USA Today MMA Power 20

by Eric Jamison | source:

Everyone in mixed martial arts can gauge their status by their relationship with one brand. The hold of the Ultimate Fighting Championship— and its parent, Zuffa — has never been greater.

Meet USA TODAY's selection of the top powers in MMA:

1. Fertitta brothers & Dana White, Zuffa co-owners
Anyone who thinks UFC has any rivals in mixed martial arts these days is "way, way, way, way out of the loop," White says. "My competition is the NFL. My competition is Major League Baseball. My competition is these other networks."

2. Joe Silva, UFC vice president for talent relations
As matchmaker and chief talent scout, Silva decides who gets signed, who stays and who gets cut.

3. Georges "Rush" St. Pierre, UFC welterweight champion
No one matches the French Canadian titleholder's crossover appeal.

4. Jon "Bones" Jones, UFC light heavyweight champion
"Sitting right here, right now, tonight, Jones looks like the man," White said following the UFC 128 Mauricio "Shogun" Rua bout. "It looks like he's a mile ahead of everybody."

5. Anderson "The Spider" Silva, UFC middleweight champion
White calls Silva the best P4P fighter in the world. Yet Silva also has the distinction of being the only reigning champion whom the UFC boss threatened to fire for making a mockery of his profession.

6. Brock Lesnar, UFC heavyweight
Lesnar-led shows attract more pay-per-view buyers than any other UFC card; every event he has headlined generated at least 1 million buys.

7. Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Trainers
They coordinate MMA's pre-eminent coaching network, a web that includes top UFC fighters across the continent.

8. Cain Velasquez, UFC heavyweight champion
Zuffa's efforts to broaden its ethnic reach rest with men such as Velasquez, the first Mexican-American heavyweight titleholder in combat sports.

9. Craig Piligian, Executive producer, Pilgrim Films & Television
With Piligian and his team selecting the cast and format for each season, TUF gives UFC a reliable platform on basic cable to keep it in the public consciousness.

10. Bjorn Rebney, CEO, Bellator Fighting Championships
The Strikeforce sale means Rebney controls the only promotion left with a widely distributed TV product outside Zuffa's umbrella.

11. Keith Kizer,  Nevada Athletic Commission's executive director:
Leads the most influential regulatory body in combat sports.

12. Joe Rogan, UFC broadcaster:
Shapes fan perceptions more than anyone else by dint of his status as UFC's longtime TV commentator.

13. Bob Cook & Javier Mendez, American Kickboxing Academy trainers
Arguably the premier camp in MMA other than the Jackson-Winkeljohn network.

14. Randy Couture, former champion, owner of Xtreme Couture

15. Cesar Gracie, founder, Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

16. Jose Aldo, UFC featherweight champion

17. Duke Roufus, owner, Roufus Sport

18. Bas Boon, Cor Hemmers, Martijn DeJong, Golden Glory

19. Andrew Simon, HDNet Fights president

20. Alistair Overeem, Strikeforce champion

Read entire article...

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tags: UFC   Dana White   Lorenzo Fertitta   

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Recent Comments »

JDSFTW site profile image  

7/1/11 4:16 AM by JDSFTW

I dint really understand why this is news?

EdibleGumption site profile image  

7/1/11 3:46 AM by EdibleGumption

Interesting that Piligian is so high.

THE_PREDATOR site profile image  

7/1/11 1:46 AM by THE_PREDATOR

Where's Steven Seagal?

Digitalmorphine site profile image  

7/1/11 1:41 AM by Digitalmorphine

Lesnar shouldn't be anywhere on the list, and fedor should be. Glad Bjorn Rebney is on the list also.

duckhuntgangsta site profile image  

7/1/11 1:07 AM by duckhuntgangsta

 Please show me where Bones Jones has made more money, or shown a greater ability to sell tickets/PPV, than Anderson. Compare Shogun vs. Bones with Anderson/Vitor (UFC 128 450k vs UFC 126 725k respectively). I jest don't see the reasoning behind it. Maybe because Jon speaks english and was on the tonight show? Maybe in the future, but not at the moment.

grimsgrind site profile image  

6/30/11 8:20 PM by grimsgrind

No Fedor or Bas Rutten? And to the guy who said Bisping should be on the list...HAHAHAHAHAH what the hell!?!?! Did you just start watching MMA? Who the hell is Bisping to anyone but acouple europeans.

CindyO site profile image  

6/30/11 6:57 PM by CindyO

What??? No Vadim or Fedor??? Dayum=) Cindy

TopGrinder site profile image  

6/30/11 5:59 PM by TopGrinder

 Solid list. i agree with it

starhunk site profile image  

6/30/11 5:57 PM by starhunk

 bisping should be on teh list

Zamiel site profile image  

6/30/11 4:55 PM by Zamiel

Well it's about business and money and for some reason the American public has a lot of trouble connecting with foreigners that can't speak their language.