gaining not only mainstream popularity but acceptance. They were able to achieve both these goals with their return to television PPVs and home video releases of their events and greater profits from advertising and corporate sponsorship as well as being able to host events at larger venues. The UFC would go and gets its first television deals with Fox Sports as well as having its main event broadcast on cable television.
UFC 40 marked the return of UFC Ultimate Champion Ken Shamrock as he went head to head against current UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. Shamrock’s name recognition, and his highly visible career path wrestling in WWE in between his appearances in UFC, lead to a sold out event and a PPV buy rate that was 3 times greater than previous events. The excitement and unprecedented press coverage as well as the financial success of the event was a turning point for the Fertittas as it showed that UFC was a viable product despite the large losses that the company has accumulated by that point.
Around this time a new generation of fighters appeared, who were extremely well rounded in all aspects of fighting. They included pound for pound kings like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and other great champions like B.J. Penn, Frank Mir, and Rich Franklin.
By 2004, UFC’s losses had grown to over $30 million dollars and they were on the verge of bankruptcy. To shake things up, the Fertittas threw around the idea of its own television reality series to promote the UFC. Spike TV was the only network which would agree to broadcast the show. In 2005, The Ultimate Fighter appeared after WWE Raw and was an instant success. The exciting season finale between Stephan Bonnar and eventual winner Forrest Griffin was often credited with saving the fortunes of the UFC and helping bring UFC to a brand new audience.
To capitalize on the success of the first season of TUF, other seasons followed even after the show moved to FX and eventually to Fox. In the future, UFC plans to expand the show to international markets, such as India, where the UFC doesn’t have an established fan base but the size of the population makes it an attractive market for expansion.
The greater visibility of being on cable television greatly boosted UFC’s PPV buy rates. UFC 52 took place immediately after TUF’s first season and the fight between Chuck Liddell and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture doubled the previous high of PPV buy which was set at UFC 40. The rematch between Couture and Liddell even more buys and through the mid 2000s PPV rates kept rising with new records being set for Royce Gracie’s return to the UFC after an eleven year absence to fight reigning welterweight champion Matt Hughes. UFC 66 set another milestone with Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz’s rematch achieving more than a million pay per view buys.
Now on firmer financial footing, the UFC began to hire prominent figures to work on its team to help increase the sanctioning of MMA in and outside the U.S. in areas which had not regulated the sport. During this time
Beginning in 2006, UFC snapped up rival World Extreme Cagefighting and in the process acquired the contracts of many talented fighters in the light weight classes including eventual UFC champions Urijah Faber, Benson Henderson, Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, and Anthony Pettis. Later that same year they also bought out Word Fighting Alliance and picked up the contracts of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.
In 2007, UFC bought out one of their biggest competitors, the Japan based Pride Fighting Championships with plans to maintain each entities champions and unique formats along with cross promoting each other’s events. However, after the purchase the UFC felt that Pride’s financial model was not workable and folded the promotion, but not before picking up the contracts of notable fighters like “Minotauro” Nogueira, “Shogun” Rua, “Cro Cop”, and Wanderlei Silva.
The following year, in 2008, the UFC struck more TV deals in new territories such as Germany, France, China and Mexico as well as a line of video games and action figures. UFC 100, which featured former WWE champion Brock Lesnar going against UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre against Thiago Alves, and Dan Henderson vs Michael Bisping (who were rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter) drew a massive 1.7 million buys, including tons of press coverage from non-traditional sources like ESPN.
UFC 129 took place at the Skydome, in Toronto, Canada and sold out over 55,000 tickets, breaking the record for attendance to an MMA event, as well as gate receipts for a North American MMA event.
Current UFC Rules
UFC fighters fight under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, the codified set of rules that opponents must adhere to when fighting in the ring. Since their adoption by the state of New Jersey, these rules have becomes the de facto standards for MMA fighting across the United States and in many other countries.
Each UFC fight is set for 3 or 5 five minute rounds, depending on whether or not the match is a title fight or a main event fight, with one minute of rest for the fighters between each round.
Fights takes place in a chain link cage known as the Octagon and must wear appropriate shorts, mouthpiece, and a protective cup. One piece of equipment all fighters must wear are MMA gloves, which are open fingered gloves with much less padding than boxing gloves that allows a fighter to use their fingers to grapple with an opponent.
In past UFC, fighter had much more leniency in what they could wear. Many wore long pants, singlets, wrestling shoes, gis, and one fighter, a boxer, even appeared wearing one boxing glove.
All matches end when a fighter submits (either by tapping out, losing consciousness, or communicating their submission to the referee), knockout, or technical knockout (due to a referee, corner, or doctor stoppage) or the fight may go to the judge’s decision. Fight may also be ended due to disqualification, forfeit, or no contest.
List of Current UFC Champions
Heavyweight Cain Velasquez
Light Heavyweight Jon Jones
Middleweight Chris Weidman
Welterweight Georges St-Pierre
Lightweight Anthony Pettis
Featherweight Jose Aldo
Bantamweight Dominick Cruz (Interim Champion Renan Barão)
Flyweight Demetrious Johnson