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7/17/12 1:14 PM
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MixedMartialArts.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.

10. FRANK SHAMROCK VS. TITO ORTIZ, UFC 22 (9/24/1999)
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."

9. QUINTON JACKSON VS. CHUCK LIDDELL, UFC 71 (5/26/2007)
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."

8. CHRIS LEBEN VS. JOSH KOSCHECK FEUD, TUF 1 (2005)
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."

4. JOHN MCCAIN VS. UFC
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."

1. FORREST GRIFFIN VS. STEPHAN BONNAR, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 1 (4/9/2005)
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...


7/17/12 1:38 PM
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SamboReigns
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Royce Gracie's contribution to Mma and Tuf 1 finale end of story.
7/17/12 1:41 PM
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D241
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 Great, so can we have Frank in the hof now?
7/17/12 1:43 PM
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Chimonos Revenge
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I don't know as if i would consider the Koscheck/Leben feud one of the top 10 important battles in UFC history.
7/17/12 1:44 PM
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Chimonos Revenge
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And i would call the Wanderlei/Chuck fight more important to the culmination of Pride vs UFC than Rampage/Chuck.

Rampage had fought in other promotions between Pride and the UFC, and the Wanderlei fight was the one that was years in the building, not the Rampage fight.
7/17/12 2:11 PM
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catgobling
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AH so this is how tito's head got so fuckin big
7/17/12 2:12 PM
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catgobling
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and where are the #s on silva-sonnen 2? are they as record-breaking as foretold? if so this list will be revised very soon
7/17/12 2:13 PM
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OnlyTheStrongSurvive
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Chimonos Revenge - And i would call the Wanderlei/Chuck fight more important to the culmination of Pride vs UFC than Rampage/Chuck.

Rampage had fought in other promotions between Pride and the UFC, and the Wanderlei fight was the one that was years in the building, not the Rampage fight.
The Rampage one was for the title and got more "mainstream buzz" though. I think that was his point Phone Post
7/17/12 2:15 PM
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WelshWarrior
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D241 -  Great, so can we have Frank in the hof now?
.. Phone Post
7/17/12 2:17 PM
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epwar
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10. FRANK SHAMROCK VS. TITO ORTIZ, UFC 22 (9/24/1999)
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."

"But we still ain't putting Frank Shamrock in the UFC Hall of Fame..."
 
7/17/12 2:18 PM
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Steve4192
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Edited: 07/17/12 2:19 PM
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OnlyTheStrongSurvive - 
Chimonos Revenge - And i would call the Wanderlei/Chuck fight more important to the culmination of Pride vs UFC than Rampage/Chuck.

Rampage had fought in other promotions between Pride and the UFC, and the Wanderlei fight was the one that was years in the building, not the Rampage fight.
The Rampage one was for the title and got more "mainstream buzz" though. I think that was his point Phone Post

Chuck-Wand was also a fight where both guys were clearly on the downside of their careers, whereas Rampage-Chuck was Chuck at his absolute peak and Rampage on his way up.
 
7/17/12 2:20 PM
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FCFBlazer
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Honorable mention should go to GSP vs Serra 1, in that, anything can happen. Phone Post
7/17/12 2:21 PM
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Nexuscrawlers
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I'm surprised they don't put more really great matchups on free cards considering how high they hold Forrest vs Bonnar as being a big part of going mainstream. Phone Post
7/17/12 2:22 PM
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Funaki Masakatsu #1
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 ttt
7/17/12 2:23 PM
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bryanand
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UFC 40 was when UFC's were still on Friday nights, I remember hitting traffic on the way home from work and being really ancy about missing the fight. I get pumped for fights, but as far as pre-fight promotion goes that one was the perfect storm that I don't think will be duplicated.

Side bar on that fight, the UG actually brokered the staredown of the 2 at the center of the Octagon. That did not occur before UFC 40. The UG asked Dana for it, Dana said it would happen if we posted x amount of times on a thread(I think it was 200) and the rest is history...

7/17/12 2:24 PM
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D241
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 I understand that both Chuck and Wanderlei were on the downslide of their careers, but I agree with Chimonos Revenge.

Randy/Chuck=Face of the UFC post millenium
Wanderlei/Fedor=Face of Pride post mellenium

Rampage was never the top guy in Pride. Wand and Shogun were thought as being better being that they finished him convincingly.
7/17/12 2:24 PM
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ABE FROMAN
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I think the acknowledgement of Frank Shamrock means something here.
7/17/12 2:26 PM
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fryabusa
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 Props to Lorenzo for acknowledging the UFC before he owned it.  Maybe some day that will rub off on DFW.
7/17/12 2:57 PM
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jdb2414
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Chimonos Revenge - And i would call the Wanderlei/Chuck fight more important to the culmination of Pride vs UFC than Rampage/Chuck.

Rampage had fought in other promotions between Pride and the UFC, and the Wanderlei fight was the one that was years in the building, not the Rampage fight.


I agree with both of your comments. How the hell was the Leben/Koscheck fight included??? I guess it's a subjective list, and people view things differently.
7/17/12 2:58 PM
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Another Foob
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Nexuscrawlers - I'm surprised they don't put more really great matchups on free cards considering how high they hold Forrest vs Bonnar as being a big part of going mainstream. <img src="/images/phone/droid.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>


They put TUF finalists on cable cards every season.
7/17/12 3:06 PM
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Ghost of Retard
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Chimonos Revenge - I don't know as if i would consider the Koscheck/Leben feud one of the top 10 important battles in UFC history.

 IF it wasn't for that no one would've watched Forrest and Bonner
7/17/12 3:09 PM
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rockwell
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 I really like Lorenzo. He's a perfect ambassador for the UFC and Zuffa.
I wish I heard twice as much from him and half as much from Dana.
7/17/12 3:11 PM
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shermbe
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D241 -  Great, so can we have Frank in the hof now?


why is everyone so up in arms about this? it's like getting all butt hurt that GSP isn't in Kevin Lole's top p4p rankings this month. it's just 1 persons opinion. its not like he gets money for being the HOF. same goes for the rock n roll hall of fame. Kiss isn't my favorite band and no one cares, but if Jann Wenner doesn't like them, people protest.

7/17/12 3:26 PM
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Nexuscrawlers
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Another Foob - 
Nexuscrawlers - I'm surprised they don't put more really great matchups on free cards considering how high they hold Forrest vs Bonnar as being a big part of going mainstream. <img src="/images/phone/droid.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>


They put TUF finalists on cable cards every season.
i know that, im just saying i think they could dramatically increase their fanbase by putting more compelling matchups on free tv. 
 
7/17/12 4:22 PM
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Fabefromfort
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HMMM Frank Shamrock should be second only to Royce Gracie in the Hall of Fame. Third is Kenny Shamrock, or should be, anyway. Hughes-St. Pierre should be in there somewhere. What killed boxing was corruption, and cheating in the judging. Too much crap going on from Arum, Don King etc in the background manipulating the show to maximize earnings. Also, the alphabet soup of organizations overseeing the sport. The UFC is on the up and up it seems, when it comes to judging. The guys fight so fast that a champion can reclaim an upset loss in a matter of 6 to 8 weeks, whereas in boxing you had to wait years sometimes. That's how it was set up, and always done. You lost money if that happened. Keeping Frank out of the Hall tells me there is that subjective vote in the UFC that could corrupt, and could conceivably " influence " the judging.

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