Best of the Rest: Whose the UFC's Biggest Rival?

Kevin CurranSenior Analyst IOctober 1, 2008

As I toss and turn in my sleep dreaming of what will become of a post PRIDE MMA world, I contemplate a savior of the people, from the monotony of the UFC. Don't get me wrong I love all MMA, but a guy can only take so much octagon at a time. So as I lay awake I decided to orchestrate a group article as to who is the UFC's biggest rival. Here are the three main opinions.


Jason Cottier:

Dream has picked up right where Pride left off.  With the showmanship of the ring announcer with his super cool shades.  Even the familiar bellow of the English speaking announcer.
Dream also keeps things interesting with the tournament style fighting.  With such stars competing like Jacare, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Jason Miller.  That's all in the same tournament.
With the Japanese rules it makes for a different style of fighting than the American fight fan is used to seeing.  Dream definitely has the talent, and the showmanship to be around for a long time to come still.

Jad Semaan:

I will argue that Strikeforce is the best MMA organization besides the UFC. First off, their show on September 20 will be their 14th, which is more events than many other small orgs can claim so far. Secondly, they have four belts with recognized, legitimate champions. They have a solid roster, including Thomson, Melendez, Baroni, Shamrock, Le, Ruiz, Ishida, Sobral, Southworth, Santos, Riggs, Overeem, Buentello, Misaki, Ludwig, Masvidal, Hallman, Evangelista, Santiago, Prangley, Devela, Vitale, Puder and others. This promotion also held the first tournament to be sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. They often co-promote with other organizations to put on better cards, and currenly hold the coolest-sounding name of any MMA promotion.

Strikeforce has excellent production values, they're on NBC with a new show, they have a six-sided cage, and they hold the record for largest paid live audience in North America courtesy of their show Shamrock vs. Gracie. . Frank Shamrock and crew provide informative and entertaining commentary, and who can forget Shamrock's epic matches against Phil Baroni and Cung Le? They have strong financial backing from an American K-1 promoter and Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment. Their cards regularly feature more total fights than other promotions, which is especially great for the live audience. And they hold events at the Playboy Mansion, which provides a motivation boost for all their athletes to perform better. Strikeforce isn't going anywhere.

Kevin Curran:

Contrary to my colleagues beliefs there is only one true heir to the PRIDE throne and its name is Sengoku. Sure, it flies under the radar and goes unnoticed to the American fan, but with as much talent and excitement as it generates, its bound to overtake Dream and then...just maybe...the UFC. WVR certainly doesnt' see this as unacheivable.

WVR has been aggressive as to picking up talent for a stacked roster. They picked up former PRIDE stars; Kevin Randleman, Frank Trigg, Takanori Gomi, and Josh Barnett (pre-affliction) among many more. Also, they seem to be the main destination of Shooto stars like Seung Hwan Bang who recently gave Gomi a run for his money. Not only this, but they bought up Pancrase, the oldest organization in modern MMA, who have held rights to many stars in the past (i.e. Rutten, Shamrocks, Kondo, Marquardt, etc.). It is unreasonable to think that no more like them will come along.

Next, Dream is rumoured to be having trouble paying fighters which will make it even easier to take over the land of the Rising Sun and then move on from there. If this does happen, they can buy Dream who holds rights to M-1 global, the most major promotion in Russia which is churning out sambo stars. All Star roster? It's in the cards. Aggressive, wealthy owners willing to pay to gain fans? Oh yeah. Large market for MMA fans? Most definitely.

What else can you ask for to have a successful company?


So in the end there are different points of view on the ever-hot and ever-sensitive topic of "who's best". Feel free to offer your own opinion if you please.