Imagining a UFC Without Anderson Silva, Jon Jones or GSP
The many-worlds interpretation is a scientific theory of quantum mechanics that purports that all past and future histories are not only possible, but are actually simultaneously existing in a limitless number of parallel universes.
There is a variance in the degree of difference between universes. For some it may be slight, while other universes may be the diametric opposite of our own perceived reality.
If this concept is applied to the the realm of mixed martial arts, it opens up a veritable smorgasbord of possibilities. Hypothetically, there is a universe out there in which Tim Sylvia still holds the UFC heavyweight belt.
What is even crazier to consider is that there is a universe where Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre have never stepped foot inside the Octagon.
Silva never knocked out Vitor Belfort with a Seagal-style front kick to the face. Jones never defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to become the youngest champ in UFC history. GSP never pummeled B.J. Penn so badly that his corner was forced to throw in the towel.
One now is left to wonder what kind of impact their non-existence would have on the UFC and more importantly the entire mixed martial arts world.
To state it bluntly, their absence would be absolutely devastating.There are many talented and skilled fighters currently under the UFC banner, but none of them possess the magnitude of those three men.
Silva, Jones and GSP represent the trinity. They are the three greatest pound-for-pound MMA fighters in the world.
Their very existence has defined the UFC and superseded the bounds of MMA. Each has played a gigantic part in growing the UFC brand worldwide and turning it into the mainstream juggernaut it is today.
That is not to say the UFC would cease to exist without them, though it is likely that the organization would not be nearly as successful.
In Brazil, the fertile crescent of MMA, Silva is perhaps the most famous face and a real driving force behind the explosion of amazing talent coming out of South America.
Up in the land of hockey and hospitality, St-Pierre has given a similar rise to a growing number of great Canuck fighters, including potential future welterweight champ Rory MacDonald.
And Jones looms large as the evolutionary mixed martial arts fighter. "Bones" is so athletically gifted that he could compete in any sport he desired. Both of his brothers play football in the NFL, yet he chose MMA.
Jones is the first in a line of next generation MMA athletes that will propel the sport to greater heights in the near future.
Each fighter also has a legion of rabid fans that equals millions of dollars for the UFC in pay-per-view buys, merchandising and advertising. Regardless of who they are fighting, fans cannot help but hand over their hard-earned money to watch them throw-down.
Sure, some may argue that with these giants lording over their prospective weight classes, there is a lack of parity in these UFC divisions.
And that is a totally valid point. When Michael Jordan played with the Bulls, prior to his first retirement, there was always the feeling that no other team had a snowball's chance in heck.
The same could be said of those fighters who have the huevos to stand across the cage from Silva, Jones or GSP. There is the sneaking suspicion that no one will be able to defeat them. This inevitably could lead to fan boredom.
However, it is better to think of these fights as reminders of what is so great about sports. To see a person do something so amazing that it literally stretches the bounds of human achievement and compels those watching to utter the magical words, "Did you just see that?"
Silva, Jones and GSP do something highlight-reel worthy every fight. And what is even more astounding is that they make these difficult feats look downright ordinary.
In this writer's humble opinion, the UFC landscape would be a dark, barren place without the likes of Silva, Jones and GSP to light the way. Yes, other worthy champions would exist in the void left by their absence, but none could equal their transcendent aura.
Luckily, like George Bailey, that horrible alternate reality is not our own and MMA fans are blessed enough to know that for the foreseeable future Silva, Jones and GSP will continue to enthrall us with their performances inside the cage.
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