Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Dana White doesn't like the UFC's official rankings. That's not surprising. OK, it's a little surprising, since White was one of the forces behind the installation of the rankings in the first place. But I digress.
White aired his frustration over Chael Sonnen's spot in the middleweight rankings after Sonnen beat Shogun Rua last Saturday night.
'The Media' had him ranked at number 9 or 10 at 185 underneath guys that he actually beat. So obviously a win over Shogun puts him in a great place at 205, and puts him at a great place at 185.
White's grouping of all the journalists who were invited by his own company to participate in the rankings into one nefarious group called "The Media" is amusing, if not a bit silly. After all, we're not talking about five or 10 people being polled for the rankings; the number of journalists receiving a ballot is high enough that I'm not going to take the time to count them.
The point: this isn't the opinion of a few guys. They're decided by a lot of people, some of whom are very smart on the subject. But White works best when he has an enemy to deride and make fun of. If "The Media" serves that purpose for him, well, that's great.
But there's another aspect that White is completely ignoring. He's mad Sonnen is only ranked ninth in the middleweight division, right? But Sonnen left the middleweight division. Sure, he's going back down now, but he hasn't competed at middleweight since losing to Anderson Silva last summer. As of right now, he's a light heavyweight.
Silva has competed at light heavyweight three times, but you still don't rank him in that division because he's a middleweight. The same goes for Frankie Edgar. He was near the top of the lightweight division, but he's now a featherweight. He's not ranked at 155 anymore, but you don't hear White blaming "The Media" for that one.
When the UFC first installed the rankings voting system earlier this year, it was set up to pull eligible fighters from the UFC's official roster database. Sonnen was listed at light heavyweight despite not actually fighting there yet. Anthony Pettis was still a lightweight, but he planned on dropping to fight Jose Aldo, so he was only eligible at featherweight.
After many complaints, the UFC and Fight Metric (the company handling the balloting process) switched things around so that all fighters were eligible to be voted on in any weight class. If I wanted to, I could have ranked Alistair Overeem at flyweight.
The change gave journalists the option of including Sonnen at middleweight, even after he made his light heavyweight debut. Some of those journalists kept including Sonnen at middleweight, and they're still doing it despite Sonnen's last two fights taking place in another weight class.
That's their prerogative, of course. I think it's wrong and silly, but that's why the balloting pool is so deep: to get a clear picture of where fighters stand from a large collection of onlookers. Sonnen shouldn't be ranked at 185, but he's still receiving enough votes to land on the list. That's just the way it is. I don't like it, but I can't do anything about it.
If White thinks his hand-picked pool of journalists is getting it wrong, then he should abolish the system. It's not like he pays any attention whatsoever to the rankings when booking fights, anyway, so what's the point? He might be better off just drawing up his own rankings.
But that wouldn't be fun, because then he couldn't blame "The Media" when fans disagree with the rankings.