Mixed martial arts (MMA) is growing more popular each year, and with that popularity come events and announcements that have a large impact on the MMA fan base. In 2010, MMA fans saw the continued rise of Zuffa and its UFC and WEC organizations, along with Strikeforce striving for contention as a heavyweight organization alongside the UFC. MMA in 2010 saw some champions rise to their call while other champions fell with broken myth.
5. Zuffa’s global expansion
If anyone knows anything about UFC President Dana White, it is that he is always trying to expand the organization. One of the larger announcements during 2010 was the opening of a UFC office in China. Another 2010 office opening occurred with the Canadian office in Toronto. The latest announcement occurred with an on-location press conference in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The UFC will return to Brazil to host an event, expanding the Brazilian market. MMA fans will surely see the effects of the UFC expansion in the coming years.
4. Liddell’s final Octagon appearance
Coming off two losses, Chuck Liddell went into UFC 115 to face Rick Franklin and looking to walk away with a much-needed win. The first round had been going well for Liddell, breaking Franklin’s arm with a kick. With seconds left in the first round, Franklin caught Liddell with a right hook which knocked out “The Iceman.” After the event, UFC President Dana White stated that Liddell would never fight for the organization again, essentially forcing the fighter’s retirement. The MMA world will never forget one of the early superstars of the sport.
3. Silva’s come-from-behind win over Sonnen
For over four rounds at UFC 117, Chael Sonnen dominated Anderson Silva. With less than two minutes left in the fight, Sonnen was on his way to a unanimous decision over Silva. While much of the fight was spent on the ground, Silva had not been able to pull off a submission; that is, until the closing minutes. Silva was able to lock up a triangle armbar to submit Sonnen and retain his Middleweight title and position as one of MMA’s top pound-for-pound fighters.
2. The Last Emperor falls
Fedor Emelianenko had a certain mysticism surrounding him as an undefeated fighter. On June 26th, 2010, Emelianenko was fighting Fabricio Werdum and knocked him down early in the fight. Emelianenko followed Werdum to the ground, but was caught in triangle armbar by the Brazillian. While the event was enough to crash MMA forum databases due to outrage and shock, Emelianenko parted with wise words: “The one who doesn’t fall never stands up.”
1. WEC merges into the UFC
The Zuffa product makes yet another spot on the list, but it isn’t surprising as it is the MMA powerhouse organization. On October 28th, 2010, Zuffa announced that the WEC would merge into the UFC. This is a huge and positive event for MMA fans, as the lighter weight and high caliber fighters of the WEC will receive major recognition in the UFC come 2011. The merger was a huge moment in the UFC’s long history of growth, which will undoubtedly continue.
Do you think that other moments should be on the 2010 list? Am I an MMA white belt that needs to watch and read more about the sport? Leave a comment and get a discussion going!