I'd be more than content if there was one platform for big fights. But there isn't and I don't see the sport headed in that direction. Just the opposite, actually. So, if every major fight won't happen under one house, how will they get made, right? That's the question worth pondering.
Regarding promoters "jumping on the gravy wagon that White and the Fertittas" built up, I don't see it the way you do. New promoters, If successful, only help to expand the sport while giving fighters outlets to compete and make money. None of that is bad.
OK, forget co-promotion for a minute. How's this for a proposal: the World Mixed Martial Arts Classic.
Every two years, eight (or 16) champion and at-large fighters from different organizations gather for a single-elimination multi-event tournament put on by a new, separate entity, one established promoters would need to support for this to work. Seeding would be based on rankings and other factors (which I haven't put much thought into).
The basic idea provides a platform for these fights to happen without asking branded MMA organizations to engage in practices they see as counter to their business models.
Take the lightweight division as it stands now for an eight-man bracket (champions represented in parentheses):
That's off the top of my head, and of course it can be tweaked a million different ways (
Seems to me this would work across most weight divisions, with 205 a likely exception since UFC has locked up so many top light heavyweights. It would allow promoters to run their operations independently of everyone else. It doesn't detract in any way from established promotional brands. And it pays respect to the principle of determining who's best. I'm not saying it'll happen, but the idea is fun to kick around at least.
A tournament like this would be akin to the UEFA Champions League. Or, better yet, what baseball is attempting with the World Baseball Classic.
Come on, Johnathan. Over the long course of boxing history, it's a tested model that put some of the biggest names in the ring against one another. Like I wrote, it's hardly perfect, but it has its merits. Anyhow, I'm betting Mayweather and Pacquiao fight before the end of the year.
Believe it or not, people in the know tell me Frankie Edgar is the toughest fight for Penn. His wrestling, boxing and -- most importantly -- speed and quickness could present problems for B.J. I don't really see it, especially on the grappling end of things, but that's what these folks suggest.
(To offset Edgar's speed and quickness, Penn's camp plans on utilizing featherweights to spar with the UFC champ.
I'm not sure styles matter all that much against Penn at 155. He's that good -- and comfortable -- in all aspects of the sport. And at lightweight, he's going to be in shape. It's different at 170. He could box with just about anyone, but wrestling is a problem. Plus he's forced to carry extra pounds, which slows him down and makes his stamina an issue. Against opponents that cut down from as much as 190, it's a problem.
Give me Penn vs. Aoki just because, and Penn vs. Fitch or Koscheck at 170.
WEC general manager
After my article was published, WEC matchmaker
In no way am I suggesting Faber is