After years of resisting the call to create official rankings, the UFC has reversed course and decided they will wholly embrace the concept:
In an effort to appeal to more sports fans than ever before, the UFC will release an official set of rankings starting next week. UFC President Dana White announced the plans at a press conference to promote UFC 156 Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. White compared what’s dubbed as “UFC rankings” to the AP college football or basketball polls.
“Mainstream people understand numbers,” White said. “Like Alabama plays Notre Dame. No. 1 vs. No. 2. We think it would be a lot easier for casual fans getting into the UFC to understand the sport a little better.”
White said 90 media members would vote to form a top-10 poll for all eight weight classes as well as a pound-for-pound list. The UFC invited an initial 75 voters Thursday evening. Polling will commence and remain open for approximately 26 hours, until midnight Monday, after every UFC event beginning with Saturday’s annual Super Bowl weekend card. The rankings will come out the following Monday afternoon.
Well shit. I’m kinda shocked I didn’t get the call to be on this oh so illustrious panel of 75 voters. That’s okay though, cuz I’m not much of a rankings guy. When SB Nation asked me to join their ranking squad, I handed the reins over to Subo who still to this day ranks Brock Lesnar #1 at heavyweight and Cowboy Cerrone as a top five lightweight.
But I do see the advantages of having an official ranking system. Newspapers get something to add to their sports stats page. The fans get a quick and easy way to know who is at the top of the UFC’s ever expanding divisions. The UFC gets a tool they can use to promote unknown dudes like Chris Weidman. The fighters get to ask why they’re getting paid less than #6 when they’re #4. And members of the MMA media get to feel good about themselves for being part of the UFC’s little rankings club.