These are troubling times in the UFC kingdom. Who is manning the gates?
Very worthy gatekeepers past have suddenly slipped into the future, whether they moved on (Cheick Kongo and Dan Hardy), moved up (Cub Swanson, Martin Kampmann) moved down (Frank Mir, hello, Josh Koscheck) or moved to a new weight class (Scott Jorgensen, Clay Guida).
See what I'm saying? There is turmoil. But we're going to try and figure it out. This is the new(-ish) generation of UFC gatekeepers.
But before we dive in, how does one define gatekeeper? To be certain, there are different "levels." Just as your own village has a portcullis and then an inner wall of hewn stone, so, too, has the average UFC weight division. Perhaps the classic definition of a gatekeeper is the guy or gal over whom a victory is good enough to keep you in the promotion, and if not, well, not. But there's a lot more complexity at the bottom rungs of the UFC, not least of which is the fact that, these days, if a guy or gal loses to any UFC-caliber fighter, he or she tends not to stay in the UFC very long.
So instead, we're looking a little higher up the ladder. The next gate up, if you will. As such, we're defining gatekeeper as the man or woman who separates the contenders from the other people. The gatekeeper is your ticket past the velvet rope of Club Dana White Said You Were in the Mix.
So, more bouncers than gatekeepers. But I'm not here for semantics. What I really came to do is help to reset this conversation. And here you go. Because we want them on that wall. Know what I mean? We need them on that wall.