Though the Ultimate Fighting Championship is high and above most competitors today, there was a time where several promotions had the kind of gusto that would challenge the MMA entity.
Several fighters like Nick Diaz and Fedor Emelianenko, among others, have made big names for themselves without the help of the UFC, venturing overseas and here in the continental U.S. where they have further built their legacies thanks to the platforms of these now-defunct organizations.
Basically, we can blame Kimbo Slice and Seth Petruzelli for the rise and fall of EliteXC.
The organization banked on the early success of the aforementioned Slice, who rose to prominence thanks to his many backyard brawls. He eventually yielded a 3-0 record in his mixed martial arts career, with his most notable battle against James Thompson breaking MMA records by peaking with 6.51 million viewers on the CBS broadcast.
However, it was Slice's decisive knockout loss to Seth Petruzelli that drew the ire of the fans and media alike. The Ultimate Fighter alumnus in Petruzelli had alleged in an interview that the organization gave him incentive to only stand and trade with Slice on the feet, rather than take him to the ground.
Afterwards, Petruzelli recanted his statements but the damage had already been done and the comments had many investors and sponsors removing themselves from the EliteXC fray.
The organization had ran up a significant amount of debt and with no one willing to be associated the organization, EliteXC finally folded in October of 2008.
The Affliction promotion was able to acquire many top talents from all around the world, including former UFC heavyweight champions Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia, however the organization really capped off their success with the acquisition of the famed Fedor Emelianenko.
At the time, the promotion had unarguably the deepest heavyweight division, drawing a lot of eyes on their subsequent shows, though they were risking more than they could afford by immediately jumping into the pay-per-view market.
The promotion had banked on Emelianenko to anchor all of their events, where in his two outings with Affliction, the Russian had finished off the likes of both Sylvia and Arlovski in stunning performances, before he was pitted against fellow Pride star Josh Barnett.
However, "The Babyfaced Assassin" failed his pre-fight drug screening where he was found to have tested positive for steroids.
With the botched main event, the promotion later folded, thanks to the significant amount of money loss after the millions spent in marketing the event with Emelianenko and Barnett's mugs gracing posters and TV spots galore.
In the height of their popularity, Pride Fighting Championships was arguably the strongest mixed martial arts promotion in the world.
Though they didn't adopt all the same weight classes that most traditional organizations had, the promotion had built many great fighters within the heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight ranks.
Guys like Dan Henderson, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirk Cro Cop and the aforementioned Fedor Emelianenko all became huge successes whilst in Pride, all adorning top-10 status in their respective divisions.
However, after suspicious allegations that paired the top Pride execs with those of the Yakuza, the organization was later in dire straits with many investors and sponsors ending their affiliation with the juggernaut mixed martial arts promotion.
Soon after, their television partners in Fuji TV publicly announced that they would effectively cancel their contract with the organization, prohibiting any future associations with anything Pride-related.
Shortly thereafter, Zuffa acquired all assets of Pride, who faced financial ruin.
Dana White and brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta made every intention to keep Pride alive, but with failure to cinch a network television deal in Japan, the UFC execs were forced to close the promotion, where it eventually ceased operations in October of 2007.