There have been umpteen posts and positions on the history of this sport, you know, since no one heard of MMA before the UFC.
Let us just forget that Pancrase held their series before the Gracie’s did.
Let us also not forget, while the UFC is the big dog sitting on the porch, there were times when they were being outdrawn by several promotions, the only reason they became the big dog would be the Fertitta Brothers had many Million to burn before needing to worry about profit. I wonder if Pride hadn’t been run like the California State Government if the UFC would be as big as it was. Goodness knows MMA has ever been able to pull money marks out the woodwork.
That being said, I think we can return and break down how MMA has evolved.
So let’s take a look at what I’m going to call Generational MMA. As the game has evolved, you can classify the majority of fighters into 4 eras. I have also got a Side A- who would be the first of this creation to breakthrough, and side B, who would be regarded as the last of the generation.
A 1st generation fighter is one that comes to the struggle with one of two backgrounds- either he is a backyard fighter with a chin of iron who’s just going to out hard and outside pain you- or is super skilled at one aspect of MMA, and his ability is far better than your skill.
Side A are those such as Tank Abbott- and the hundreds of men of his ilk.
Side B would be the Gracie Family,
Gracie is just a master at Ju-Ju, and he could beat almost anyone with that.
Look at these two men’s striking in the early days- that is the definition of a G1 fighter. My Karate will KO you, if you don’t take me down and then I am done for. But if I catch you…
Hughes Might be the greatest of the G1 fighters. Why do I think about him a G1? Explain to me where he worked his hands. If he went out and fought now, he’s looking for a takedown or getting sprawled. He’s a submission wrestler, who simply outworked everyone. Would he work today? Not really. He spent the bulk of his post-GSP career trying to get a knockout and got blitzed.
Frank Shamrock to TUF 1
Generation 2 is the fighter which started in one discipline, and Moved to be a specialist at another, or merely blending the two styles.
You watch Belfort, he is not only a striker, he is almost complete. You look at Randy, and he develops into more than only a wrestler. I think you can even place Tito into this category. He is a wrestler, who works on good hands. This generation is more the training. In G1 you train primarily at one thing, and then see if your skill can beat their skill. G2, we’ve improved marginally, you spend MWF in the wrestling gym, then Tuesday and Saturday you went across town and boxed. You have guys that went from Skill to SkillSet.
G2 Dinosaur: Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Fedor
2006 to 2012
This is where the line gets somewhat harder to draw, these are the fighters in which they have always fought under the Unified rules, almost all of their fights will be on Sherdog’s fight finder, The major difference is the fighters are trained in MMA, not only wrestling, or Karate or Ju-Ju. . When you ride from the school, it’s not Joe’s Wag-Fu School with a banner out front that says we teach UFC.
It’s Jackson’s MMA or Xtreme Coutire or something to that effect, you do not do one discipline only, or be worried about Gi Training, its fighting, all day every day. You experience an explosion of cash, of promotions, or quality of fighters, you have guys that could be in the NFL or NBA trying MMA, and a few even going into fighting. You leave the wrestling for a draw and the fighter is a draw. The gimmicks went away largely, and matters became standardized. Mostly. We also have Women’s MMA, and people getting title fights and headline fights because of drawing power.
Generation 3 fighters are similar to Jon Jones, or Rory McDonald.
G3 Dinosaur: Much like birds, they walk among us.
This is the present day, we’ve got one top dog, so we have the NBA of MMA, the UFC- and we’ve got the top Euro Leagues in which their top guys could compete in Bellator and WSOF. There could be some guys that could beat the UFC title holder, but there isn’t a promotion out there where their top 5 could win a series against the UFC top 5.
We also have a time where there’s money in the business. Not just for the UFC, but you can never fight in the UFC and earn a living in Bellator, or even in certain smaller promotions, perhaps not a good living, but you’ve got trainers that don’t have to deliver pizzas to make ends meet.
The sport is also in papers, every sports station, every state, and everybody pretty much agrees on the principles. You don’t need to learn one set of principles in Vegas and another in Sweden.
Where do we go from here?
Well, I can’t find a Union forming, just not likely to happen. I can see a genuine challenger to the UFC forming, possibly after Dana retires and WME-IMG places a lawsuit at the office. I’m not certain what gravitational shift will happen that could form a G5. Maybe if someone dies and they swing the security line in another way. Maybe if the UFC has to mandate Head Gear and prohibit low licks that will make a G5 happen.