The Bleacher Report does some great stories and always offers my favorite fight coverage. They recently did a write up on the 100 Greatest Moments in UFC History. From a writer’s point-of-view – how unbelievably time consuming. Scott Hamill (the writer) I need you to know it took me a couple days to get through your list with reflection. But I respect how long it must have taken to put this list together and the collaborative effort to really think through all the monumental events in the history of MMA – which has been facilitated mostly by the UFC organization.
Although I don’t agree with everything they have listed, I decided to feature two of my own lists. The first list is below. They are the 10 most worthy mentions on the Bleacher Report list of 100 Greatest Moments. Tomorrow, I will give you the 10 worst picks on the list. The number in front of each moment is the slide it corresponds to with Hamill’s write on the Bleacher Report (click on any of htese links to see it).
93. The Introduction of rounds and the must scoring system that began in UFC 21. One again, any effort to legitimize the sport and enhance the professionalism and safety of MMA is monumental and will always be some of its best days.
31. The addition of weight classes in the UFC, which legitimized the sport and heighten safety and professionalism. I will be honest, I was not a fan of UFC in the beginning because there were no weight classes. I believe that sports should have rules, regulations and a professional code.
25. Gracie beats Kimo Leopoldo in UFC 3. This match is important because it marked the beginning of Brazilian jiu jitsu’s rise. Without key performances by the Gracies during these days, the integration of BJJ in MMA or other areas of martial arts may have taken longer. With 30 years under my belt in practicing martial arts, BJJ has been the most influential in improving all styles and how most people think about various martial arts as a sport.
91. Renato Babalu Sobral is released from his contract with the UFC for reckless and unsportmen-like behavior. I remember that fight quite well because I had friends over watching the fight who were not MMA fans. When I am in this type of mixed crowd; perhaps some family members or someone’s date watching with you, I cannot help but feel responsible for the sport. I feel the need to explain the sport and highlight the amazing elements of the game. Although I respect that it is hard to grasp at first or even like, I do not want to let them sit in the dark. So when this happened I felt shame and kept explaining how this never happens and it isn’t the way the sport is.
UFC 74 probably had to happen at some point. I am not happy that anyone had to be at the receiving end of Babalu’s disgusting demonstration. David Heath was choked out, to the point where he lost consciousness (in a pool of his own blood no less), after the ref called it. But the event gave Dana White the chance to set a vocally to set a precedent that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
63. Ultimate Fighting was featured on the Sports Illustrated cover. Any time someone or something gets a cover story on a magazine like SI, Time, Newsweek it is a big deal. These publications represent the most relevant thing happening. They give us an important historical marker.
Number Six: TIE
96. MMA Live First Airs in 2010. The show was created by ESPN and was only on the internet but it validates the sport on many levels
56. UFC 70, the first UFC oversees. This is a big deal because it marked the global presence of the sport. It was a great accomplishment for the UFC. It was a good card overall and it created a better relationship with the English fighters helping to legitimize those training close to the queen.
88. Seth Petruzelli knocks out Kimbo Slice. Okay, for a fight that was not about showcasing the most talented, this was important because it finally settled the discussion about street fighters and MMA athletes. I was so tired of hearing about Kimbo and all his non-sense. He was getting too much media coverage. With that being said, there have been other fighters that get way too much attention as well and also lack talent. But Kimbo needed to be slapped off his pedestal.
72. Belfort wins the title after his sister passes away. You got to love triumph on the heels of absolute despair. This always makes for a great after school movie and chapter in a book. Belfort won in a slightly controversial fight against Randy Couture. It was in 2004, UFC 46 and Belfort’s sister had been kidnapped 3 weeks earlier in Rio. Sadly, his sister Priscilla was kidnapped in January of 2004. One of the kidnappers came forward to reveal that she was killed in June of 2004 and there were 9 people involved in the kidnapping and murder (shot three times in the chest and once in the head). Her remains have not been recovered.
44. Randy Couture taps out James Toney is worthy of this list. I actually wrote up a story on Toney when this fight happened. I basically said I didn’t care for Toney as a boxer and I gave my opinion on him overall. Let me tell you, I got a reader letter than insulted me to my very core. Moving on, this was great because I think sometimes people need to be put in their place. However, I do think that Dana got played very well by the big mouth boxer – who got a pay day that he really needed.
37. Randy Couture spanks Tito Ortiz in the middle of their bout. This was more of a strange, yet great moment. The match itself was important because Couture’s win unified the belt and demonstrated that Couture even at 40 was a brilliantly capable fighter.
Thank you for providing such a thorough list Bleacher Report Staff. Tomorrow I will give you the events not worth mentioning.