By CagePotato contributor Jason Moles
During the illustrious eighteen-year history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, we’ve witnessed countless brutal beatings, killer knockouts, and spectacular submissions. Simply put, we’ve witnessed a ton of holy $&*% moments!
I’m sure you have your favorites that you’ll share with your grandkids when you’re sitting in the old man’s chair. But have you ever stopped and asked yourself which moments in the past two decades were the biggest on a large scale? Well I did and I went to the largest scale imaginable: the almighty Google and here’s what I found. Remember, Google doesn’t have emotional or monetary interest at stake here. These moments are the ones that have generated the most web traffic via searches, not which ones impacted the sport the most.
5.) St. Pierre Beats Shields at UFC 129 – 04/30/2011
Why it’s ranked: Jake Shields left Strikeforce as champion so essentially casual fans and mainstream media alike viewed this as the first major inter-promotional, champion vs. champion fight. Georges St. Pierre, reigning UFC Welterweight champion and winner of nine straight came out on top of Shields who was riding a fifteen-fight win streak over the past five years.
The UFC went all in on this one hyping this event with the normal Countdown shows in addition to a pretty sweet commercial, the Primetime series, and a flyer in my mailbox reminding me to order the PPV. It was a huge moment in both men’s career primarily because it was the first tough competition either had faced in quite some time up to that point. The underlying reason this mattered so much is that we all wanted to see the GSP vs. Silva super fight.
4.) Lesnar Submits Carwin at UFC 116 – 07-03-10
Why it’s ranked: This was Brock Lesnar‘s first fight since giving Diverticulitis the F5. (Too bad it was only a two count.) No one knew what to expect. How much cage corrosion would Lesnar have? What about his cardio? Would Shane Carwin win another fight in the first round? That was all answered in the first five minutes as ‘The Engineer’ laid out the blue print for not only how to beat the UFC heavyweight champion, but also what a 10-8 round looks like.
Looking back, it was such a noteworthy night because it capped off, or so we thought, the trials and tribulations of the biggest draw in MMA and left us all with a warm fuzzy feeling. Not Shane, though, he was still sucking wind worse that Roy Nelson a few weeks ago. Regardless, the first round and the shocking result raised a lot of eyebrows, hence it’s spot on the list.
3.) UFC – WEC Merger Announced – 10/28/10
Why it’s ranked: Finally! Something that actually deserves to be on this list, right? I know, I know, settle down scooter. Remember, Google analyzes what EVERYONE is searching for, not just the hardcore fans that spend their free time commenting on a niche website trying to provoke a flame war. Now where was I? Oh yeah, this is the first moment that actually has long-term significance to most of us.
The WEC was home to some of the best fighters in the game today and sadly, they were gobbled up by the UFC like the last piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Usually when one promotion is consumed by another, much larger and well known promotion, heads turn and people seek out any little nuggets of truth they can. It marked the beginning of a new chapter for the mma world as a whole. Little did we know at the time that the WEC was just the appetizer.
Why it’s ranked: Honestly, I think it’s high on the list merely because some crackpot former pseudo badass named Steven Seagal claimed to have taught UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva the single most lethal front kick in all of combat sports. Seriously, WTH? It was a joke. No, no it wasn’t. It was just a media stunt to get more attention. For real now, I most definitely taught him that kick and to prove it I trained my dragon to do the same thing.
This is a classic example of what a holy $&*% moment is because when you first see it your instinct is to yell out “Holy $&*%!!!” and then look at the guy next to you and repeat. Unforgettable moment + delusional B-list Hollywood celeb = mass hysteria.
The single biggest moment in UFC history according to Google is (drum roll please)…………..
1.) UFC 100 – 07-11-09
Why it’s ranked: UFC 100 was the biggest, baddest, most heavily promoted fight card up to that point and it smashed records left and right including gross revenue, tickets sold, and PPV buys. Two title fights including transcendent fighters Brock Lesnar and GSP plus the culmination of Michael Bisping writing a check his chin couldn’t cash after an entire season of trash talking Dan Henderson on The Ultimate Fighter. Everyone and their mother heard something about the epic event thanks to ESPN and others mentioning it leading up to fight night. Oh yeah, there was that little incident after the main event that got a little attention too.
It seemed like the mma community was stricken with an ailment that prevented the poor soul from acknowledging anything outside of UFC 100 the week of and after the event. We just couldn’t help ourselves. It was our Super Bowl, granted it didn’t kick0ff an annual pop-cultural mega event, but it was significantly larger than anything else we had seen. There’s just something magical about the number 100. We did it, err, they did it. They fought the politicians, PPV blackouts, and the economy while nearly going bankrupt in the process. MMA soared out of the shadows and boldly announced its presence that night putting everyone on notice; in case you weren’t aware, MMA is here to stay.
I know. You know. I know you know. I know you know I know. Don’t get all pissy at me, I didn’t make the list. All I did was try to make sense of what the data said and make you laugh in the process. Double fail, right? But go ahead; tell me what should have been on this list in the comments. Do you want a follow up with what CagePotato thinks are the biggest moments in UFC history? How about the biggest moments in PRIDE FC’s history? Strikeforce? Ah, who am I kidding? You stopped reading after you saw Steven Segal mentioned.