“Yeah, you heard me right, four eyes!”
The boys over at MMA Live invited veteran mixed martial arts journalist Josh Gross to the set for their latest episode on Thursday. The banter lightly touched on Strikeforce’s fight bookings (or lack thereof) and Dan Henderson‘s legacy before Gross unveiled ESPN’s first official MMA rankings. Cutting edge stuff, guys. While the fighters rounding out their top ten pound-for-pound list did hail from many different weight classes, they all had one thing in common: current contracts with the UFC.
All ten fighters call the Octagon home. No fighters from Strikeforce or Bellator or any Pat Miletich took umbrage.
Miletich doesn’t waste any time mincing words (fun starts at 17:05)
“Well, to be honest with you, I mean I honestly, I feel the number one through three, I agree with 100%. Cain Velazquez #4, but the rest of it, it looks like a 1-900 call in and vote for your American Idol to me. Where’s Gilbert Melendez? Where’s Eddie Alvarez? Where’s Overeem, the only guy in MMA that can go over to K1 and crush people? Josh, it looks like you’re kinda trying to get credentialed by Dana White again. Getting the White gig again. So I got some questions about that.”
Daaaaaaamn! We love watching people get served and all, but is this accusation really warranted? As Anik had mentioned seconds earlier, these aren’t Josh Gross’s official P4P rankings, they are ESPN’s. A team of five ESPN journalists, of whom Gross was one, came together to create the UFC-laden list. Had contributor Franklin McNeil presented these rankings we wouldn’t be in this situation, because no one would dare question his journalistic integrity. For those unfamiliar with Gross’s UFC saga, Bloody Elbow has your history lesson.
The real crime here is not the accusation, but that we aren’t treated to a reaction from Gross. A proper rebuttal or even a quick shot of his glasses fogging up in anger would have sufficed. Anik himself could have come to Gross’s defense merely by repeating that he too took part in the rankings, but instead he settles for an “oh snap!!!” in the background and quickly changes the subject.
In the end though, this is much ado about nothing. By their very nature rankings are biased and speculative, with pound-for-pound rankings being the worst of the bunch. These debates are an exercise in futility, and since you could use the exercise, how badly did ESPN fuck up their first go at MMA rankings?
3) Jose Aldo
5) Shogun Rua
8 ) Jon Jones
9) Jake Shields
10) Gray Maynard