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Max Daviau

The evolution of the UFC

For those who did not already know, on 18 August the UFC came to terms on a groundbreaking 7-year broadcast deal with FOX.Dana White calls the deal the best thing to happen to the UFC, a bold statement considering the company’s rapid growth since the Fertitta Brothers (Zuffa) took over in 2001. Since the Fertitta takeover the UFC has shattered both attendance and pay-per-view records for MMA events, created a reality television show and attracted reputable sponsors such as Bud Light and Harley Davidson, all while breaking through in mainstream sports outlets, including ESPN.It is hard to imagine this considering where MMA and the UFC were less than two decades ago. The first UFC was in 1993, and featured an eight-man, one-night tournament without any weight classes or rules. The event welcomed fighters from all disciplines in which a fight could be ended only by submission, knockout, or by throwing in the towel.While this did make for an entertaining event, it didn’t lend much legitimacy to the sport. Pride (the other major MMA promotion platform at the time) did use weight classes, however, much like the UFC, it was not heavy on rules. The company was also rumored to fix fights, and didn’t do any drug testing, leading some to believe that their fighters were on performance-enhancing drugs. By these humble beginnings, it is remarkable that the UFC has reached the sporting world’s mainstream. The question must be asked: how did the UFC turn itself from a step above underground fighting to a company that can pull in over $40 million from a single event?The UFC struggled in the first few years under Zuffa ownership, losing over $30 million by 2004. However, Zuffa was committed to the company and, slowly, things started to turn around. They used a reality TV show… Read More

MMA Max Division Rankings: The Welterweight Division

 1.    Georges St. PierreThere is no doubt that GSP is the best welterweight in the world.  His ability to take all elements of risk out of a fight is impressive. However, this risk-free approach has made some of his recent fights very boring.  At this point it may be that GSP has too much pressure to win, and to keep his sponsorship portfolio intact, that it simply isn’t worth it for him to take any chances inside the octagon.  2.    Jon FitchUntil Jon Fitch loses a fight in the UFC to someone not named GSP, he will be holding down the number two spot.  However, the nature of his loss to GSP, and his marketability as a fighter, means that it is unlikely he will be getting a title shot for some time, though he is deserving.  Fitch should, however, have an easy time getting by Johnny Hendricks at UFC 141, after which a number one contender match against Jake Ellenberger could produce fireworks, and the second title shot he has long sought.    3.    Nick DiazFollowing his dominant performance over B.J. Penn it is clear that Nick Diaz can hang with the UFC’s elite fighters.  And after the fight, his words for GSP showed that he can hang with the UFC’s elite trash talkers as well.  Those words (and his dominant performance) got Diaz the immediate title shot he had long been after.  4.    Carlos ConditYou have to feel bad for Carlos Condit.  After debatably pulling off the greatest back-to-back knockouts a UFC fighter has ever had, against Dan Hardy and Dong Hyun Kim (two high level fighters), Condit was finally awarded his title shot, replacing Nick Diaz who missed a press conference prior to UFC 137.  But things can change fast in the UFC; after Diaz claimed that GSP faked an… Read More

MMA Max Division Rankings: The Lightweight Division

Lightweight Rankings:1)   Frankie EdgarIf anyone missed Edgar’s incredible come from behind victory against Gray Maynard, I highly suggest you watch it immediately.  The champ was battered in the first round, and registered as a 20:1 underdog on in-fight betting platforms (after the first round).  However, in the second and third round the champ used a combination of speed and incredible to heart to pick apart the bigger challenger, and in the fourth caught him with an uppercut that lead to a TKO finish (only his third finish in the UFC).  This performance can be considered one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history, and solidifies Edgar’s status as the top lightweight in the world. 2)   Gilbert MelendezIt took the Strikeforce lightweight champion just over three minutes to finish Japanese import Tatsuya Kawajiri in his last outing.   Combine this with wins over Shinya Aoki and Josh Thomson in his last three fights, and he has solidified himself in the top ten.  The dominant and exciting fashion in which he has won these fights has earned him a top three nod. The champ, however, must not look past a very dangerous and under-rated Jorge Masvidal if he eventually wants that UFC title shot. 3)   Gray MaynardDespite a devastating loss to Edgar, Maynard still holds down a spot in the top three.  Wins over Florian, Diaz, Huerta, Jim Miller, (as well as Frankie Edgar) will solidify him in the top ten for the near future, but in the ultra-competitive lightweight division it is unlikely we see him in the title picture for some time.4)   Ben HendersonIt is hard to imagine that only two fights ago Ben Henderson was at the low point of his career.  He had just lost his WEC title while also putting himself at the wrong end of one of the greatest… Read More