Fertitta on most important fights in UFC history

by Dave Deibert | source: thestarphoenix.com

Before Saturday night's sold-out debut in Calgary, reporter Dave Deibert highlights the most important battles in UFC history, plus what UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta had to say about each one.

The beginning of highly conditioned, multi-discipline MMA fighters.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "Anybody who watched that fight I think saw the transformation of the sport being from athletes that maybe had one discipline and were very one dimensional to full-fledged mixed martial artists."

MMA breaks through to mainstream notice.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "That fight was a culmination really of the buildup of PRIDE and UFC. You had many years of fans, the hardcore fans, arguing which promotion was better, which fighters were better."

Record breaking fight was preceeded by a season of Kos being such a heel, that Leben turned into the babyface.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "Once again, there's a common theme here. Things that generate interest, fights that generate interest, are typically ones that come with some sort of rivalry."

7. CHUCK LIDDELL VS. RANDY COUTURE TRILOGY, UFC 43 (6/6/2003), UFC 52 (4/16/2005), and UFC 57 (2/4/2006)
Mohawked and tattooed striker vs. clean cut wrestler, with Liddell taking two of three.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "Definitely the one that will go down in history as our version of Ali-Frazier."

6. Brock Lesnar VS. Frank Mir, UFC 100 (7/11/2009)
UFC reaches a level only achieved by Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, with 1,600,000 PPV buys.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "It really was our first what I'll call 'mega event' that shot way past over a million buys, which is really the benchmark for whether or not a fight is a mega event."

5. CHUCK LIDDELL VS. TITO ORTIZ, UFC 66 (12/30/2006)
PPV breaks 1,000,000 buys, and UFC outgrosses boxing and pro wrestling for the year.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "Tito was the champion. Chuck was a guy that was a faithful friend but at the same time Tito had what he wanted, which was the belt. He made no bones about it. Tito took it very personally. And a rivalry was born."

Mixed Martial Arts was admittedly more spectacle than sport when John McCain discovered his inner male grandmother, and drove the then-SEG owned UFC off PPV, and out of dozens of States.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "That's really what drove UFC to becoming the sport that it is today. Guys like John McCain and other politicians holding the previous owners' feet to the fire. You had to have to structure around it. That was an obvious tipover point with UFC. We're glad John McCain won that one."

3. TITO ORTIZ VS. KEN SHAMROCK TRILOGY, UFC 40 (11/22/2002), UFC 61 (7/8/2006), THE FINAL CHAPTER (10/10/2006)
Tito Ortiz saves the UFC, with PPV buy rates of 150,000 (best since 1996), 775,000 (then a record), and finally the then most viewed MMA fight in North American history.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "A lot of it had to do with their personalities -  Tito was young, he was brash, he was irreverent. Ken Shamrock was a guy who was well-respected, had accomplished a lot in this sport."

2. Royce Gracie VS. THE WORLD, UFC 1 (11/12/1993), UFC 2 (3/11/1994) UFC 3 (9/9/994), UFC 4 (12/16/1994), UFC 5 (4/7/1995)
In the beginning, there was Royce, and he was good.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "Probably did more for martial arts in those series of fights than had been done for martial arts in the previous 500 years."

Fertittas bought the UFC and went tens of millions of dollars in the hole. With one amazingly great fight on free tv, fortunes turned.

Lorenzo Fertitta: "It's one of those perfect storms."

Read entire article...


tags: UFC   Lorenzo Fertitta   Royce Gracie (detail)  Brock Lesnar (detail)  Frank Mir (detail)  


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Recent Comments »

fapout site profile image  

7/18/12 12:24 PM by fapout

#3 should be up to 2 or 1...ken vs tito @ ufc 40 was the most important one, imo. It really put the ufc and mma in general on the map

Stekylo site profile image  

7/18/12 12:02 PM by Stekylo

UFc 66 Tito vs Chuck..."Tito was the champion. Chuck was a guy that was a faithful friend, but, at the same time, Tito had what he wanted, which was the belt. He made no bones about it. Tito took it very personally. And a rivalry was born.'Am I the only one who realizes how wrong this statement is. At UFC 66, Chuck was already champion. He already had 'what he wanted'. Strange how Lorenzo remembers it this way instead.

Acidic site profile image  

7/18/12 10:29 AM by Acidic

 cant agree there Wanderlie vs Chuck was two already declining fighters facing off against each other. Both coming off devastating losses. It was a spectacle of a fight Rampage was 4-0 coming into the fight against Chuck who was 7-0. It was a fight for the belt. A Pride LHW vs the best UFC LHW of the time. A lot rid on that fight but in the end UFC won because Rampage was a UFC fighter not a PRide fighter anymore. Plus it was a rematch on Zuffa oil unlike there previous match in Japan.

OUTCOLD site profile image  

7/18/12 10:23 AM by OUTCOLD

Respect to Lorenzo

bull7188 site profile image  

7/18/12 9:26 AM by bull7188

Major respect to Lorenzo for acknowledging Frank Shamrocks massive role in the development and maturity of the UFC. This is a man who knows how to give proper and due respect. DFW should sit down and take a couple notes from the man. A campaign to get both Frank Shamrock and Evan Tanner in the UFC hall of fame needs to be pushed relentlessly!!

Funaki Masakatsu #1 site profile image  

7/18/12 1:39 AM by Funaki Masakatsu #1


Rickson's Aura site profile image  

7/18/12 1:10 AM by Rickson's Aura

Lol at "Tito saves the UFC" .....Ken Shamrock has become a parody but he is responsible for the UFC 40 buyrate more than anyone else. Neither Tito or Chuck were big draws before that. Ken was always a draw in the SEG days (with a lot less promotion) and in the Zuffa era.

RyannVonDoom site profile image  

7/17/12 7:01 PM by RyannVonDoom

 This. and aborted shot? lol @ that bullshit. shows Steve knows nothing more than that cropped off gif. Looks like he got the take down to me.

MagSlim site profile image  

7/17/12 6:50 PM by MagSlim

James Toney disagrees with your significance.