Merry Christmas to all the readers of MMA Freak. It has been a long year and we have seen quite a bit take place. Once thing I did last year that I’d like to do again this year is create a list of what I’d like to see happen in MMA over the next year. Obviously some of these may happen some of these may not but it’s a nice list anyways. Last year’s list is right here. So with that let’s delve into the list of gifts for 2015:
10) Work some flexibility into the Reebok deal
This is probably one of the more prominent topics on everyone’s mind right now. The Reebok deal means no sponsors can be displayed during any event related to the UFC including press conferences, weigh-ins, and the actual fights. I’ll go a little more in-depth in a later article but this is not the most ideal situation for fighters who make ends meet by those sponsorships which will be going away come July 2015. The UFC is also finding this as one part of their class action lawsuit (of which this might be a valid part of the case). If Dana White wants a universal look than he should be willing to meet fighters in the middle and allow maybe the sponsor banners instead of no sponsors at all.
9) Resolve the UFC lawsuit
Again I’ll go more in-depth on this topic in a later article but the fact of the matter is this is a huge lawsuit. One could say this is all about disgruntled fighters getting back at their former employers but the fact of the matter is there are some legitimate points in this lawsuit. The above mentioned Reebok deal, fighter’s likenesses in UFC games, and Dana White‘s attitude are just some of the legitimate parts of the lawsuit that might be valid and could go the way of the Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry, and Cung Le‘s ways in court. Some points may not be as legitimate such as the monopoly accusations and fighter pay outside the UFC, but not all of the lawsuit needs to come up as valid for money to be ordered from the UFC. If White were willing to possibly settle and change some tactics than it may not be such a huge battle in court.
8) Hold another Bellator PPV
The Bellator MMA pay-per-view earlier this year proved to be a surprising success, no thanks to big names like Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (who is now in a legal battle over whether he can resign with the UFC or stay in Bellator) headlining the card the card. And while Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar were able to make Bellator 131 the most successful cable fight card this year (again surprising considering the UFC cards) it would be nice to see another big card that was on pay-per-view. It would be easier to put such a card together considering the new Bellator model under Scott Coker but than again Coker rarely held pay-per-views after Strikeforce signed with Showtime. This isn’t an absolute must but it would be nice to see. Whatever brings in money for Bellator.
7) Broadcast another Women’s TUF
In the two seasons that women have been featured on The Ultimate Fighter, ratings have been high and the talent has been promising. This last season just went to show that women can bring a lot to the table including drama but also heart and passion. While most of the weight classes in the UFC are men’s divisions, including another season of half women would be a good idea. It would show the same passion and would showcase talent in both the men’s and women’s divisions. It’s hard to beat this last season all things considered but it couldn’t hurt.
6) Induct Bas Rutten into the UFC Hall of Fame
Without a doubt Bas Rutten has to be one of the more colorful characters in MMA today. His commentary on the Inside MMA show on AXS TV is always entertaining and respectable at the same time. He’s also done extensive commentating at events and his career in the sport is one that cannot be forgotten. At the present it doesn’t seem like he and Dana White are at odds with each other and inducting such a contributor to the sport seems like a logical thing to do. However, that may not be what White has in mind and the UFC is his promotion.
5) Sign Jessica Aguilar
Right now Jessica Aguilar is the only top strawweight not in the UFC. It’s hard to know what Dana White has in mind or what World Series of Fighting’s contract with their strawweight champion entails. However, allowing Aguilar to come over to the UFC could only benefit both promotion’s tremendously. It would get WSOF’s name out there and the UFC could put on a “champion vs. champion” match in an attempt to prove the UFC is the better promotion (which in cross promotional title mergers the UFC has a pretty good record). Time will tell.
4) Make CM Punk versus Green Ranger a reality
The signing of CM Punk to the UFC is certainly one of the more talked about topics right now. No one can deny the fact that Punk goes into the UFC with a severe deficit when it comes to in cage experience exactly comparable to James Toney going into his fight with Randy Couture. However, Dana White has been quoted as saying he wants to give Punk a legitimate chance and match him up with a fighter with a similar record. In comes Jason David Frank known as the Green Ranger of Power Ranger fame. Frank has a similar record of 1-0 and has offered to face Punk should White agree that should be the first match up (that much fame can only help such a fight).
3) Sign Ben Askren to the UFC
At this point we’re revisiting presents that were on last year’s list but still have a legitimate chance of coming true. Ben Askren is arguably the top welterweight in the world to never compete in the UFC. He was cut by Bellator MMA (under Bjorn Rebney) despite the fact that he was undefeated as their champion. Apparently one sided yet dominant wrestlers aren’t highly favored in MMA today. While there has been some arguing back and forth with Askren and UFC President Dana White, it’s still very possible both may come to a compromise.
2) Give Cat Zingano a title shot
This is already in motion and should happen if no hiccups take place. Cat Zingano was originally set to face Ronda Rousey following their coaching on the eighteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter had Zingano not blown out her knee. She was out for such a long time that upon her return Dana White said she needed to face another fighter before could get the crack at Rousey. Her return to the Octagon was a triumphant one when she came from behind to defeat Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 to earn the title shot again. Considering the adversity of the knee injury and loosing her husband, her long time coming title shot is certainly well deserved.
1) Weight Cutting Regulations
When this was brought up last year there wasn’t as much of an urgent need but recent events have certainly brought the topic back up. Renan Barao passed out while cutting weight and there were several instances of fighters not making weight. In addition Leandro Souza died last year while trying to make weight for a Shooto event. If this situation isn’t handled relatively soon it maybe a matter of time before a fighter dies in an UFC event from weight cutting. Following WBC regulations of weigh ins a month and week out would be a wise path for MMA.
Again have a very Merry Christmas from MMA Freak.