Let’s brainstorm this for a moment. For those of you that have only jumped onto the UFC bandwagon post-Zuffa era, you are probably scratching your head, wondering what the heck I’m talking about. But yes, the TOURNAMENT was, indeed, an integral part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s rich history. From the very beginning, all the way from UFC #1 in 1993, until it was discontinued after UFC #17, the tournament was the way to decide who was the best fighter of the night. There were no time limits, no judges, no rounds, and fighters would have to fight more than once in order to advance, and in the end, there was only one winner. Since the demise of the tournament, the UFC game changed drastically, and each event now had everything mentioned in the previous sentence. Now I don’t want to “type” your ear off, but here is a very unique concept, that if UFC considered it, I would bet my house that it would definitely shake things up big time for the company, as well as the fans of the UFC, old and new.
Perhaps UFC should give us something new, by bringing back the old. Now I don’t mean bring back all the old rules as well, but maybe a slight amalgamation of the old and new versions of the UFC. Each fight would still have three ringside judges, and one round of maybe ten minutes rather than five, like the first rounds in the old Pride fights. If I, personally, could play cardmaker for a moment, the best use of this idea would be to base an entire pay-per-view event on one weight class. Let’s explore this a bit further.
The Welterweight tournament would begin with eight welterweight fighters (chosen from: Carlos Condit, Rory McDonald, Jake Ellenberger, Johnny Hendricks, Martin Kampann, Demian Maia, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Erick Silva, Nick Diaz, the returning Robbie Lawler, Dan Miller, Nate Marquardt), all paired off against one another in the quarterfinals. The winners of those fights would then be paired off against one another in the semi-finals, with the winners of the semis facing off in the finals, to determine the next challenger for the 170 lb. title, currently held by Georges St. Pierre.
On another night, we could have a Lightweight Tournament go down the same way, with eight lightweight fighters (chosen from: Diego Sanchez, Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Edson Barboza, John Makdessi, Grey Maynard, Gilbert Melendez, Jamie Varner, Joe Lauzon, Eddie Alvarez if UFC can grab him, Nate Diaz, and another fighter who belongs in this division and should have never moved up in weight, B.J. Penn), competing until the end, to determine the next challenger for current champ, Benson Henderson.
And if you aren’t licking your lips at the concept yet, how about a tournament night of Middleweights (chosen from: Costa Philippou, Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher, Vitor Belfort, Cung Le, Hector Lombard, Jake Shields, and Rashad Evans, who had recently contemplated moving down a weight class from 205) with the winner facing current champ, Anderson Silva.
So you got the idea. The same kind of tournament could be done with the smaller weight classes, to bring some much needed exposure to the Flyweights, Bantamweights and Featherweights that don’t get the recognition they truly deserve. The possibilities are almost endless. 2012 has not exactly been the best year for UFC. They are in dire need of some new ideas. To bring back the classic tournament concept to the current product, if only twice a year, would almost certainly reignite fan interest, thus increasing business. What do YOU think?