The UFC is the fastest growing sports organization in the world. Founded in 1993, the UFC has transcended over the last 24 years from a startup idea that might be able to add some flare to the most versatile combat sport in the world to a globally watched billion dollar enterprise that sits atop the world of combat sports. Still, there are some aspects of UFC needing reform, so here is the list of five changes UFC should make to improve.
As fight fans, we should be thankful for the the chance to watch the most skilled combat athletes in the world display their physical abilities on the brink of life or death. We should be thankful for the continuous effort the UFC puts in to deliver the most talent stacked and mouth watering fights fans want to see card after card.
Throughout the last 24 years, the UFC has obtained an unimaginable level of power and control through its increased popularity and, just like any institution with a certain level of power in today’s society, the UFC should be careful as to how it uses its platform. Not only does it affect its viewers, but it also affects everyone associated with the UFC down the pipeline.
As stated earlier, it’s important to be thankful but not oblivious when it comes to how we, as fight fans, perceive the UFC. Without much further ado, here’s five things the UFC can change in order to improve.
No. 1: Broadening the weight limits of weight classes
Weight cuts are without a doubt the most brutal aspect of the game fighters go through. Cutting weight holds severe physical consequences for these fighters, long term and short term. Repetitively putting your body through extreme dehydration can cause long lasting damage to one’s kidneys and heart. Cutting that much weight right before a fight also can drain a fighter’s endurance and muscle performance during the fight. According to MMA journalist Esther Lin, Dana White recently said that he wants to get rid of early weigh ins. “So we’re looking at going back to — at 4 p.m. PT — when we do the weigh-ins, those will be the real weigh-ins,” said White, according to Lin.
The truth is I’m not quite sure how much that will lighten the load for these fighters. They will still be required to go through close to the same level of brutality and intensity when cutting weight, they just have a little bit more time on their hands. Why not make weight divisions have a weight range of more than just one pound? For example, the welterweight division weigh-in limits would be 168.5-171.5 pounds, being the division is a 170-pound division.
No. 2: Fighter Pay
There’s an old historical expression that goes, “Piss on the peasants and they will piss on you.” The point of this is that basically everyone should be treated properly, no matter what position of power they hold. Now, I have no clue where this expression came from to be honest but this can be directly applied to the way the UFC is managing their fighters.
For the degree of difficulty and brutality these fighters go through, they are not getting paid nearly enough, especially considering the amount of attention they draw. While some fighters may be living larger than life at the moment, others are not. Let’s pay our fighters what they deserve so this train can keep on rolling. Otherwise, Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald won’t be the last fighters to leave to Bellator.
No. 3: Use the entire scoring system
In professional MMA fights, a 10-8 round is considered a complete domination for the winner of that round. Most rounds are scored 10-9 in professional mixed martial arts and I just don’t understand why. The full 10 numbers should be used. The current scoring system is so up for grabs and inaccurate due to the lack of options when grading a fighter’s performance. I know good old Joe Rogan is with me on this one as well. Let’s see some 10-7’s and 10-6’s please. The fighters might actually end up trusting the judges more if this happens.
No. 4: Create a minor league for the UFC
Why isn’t there a minor league for the UFC already? Sure there are “feeder” leagues like Tuff-N-Uff and Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Legacy Fighting Championship — the latter two merged in 2017 — but nothing substantial specifically tied to the UFC. There are too many fighters signed to the UFC roster that might not quite be at a UFC level.
A minor league under the UFC would give seasoned veterans who are out of their prime a change to shine again and maybe revive their career while young upstarts have a chance to make a name for themselves. This would also improve the product the UFC is putting out as fight cards will include more talented fighters. This would also further legitimize the notion of paying fighters what they deserve through being able to allocate the majority of fighter pay funds towards the more talented fighters. It’ll in a way force the UFC to pay the fighters based off merit, not favoritism.
No. 5: Consume Bellator
Bellator and the UFC have been bickering rivals for years now and there is just no reason for it. The fact of the matter is that Bellator will never reach anywhere remotely close to the level of success the UFC has enjoyed, nor will they earn a fraction of the UFC’s revenue. They’re holding on to false hope and its not really doing them any justice. With that being said, I do believe Bellator has some really talented fighters on their roster that could beat some top level guys in the UFC. Pay Scott Coker and give him a position of some authority within the UFC. I’m sure Dana probably isn’t his biggest fan, but I guarantee you the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in terms of combining all these freak athletes. Hell, let’s have him and Dana settle it in the octagon every year for controlling interest. I’d pay to watch that!