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Everything You Need to Know About the UFC’s New ‘Evolution’ Intro

(We should have known that Harold Howard would be snubbed. It’s politics, man. It’s all politics.)

This Saturday at UFC 143, the UFC will unveil the broadcast intro that has replaced our fallen gladiator. Known as “Evolution,” the 60-second clip will “pay tribute to all the guys who have helped build this company and helped build this sport over the last 10 years during the Zuffa era,” as Dana White put it. Basically, it’s the most elaborate, big-budget MMA highlight reel ever produced. Read on, and you won’t be shocked when you see it tomorrow…

1) With the exception of Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock at UFC 1, “Evolution” doesn’t include anything before UFC 30.
Here’s a list of the 18 fights featured in the intro, via MMAFightingRoyce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock (UFC 1), Tito Ortiz vs. Evan Tanner (UFC 30), Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg (UFC 52), Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz (UFC 47), BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 84), Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 65), Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 68), Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva (UFC 92), Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring (UFC 87), Rich Franklin vs. Nate Quarry (UFC 56), Junior dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel (UFC 108), Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson (UFC on VS 6), Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar (TUF 1 Finale), Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar (UFC 121), Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard (UFC 125), Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick (UFC 129), Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar (UFC 94), Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort (UFC 126).

The UFC made a point to include all seven current UFC champions, as well as “the guys, almost in chronological order, who have helped us get here,” White said. Of course, the UFC’s SEG-era champions and stars are conspicuously absent. No Frank Shamrock, no Pat Miletich, no Tank Abbott.

2) The intro cost “an obscene amount of money,” and was delayed because of Rich Franklin.
While White wouldn’t reveal the exact amount of money that the UFC spent to make it happen, “Evolution” was put together over six months with a massive amount of resources behind it. The UFC commissioned two different production companies to take a crack at it, before choosing the one created by Digital Domain, a company founded by super-director James Cameron that has produced visual effects for movies like Titanic, Apollo 13, Armageddon, and more recently the Transformers series.

“Evolution” was supposed to debut before UFC 142, until the UFC realized that they had forgotten to include former middleweight champion Rich Franklin. Said Dana: “It cost us a (expletive) load of money and a bunch of time to fix it because there was no way I was going to air this thing without Franklin being in there too.”

3) Okay, maybe “highlight-reel” is an understatement.
Here’s how MMAWeekly summarizes the clip: “Evolution…starts in a small gym, the floor of which begins crumbling away as actual fight footage shows Shamrock’s hand smacking the floor, cracking it apart, as he taps out to Gracie. Liddell rushes forth, punishing Ortiz, blasting him through a wall that crumbles to the ground…all the while the Octagon starts to take shape, rising up through the rubble. As the fights wear on — St-Pierre, Hughes, Rampage, Velasquez, Jones — the building tumbles away, the Octagon emerges, and Silva’s face-crunching kick explodes into the 55,000-seat Rogers Centre in Toronto.”

4) Goodbye shrieking gladiator chorus, hello Hans Zimmer. (Just keep doing what you’re doing, Stemm.)
Even the music in “Evolution” will be first-class. To soundtrack the intro, the UFC hired award-winning German film composer Hans Zimmer, who has produced scores for blockbuster movies like The Dark Knight, Inception, The Lion King, and (yes) Gladiator. However, MMAWeekly also writes that the replacement of the Gladiator intro will not affect the customized montage of fighters that airs after the intro, which has traditionally been soundtracked by “Face the Pain.” After all, evolution is a gradual process.

Any questions?

Cagepotato Comments

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rophelius- February 4, 2012 at 8:10 am
Authors: I've really been enjoying the writing lately. Thank you for it.
stemmlin- February 4, 2012 at 3:06 am
Let's get some Stemm info straight! Not only did Stemm record "Face the Pain" specifically to be used as the UFC intro song Zuffa uses several different Stemm songs from the album "Songs for the Incurable Heart" ( Holding On, 13 Years ect) on every episode of "UFC Unleashed. I am personal friends with all of the members of Stemm, past and present (except the previous guitarist) and they knew nothing about this intro change. In my opinion not a great way to treat "the Official Band of the UFC"!!
Mofo- February 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm
Yeh... Probly ppl were joking about Mir, but obviously the one thing we don't want in this clip is bone snapping... or crazy Tank smiling at the camera while he crushes his knee into the broken face of some Rex Kwon Do master.
ccman- February 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm
God help me but I agree with xeno, pre Zuffa production looked like it was flimed with a toaster and to much was staged and unregulated (huge guy fighting little guy). As they move into mainstream that history has to get buried same as NBA games played inside chicken wire and nfl 'pig in a poke' plays.
Austin3210- February 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm
Poor Belfort. Thanks to this new intro, when he retires he'll be remembered as the guy who didn't move when Anderson said "Smell my feet."
XENOPHON- February 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm
@fatbellyfrank - I'm with you.
Clyde- February 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm
No Steve Jennum? The fuck?
fatbellyfrank- February 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm
No Elvis Sinosic, shame on you Dana
Fried Taco- February 3, 2012 at 11:43 am
I'll take Danny Elfman over Hans Zimmer any day.
pinkyslayer- February 3, 2012 at 11:03 am
it's spelled "scheize"
smellypiratehooker- February 3, 2012 at 11:00 am
Hendo, " Bispinging, Bisping ", would have been nice to use for that flooring job.
Mofo- February 3, 2012 at 10:36 am
Good, as long as there's still shitty, second rate metal involved, it's still mixed martial arts.
FedorSucksDonkeyDick- February 3, 2012 at 10:22 am
The Movie Nerd is right!! (besides the fact that hes a John Jones fan, stupid fuck) Hans Zimmer is a beast. RWilson...Ill watch a movie of Chael (German) fucking your moms mouth to Hans Zimmer (German) music all day!! Don't fuck with a country that's responsible for steroids, the Christmas tree, modern rocketry, the The Easter Bunny, apple pie, and of course GERMAN SHIZZZZZA VIDEOS!!!!
NomadRip- February 3, 2012 at 9:37 am
No War Machine? Shit's racist.
Omelette Platter- February 3, 2012 at 9:16 am
@Jason Moles : i too am upset at the lack of frank mir breaking bones. he's a multi-time hw champ and has destroyed more than one arm in spectacular fashion. for fucks sake they have two of brock's fights in there (i'm sure brock/heath is the big blitz, and brock/cain is lesnar getting ktfo'd, but still...)
MrBlondeSL- February 3, 2012 at 9:10 am
Ill be damned, I listened to Stemm back in the day when they were local. I never knew they did that song, I'm glad to see they achieved something.
PHISTAKUPHS- February 3, 2012 at 9:04 am
@rwilson leaving Ruas out is blasphemy
Ricardo Guitardo- February 3, 2012 at 9:03 am
Steve Bonner losing twice in the intro that sucks to be immortalzed as the all time loser poster boy.
XENOPHON- February 3, 2012 at 8:40 am
@wwhitekimbo - I got a suspicion that Zuffa would have have included all the archive they purchased from SEG (or , but to be able to reuse the footage from Jones favored film composure's on national TV presented legal problems that fall outside of each individual states criteria for what is "allowable" for public broadcasting content based on rules from their athletic commissions. If I am wrong, then the only other explanation(s) is that knowing Zuffa owns the content from all the earlier events, its a ego thing - and about when he Ferttitas took control and implemented their own look and feel to the brand, or that some of the matches would look so patently goofy when compared to what people have become accustomed to today through the evolution of the well rounded fighter . We here may love the original fights, but standing backing and viewing where it all sprang from might be an complete embarrassment - and times best left distanced from critics long silenced.
J. Jones- February 3, 2012 at 8:23 am
Yes, and don't call me Jesus.
Fried Taco- February 3, 2012 at 8:16 am
So they're completely ignoring the fact that the Gladiator built the UFC. And if they wanted someone with Lion King credentials to do the music, should have gone with Elton John: Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting).
jfjjfjff- February 3, 2012 at 7:58 am
jesus, really? you have a favorite film composer?
LOKI- February 3, 2012 at 7:56 am
Um...Wasnt it Machida's Craine Kick in the 55,000 seat Rogers Center?
They could have really scored some points with the Yakuza by showing Sakuraba win the tournament at UFC Japan.
No Coleman, Bas, Frye, Hendo or MIR?!
I think Serra vs. GSP 1-2 should have been cut together to show the biggest upset in UFC history and its being avenged by their poster-boy.
Kid Clam Curtains- February 3, 2012 at 7:41 am
This is like replacing a rickshaw pulled by a one-legged vietnamese kid with a Bentley.
Jugger- February 3, 2012 at 7:31 am
I was originally a big fan of Franklin's but kinda cooled on him the longer I watched him fight and the more I learned about the sport. I grew frustrated with his boxing style, felt like it was holding him back, and was annoyed that he didn't seem to be evolving in that area. That said, I think he is as good as gold in terms of character. Unfortunately, his career trajectory was deflected by Anderson and injuries. He did string together some highlights and memorable moments. Franklin certainly deserved to be included and I think it's pretty cool that Dana would hold up production to see to it that he was.

This highlight video ( is still one of the very best.