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UFC to institute divisional fighter rankings


LAS VEGAS -- After years of discrediting fighter rankings and resisting requests to institute a similar system in the UFC, Dana White has reversed course, announcing that the orgnaziation would establish a system to begin immediately after UFC 156.

The rankings, which will include only UFC-promoted fighters, will produced in conjunction with the MMA statistics provider FightMetric and will be voted upon by 90 media members, White said. He said he was swayed to make the move with hopes of making the UFC product easier to understand for people new to it.

"When you have a top 10 ranking, that's literally what we all go by," he said. "For as long as we've been on this planet until today, when you open the sports section, you see the Boston Red Sox in first place, Toronto in last place. There are rankings in every sport. It just makes sense."

White said while the rankings wouldn't have any real significance in terms of matchmaking, consideration would be given to fighters who get to the top of the division. The move could be a positive development for critically lauded fighters who put together winning streaks but miss out on title fight bookings. For example, a few years ago, it took Jon Fitch an eight-fight victory streak in the UFC to win his way to a title shot. After losing to Georges St-Pierre, he won five in a row, and many considered him the No. 2 welterweight in the world for much of that time, but he couldn't secure a rematch.

With new emphasis on the rankings, that may no longer be the case, though White cautions that he'll still focus on the entertainment factor as much as the fairness one in putting together title bouts.

"No matter what the rankings are, I'm putting on the fights the fans want to see," he said.

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