Saturday, June 27, 2009

MMA Hall of Fame

To put it as simplistically as possible, we need a Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

During the continuing discussions of yesterday's post about the candidacy of Evan Tanner and others for the UFC Hall of Fame, I was reminded that we currently do not have a true Hall of Fame that operates in the same manner as all the major sports and with the continued growth of the sport, it's time we rectify that situation.

This is a call to all Mixed Martial Arts writers and industry leaders to band together and establish a complete and unbiased MMA Hall of Fame.

Not to lessen the accomplishments of those currently enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame, but as one commentor on yesterday's piece accurately pointed out, getting elected to the UFC Hall of Fame is a private and prejudicial honor. No one outside of a Zuffa boardroom makes decisions about who gets in and truly representative and deserving inductees like Tito Ortiz or Pat Miletich will never - I repeat, NEVER - be awarded their rightful place there because of long-standing feuds with a certain bald gentleman with a fondness for F-bombs.

That truth only furthers how important and necessary a Hall of Fame created and administered in the same manner as those of the major sports is for Mixed Martial Arts.

We've proven the legitimacy of the sport and the continued growth will only further the need for a way to acknowledge the true greats and pioneers that have made the sport what it is today, regardless of how well they get along with Dana White and others at the UFC.

Instead of subjectively hand-picking who gets in and who doesn't, a voting system, comprised of esteemed writers and contributors to the sport fill out ballots, and everyone who receives a pre-determined number of votes is welcomed with open arms.

Even without an actual Hall of Fame to put fighters in, we spend countless hours debating the careers of established and retired fighters, or those in the twilight of their careers. Instead of simply discussing the point, why not establish an entity such as this and allow the Mixed Martial Arts community to cast their vote on whether Rich Franklin is a Hall of Famer?

Many want to see Mixed Martial Arts move into the major leagues of sports, and this to me would be a step in that direction. We have been around long enough and with enough sustained success in some areas that it is time we start paying tribute to those who helped us get here. Part of what makes the major sports major sports is their longevity and history. It's now clear that Mixed Martial Arts isn't going anywhere, so why not shed some light on where we came from?

Make no mistake: this is not simply a piece to start a discussion and have people debating who would get in and who wouldn't; this is something I plan to pursue, starting today, and I welcome anyone in the industry who wants to help or has already started down this path to email me at to talk about this project. So I don't delete your email as junk, put "MMA Hall of Fame" in the subject line.

Now that that is out of the way, let the debates begin...


  1. I think that the guys like Tanner that fought in the UFC in the early days will always get more sentiment because they are considered to be pioneers. Plus 32-8, a belt (though not held for long as you pointed out) and 17 UFC fights over the span of 10 years certainly makes Tanner deserving of consideration.

    Not to mention that he is indeed the epitome of a the warrior and fighter spirit.

  2. What lessens his chances for me is how he faired once MMA started to grow into what it is today.

    Yes, he held the WW belt, but lost it right away to Rich Franklin and that started a streak of four loss in five fights, with David Loiseau, Yushin Okami and Kendall Grove being the others.

    I don't disagree what he was the epitome of the warrior and fighting spirit, and the fact that he taught himself from VHS tapes is incredible as well.

    That being said, there are far more deserving of enshrinement (Tito Ortiz, Don Frye, Matt Hughes, Pat Miletich) who did more for the sport and had more success.

  3. The question is not weather Evan Tanner deserves to be int he UFC Hall of Fame. The question is, is the UFC Hall of Fame deserving of Evan Tanner.

    Also, why are commentators selectively omitting details of Tanners carrer and contributions to bolster their arguments against him being considered ? It is one thing to say "I disagree", and quite another to outright dismiss specific aspects and details. Not cool, and not OK with the fans.

    Never forget, it's us, the fans, who will in the end decide weather UFC is a legitamate sport or not. Youa re judged by your actions, and some of us have very long memories indeed.

  4. Todd: who is leaving what out? And I think the fans have already decided that MMA is a legitimate sport...


Tell us what you think - good, bad or indifferent - and get ready for a counterpunch.