Best Non-UFC Fighters

Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

Rank

Heavyweight

Light Heavy

Middleweight

Welterweight

Lightweight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Paulo Filho

Jake Shields

Takanori Gomi

2

Andrei Arlovski

Ricardo Arona

Matt Lindland

Carlos Condit

Shinya Aoki

3

Josh Barnett

Rafael Feijao

Robbie Lawler

Jay Hieron

JZ Calvancante

4

Tim Sylvia

Vladimir Matyushenko

Kazuo Misaki

Nick Thompson

Eddie Alvarez

5

Ben Rothwell

Babalu Sobral

Gegard Mousasi

Mach Sakurai

Mitsuhiro Ishida

6

Mirko Cro Cop

Tito Ortiz

Vitor Belfort

Mike Pyle

Joachim Hansen

7

Roy Nelson

Steve Cantwell

 “Jacare” de Sousa

 

Tatsuya Kawajiri

8

Aleks Emelianenko

Brian Stann

Jason Miller

 

Josh Thomson

9

Antonio Silva

 

Melvin Manhoef

 

Gilbert Melendez

10

Alistair Overeem

 

Murilio Rua

 

Vitor Ribeiro

11

 

 

Cung Le

 

Jamie Varner

12

 

 

Denis Kang

 

Ryan Schultz

13

 

 

Joey Villasenor

 

KJ Noons

14

 

 

Frank Shamrock

 

Nick Diaz

15

 

 

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

Caol Uno

16

 

 

Jorge Santiago

 

 

17

 

 

Chael Sonnen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EliteXC and Their Future

We have seen many fight promotions come and go.  Dana White has stated that he isn’t worried about EliteXC, but Satuday is a big day for the EliteXC and for all MMA.  So, how will EliteXC on CBS do?  There are a lot of questions about Mixed Martial Arts on primetime television.  This deal is obviously big.  There are many Kimbo haters who don’t think he is right for the main even, but I disagree.  The main event isn’t necessarily about the best or most experienced fighter or even what will be the best fight, but about what will sell the most tickets and that is Kimbo.  Kimbo Slice is a gold mine.  This fight may determine a lot about hsi MMA future.  I’d like to see him fight a bigger name guy and if he wins Saturday he will.  EliteXC, Affliction, and DREAM seem to be the biggest competition for the UFC, so how will they do?  There are a few ways to determine that.  The UFC has been a model of success in MMA, let’s see what EliteXC needs to do.

FIGHTERS IN THE ORGANIZATION

This does not just mean having a host of fighters, but it means having good fighters and more importantly marketable fighters.  The UFC has that. Does EliteXC.  Here are their top fighters…

  • Kimbo Slice
  • Gina Carano
  • Jake Shields
  • Robbie Lawler
  • Eddie Alvarez
  • Frank Shamrock
  • KJ Noons
  • Nick Diaz
  • Kala Hose
  • Antonio Silva
  • Joey Villasenor
  • Phil Baroni
  • Murilio Rua
  • Paul Daley
  • Jon Murphy
  • Brett Rogers
  • Rafael Feijao
  • Ricco Rodriguez

In that group they have some recognizable names (Sheilds, Diaz, Carano, Slice, Lawler, Baroni, Rodriguez).  They have a few good prospects (Rogers, Feijao, and Murphy).  They have a couple of true stars (Slice and Carano).  Carano is a babe, a good fighter, an American Gladiator star, and one of the most searched for names on the internet.  Kimbo Slice is a You Tube sensation and perhaps will evolve into a decent MMA fighter. However, they only have a couple of legit top level fighters (Lawler. Alvarez and Shields).  Don’t get me wrong their all around talent can draw a crowd and is better than most.

REVENUE

They are still operating in the red, but that will change.  I don’t expect money to be an issue right now for EliteXC

EVENTS

Here is where EliteXC will struggle.  They hav a great card set up for Saturday, but can they consistently do that?  With about 20 guys that are main card worthy can they put on more than two or three cards?  The answer is…no.  They need to sign more talent.  I don’t know how often they plan to be on CBS Primetime, but they need better events and Kimbo and Carano can’t be on every big card they have.

MANAGMENT

Gary Shaw knows what he is doing, but the question is, does he have the savvy that Dana White has?  Time will tell if he makes good busisness moves and this CBS deal is key.  We will see how it does on CBS.

EliteXC is not going to dissolve any time soon, however, they need more talent and not just marketability. I think EliteXC on CBS this Saturday will fair very well.  They will get large audiences and new fans.  It will help all MMA. 

Fighting Organizations Rankings

I have ranked the organizations before, but here is the updated rankings of who has the best product.

1. UFC – Still the best of the best.  Has more ranked fighters by far.  Has the most recognizable names in the likes of Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Shogun, Wanderlei Silva, Rampage Jackson, Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn.

2. Affliction – By far the best competitive heavyweight divison with Fedor, Tim Sylvia, Aleksander Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Ben Rothwell, Pedro Rizzo and maybe Arlovski.  Not to mention Lindland, Whitehead and Babalu. 

3. WEC –  The WEC has some star power, but is in the UFC’s shadow majorly.  The growing featherweight divison will help them as will the bantamweight with star Miguel Torres.  Guys like Condit, Stann, Filho and Faber give WEC the name recognition.  WEC still seems to be the minor league UFC.  Their success will not come with the bigger fighters, but with lightweights, featherweights and bantamweights. 

4. EliteXC –  Their CBS deal will help them.  Kimbo can be a star.  They do great partnering with other promotions like Strikeforce and allowing guys to fight in DREAM. 

5. DREAM – DREAM 1-3 have been solid with solid fighters especially lightweights and middleweights. Has guys like Aoki and Ishida as well as Caol Uno and Kwajiri. Has other guys fight for them like Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez, JZ Calvancante, Diaz, Cro Cop, Jason Mayhem Miller, Manhoef, Denis Kang, Mark Hunt, Jacare, Kid Yamamoto, Sakurai and Hansen. 

6. Strikeforce – They have a few good fighters which helps them greatly.  They have Thomson, Le and Melendez

7. World Victory Road –  They don’t have an American appeal, but they do have Gomi and some other solid Japanese fighters.  Also they have Kazuo Misaki, Kevin Randlemen, Jeff Monson, and Nick Thompson

UFC’s Competition

I have been critical of Dana White’ abilitiy to sign the free agents in the MMA world.  I think the bottom line is that Dana is unwilling to bend.  I just heard that Jacare, an excellent jiu-jitsu guy signed with DREAM.  The negotions broke down with the UFC because Dana felt they wanted too much money.  Maybe he is right, but nevertheless Jacare is now in a competitong organization.  Furthermore, it seems the UFC fails to sign top notch fighters especailly Japanese guys like Ishida, Ayoki or Sakurai.  There are other top level fighters that the UFC couldn’t sign.  Worse than that there are several top tier guys I don’t know if the UFC even cares about (Jakes Shields, JZ Calvancante, Gilbert Melendez).  He won’t sign Fedor.  He won’t sign Lindand.  In my opinion UFC will never be a monopoly and has some serious competition. With some of the internal problems and some of the UFC stars upset we could see another organization become the “big dog” in MMA.  In my opinion here is UFC’s biggest competitors.

1. EliteXC.  Dana’s feud with Shaw hasn’t helped.  Shaw is a much more typical commissioner than White.  The CBS deal will bring them in a lot of viewers, but will also help all MMA.  They have some stars in EliteXC (Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Cung Le, Robbie Lawler). They are willing to take chances as seen by the future star Kimbo Slice.  They offered Fedor, and may get him.

2. WEC – I know it is Zuffa owned, but they have some great fighters that the UFC should bring over to the UFC.  I don’t know why you have another organization with top level fighters.  They have some great guys that would translate well anywhere (Paulo Filho, Carlos Condit, Urijah Faber, Miguel Torres, Doug Marshall, Brian Stann, Rob McCullough, Jamie Varner, Chael Sonnen, Leonard Garcia and Jens Pulver)

3. DREAM – Not much competition now, but has some good fighters (Sakurai, Cro Cop, Calvancanti, Ishida, Aoki, Denis Kang, Yamamoto, Joachim Hansen, Eddie Alvarez and Mark Hunt).  The American market is next to nothing though.

4. World Victory Road — Josh Barnett and Takanori Gomi enough said.  A few more big names and they have something good.

5. Strikeforce.  Not great competition, but still have a few guys any monopoly would want (Frank Shamrock, Josh Thompson and Gilbert Melendez)

6. ICON.  They have Jason “Mayhem” Miller and a future star in Kala Hose.

 Right now the UFC is doing fine.  They have a few competitors, but they are still the big leagues.  They have the best fighters.  Some divisions they are better than others.  For example at Light Heavyweight they have a near monopoly and at welterweight they are doing pretty well.  There are several key free agents out there (Fedor, Arlovski, Couture).  If EliteXC or someone else picks up the other guys they can really compete.