Why Compare the UFC and Strikeforce? And Who Wins When it Happens?

By Jonathan Snowden

Mark Pavelich said something telling yesterday on Bloody Elbow Radio. The Maximum Fighting Championship owner, an intensely competitive man, made it clear his promotion, and every other promotion on the planet, is competing for number two. The clear industry leader, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is “miles and miles ahead” of everyone else in the combat sports space.

It’s not just box office dominance, where the UFC has broken it’s own Pay Per View sales record two years running, last year bringing in an estimated $411 million in gross revenue. They’re doing it with the best fighters in the world, smartly matched with other great fighters by matchmaker Joe Silva to create a succession of mega events. And that’s not just my opinion. Our own USA Today/SBNation Consensus Rankings bear this out.

Not only does the UFC keep their accountants busy, they keep most of the world’s top 25 fighters in each weight class busy as well. According to our rankings, 120 of the sport’s 175 top fighters across the major seven divisions compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Of the 70 top ten fighters, 52 of them fly the UFC flag.

It’s a talent gap unprecedented in mixed martial arts history. There’s never been so much talent concentrated in a single promotion ever. Silva and his boss Dana White have more flexibility and options than they’ve ever had. Stars like Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva have given the promotion continuity, and young turks like Jon Jones and Frankie Edgar are raising the game to new levels.

It begs the question: why does everyone in the industry compare this modern day promotional marvel to San Jose’s little old Strikeforce?


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