Most MMA fans are getting caught up in the UFC 100 whirlwind. The promotion, along with Spike TV, has decided to narrow down the top 100 UFC fights of all time. 177 fights have already been selected, and fans will decide which of those will end up in the century club.
After the fan voting, highlights from the chosen bouts will air as part of a series set to debut on July 5th. Naturally, not every fight was going to make the initial cut to 177, but there have been two notable exceptions that have people talking and pointing their conspiracy theorists fingers straight at the UFC’s very own lightening rod, Dana White.
Since the fighters in the excepted fights are not going to show up in a Dana White video blog anytime soon, many fans perceive the fights being left out as designed disrespect.The two fights in question are Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz and Andre Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia 2.
Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz
At the time it was widely considered to be the best fight that ever took place in the Octagon. Champion Frank Shamrock was making his fourth title defense against a four and one colorful up and coming fighter named Tito Ortiz.
Both fighters displayed a wide range of skills, which is commonplace in MMA today, but still a rarity back then. Ortiz appeared to be getting the better of Shamrock with a dominant wrestling game, but with less than a minute to go in the fourth round, Shamrock exploded with a flurry and forced Ortiz to submit to strikes and exhaustion.
The main event for UFC 22, marked the last time Frank Shamrock competed in the Octagon, and it also gave the few fans watching a view of the man set to dominate the UFC light heavyweight division for the next three years. The fight itself was a proprietary blend of excitement and technique. Shamrock’s epic comeback is clearly one of the best 177 fights in UFC history.
Andre Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia 2
The Pitbull, Andre Arlovski, made a strong case to be one of the world’s top pound for pound fighters going into his second fight with Tim Sylvia. In their first encounter, Arlovski ended things early by dropping Sylvia with a punch and finishing with a leg lock. After that fight, Arlovski was untouched by any opponent.
Early in the rematch, it looked as if things were going down the same way. Sylvia was again dropped by an Arlovski power shot, but he managed to his feet. Once there, he surprisingly turned the table and finished his opponent with strikes.
Despite the back and fourth nature of the fight, it only lasted two minutes and forty-three seconds. The fight was both shocking and exciting. It is also significant, because it is one of the first meaningful heavyweight fights of the post TUF era. A quick scan over the UFC’s list, and one will realize there are several fights that could be removed in favor of Arlovski vs. Sylvia 2.
Both of these fights feature fighters that are not currently competing in the UFC and are also on the outs with the UFC’s monarch. The quality and significance of both of these leads fans to think that the exclusion is based entirely on the athletes relationship with the promotion.
Let’s hope that this was simply an error and not some PR initiative aimed to lower the fighters’ profile – Tim Sylvia already has this commercial doing that for him. If it was on purpose, fans must take it in stride as another one of the UFC’s shady business practices, and go vote for the classic match up between Junie Browning and Dave Kaplan.