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 MMAFighting: Royce 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.