Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
LAS VEGAS -- UFC president Dana White revealed to the press on Thursday that the organization will unveil a new pay-per-view open Saturday night prior to UFC 143.
The open was created by Digital Domain Productions, a company founded by legendary film director James Cameron, whose resume includes "The Terminator," "Aliens" and "The Titanic." The music for the open was composed by award-winning film composer and music producer Hans Zimmer, who has written scores for motion pictures "The Lion King," "Crimson Tide," "The Dark Knight" and "Inception."
According to White, it took six months to create the 60-second open. The UFC hired two production companies to work on the new open and ended up choosing Digital Domain's piece.
"Probably the most important part of this new piece is that it pays tribute to all the guys who have helped build the company and the sport over the last ten years during the Zuffa era," White said.
The new PPV open, which is called "Evolution" and has a much different look and feel than the old Gladiator one, is a nod to the UFC's almost 19-year history. It kicks off in a simple dojo as Royce Gracie is tapping out Ken Shamrock at UFC 1 and gradually progresses through the greatest moments in UFC history until we find ourselves inside the Rogers Centre with 55,000 fans. In total, 18 different iconic UFC fights are featured, and the UFC made a point to highlight all seven current champs. There are no plans of changing the open in the near future because as White put it, "when we signed this deal with FOX, these are the guys, almost in chronological order who have helped us get here."
The reason why the new open, which White said cost "an obscene amount of money," didn't premiere prior to 2012's first pay-per-view, UFC 142, was because the UFC forgot to include former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin in the piece, and according to White, "it cost us a (expletive) load of money and a bunch of time to fix it because there was no way I was going to air this thing without Franklin being in there too."
So after eight years of the Gladiator, a new era kicks off on Saturday night. Oh, and in case you were wondering what happened to the now infamous UFC Gladiator, the UFC tried to find him for a viral video sendoff, but according to White, they could not get in touch with him.
Below is a list of the fights featured in the new opening:
Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock -- UFC 1
Tito Ortiz vs. Evan Tanner -- UFC 30
Matt Hughes -- Frank Trigg -- UFC 52
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz -- UFC 47
BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk -- UFC 84
Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes -- UFC 65
Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia -- UFC 68
Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva -- UFC 92
Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring -- UFC 87
Rich Franklin vs. Nate Quarry -- UFC 56
Junior dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel -- UFC 108
Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson -- UFC on VS 6
Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar -- TUF 1 Finale
Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar -- UFC 121
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard -- UFC 125
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick -- UFC 129
Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar -- UFC 94
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort -- UFC 126
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