10 Items We Would Love to See on a Physical MMA Hall of Fame
Baseball has Cooperstown. In Canton, OH you can find the best in football. Fans of basketball celebrate the sport by traveling to Naismith in Springfield. And with the steady growth of mixed martial arts, one day it too will need a physical Hall of Fame to call its own.
Here is a look at 10 items that we would love to see inside a MMA Hall of Fame.
Royce Gracie's Gi
When the UFC first opened its doors, Royce Gracie was the man who single-handedly dismantled opponent after opponent by utilizing Gracie jiu-jitsu. The future Hall of Famer won 11 fights inside the Octagon and, during each performance, wore his signature gi.
Kimo Leopoldo's Cross
According to author Clyde Gentry, Kimo Leopoldo was originally banned from carrying a cross on his back on the way to the cage at UFC 3.
The image of Leopoldo walking to the Octagon with a cross on his back is one of the most memorable the sport has ever known.
Jose Aldo's Flag
Although UFC 142 didn't exactly smash box office records, the Brazilian card was full of stunning finishes. In the evening's main event, Jose Aldo smashed challenger Chad Mendes with a knee with only one second remaining in the opening frame.
What followed was one of the most emotional celebrations the sport has known.
Aldo raced immediately into the crowd, who embraced their champion in near-riotous fashion. The featherweight kingpin had to be retrieved by UFC security, but not before hoisting up a Flamengo FC flag.
Considering that this flag represents a soccer team, a replica simply wouldn't do. This article makes the Hall of Fame only if the original can be tracked down.
UFC Championship Belt
Is there any prize more coveted in mixed martial arts than a UFC championship belt? Its place in a physical Hall of Fame should be a requirement so that it can be properly honored.
Brock Lesnar's Gloves
Not only is Brock Lesnar the biggest pay-per-view draw that MMA has ever known, but he has the gloves to match.
When the former WWE champion and NCAA standout made his way into the Octagon, he became the first man to don 4XL gloves. People stand in awe when seeing the sheer mass of Lesnar in person.
Although Shane Carwin appears to have considerably larger hands that Lesnar in the above photo, "The Engineer" himself went to Twitter and dispelled claims that he actually wears 5XL gloves. The tweet itself (written in 2009) has expired, but you can read Sherdog fan-boys go nuts about it here.
Enter the Octagon and you will walk past a tribute to Charles "Mask" Lewis, co-founder of the Tapout clothing brand and only non-fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
We could go on and on about the contributions that Mask made to the sport before his untimely death in 2009, but that is a story for another day.
As an icon of mixed martial arts, Mask was universally loved from the lower-level independent fight cards through world-class organizations. His trademark top hat is a necessity in a physical Hall of Fame.
Arianny Celeste's Ring Girl Outfit
The women of MMA will undoubtedly have their own wing should a physical Hall of Fame be constructed. However, being that ring girl Arianny Celeste is one of the most recognizable females in the sports world, it would be a crime not to include some of her memorabilia.
Don't worry, boys. We'll wash it first.
Stephan Bonnar's Painting
There is no question that Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar I is the most important matchup in MMA history. Were it not for that bout, who knows what kind of success the UFC would have had during the Zuffa era?
Both Griffin and Bonnar are now retired and inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Should a physical Hall of Fame be built, there is a need to represent their iconic matchup. I can't think of any better way to do it than by featuring the artwork of NGAUGE Inc.
With the approval of Dana White, Bonnar created NGAUGE as a way to design high-end memorabilia for MMA's biggest and best moments. The original piece of artwork produced by the company highlights his signature performance.
Rampage Jackson's Chain
Former PRIDE and UFC superstar Quinton Jackson may have taken his talents to the world of professional wrestling, but the man known as "Rampage" will always be remembered for his time in mixed martial arts.
From his walks to the cage, photos on magazine covers and even in TNA wrestling, Jackson is almost always seen wearing his signature silver chain.
Tito Ortiz Custom Shirts
Tito Ortiz certainly will not go down in history as a soft-spoken person. In fact, the longtime UFC light heavyweight champion was one of the best when it came to both trash talk and getting into an opponent's head.
Frequently, Ortiz would make customized T-shirts for himself on fight night. The phrase on each shirt was usually designed to either brag about his victory or show support for U.S. troops.
Tito's infamous "Dana White is my Bitch" shirt is the most recognizable.