Criticism Mounts For The UFCFollowing another lacklustre and disappointing event, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its president, Dana White, have once again come under heavy scrutiny among fans online, as a recent trend of negative sentiment and controversy continues to surround the promotion.

With a largely disastrous bout between Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson and Houston “The Assassin” Alexander from last night’s TUF 10 Finale receiving the brunt of the criticism, an announcement regarding the eleventh season of the reality show also has fans frustrated.

Citing overwhelming demand from UFC fans, White announced that former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz would serve as opposing coaches for next year’s airing of TUF 11.

The announcement was met with a noticeable smattering of boos and near-complete indifference from the live Las Vegas crowd, but has since been a hot topic among fans online, who have almost exclusively panned the bout as a waste of time.

White, who seemed visibly unsure of himself as he made the announcement, had to be reminded of the weight class that the TUF 11 contestants would be competing at and appeared to be taken aback by the negative response from the crowd.

The announcement appeared to make little sense, with Liddell having lost four of his last five fights and Ortiz winless in his four most recent trips to the Octagon.

What was perhaps more troubling was White’s assertions that it was fan demand that led to the Liddell-Ortiz pairing – which will presumably lead to a third fight between the two in mid-2010 – when backlash in the past 18 hours suggests otherwise.


It is not the first time that White has recently made claims that have been exaggerated or completely untrue, but his recent tendency to stretch the truth on frequent occasion has upset even his biggest supporters.

Fans, who feel that they are being lied to and treated as fools, have expressed anger or frustration with many of White’s comments, not the least of which being his frequent attacks on WAMMA Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko, who competes for the rival Strikeforce promotion.

While White has done great things for the sport in the past, his brash personality is beginning to catch up with him and dozens of recent comments have mocked White when he has been forced to hastily scramble to replace main events due to injury.

Karma does seem to have a way of rearing its head and some feel that White is merely facing the consequences for spending significant amounts of time insulting the competition while his own promotion struggles.


Mixed martial arts fans tend to become overdramatic when expressing their displeasure with events in the sport, which has led to dozens if not hundreds of recent forum posts suggesting that the UFC is fixing fights or that MMA is imminently dying.

While the idea of fight fixing is incredibly unlikely, the very insinuation that the sport is being tampered with, as some have claimed after the bizarre Slice vs Alexander bout last night, is extremely bad for the sport’s credibility.

It did not help matters that a Spike TV-backed promo for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling, featuring the well-known Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea, was showcased between fights.

This only added fuel to the fire of arguments from critics who feel that the sport is becoming too closely related to professional wrestling.


However, the primary source of discontent appears to centre around the perceived oversaturation of recent events, as both the UFC and Strikeforce have significantly increased the frequency of their cards.

With both promotions planning to run 20 or more shows in 2010, each would be wise to look closely at the past five months of MMA history to see the adverse effect that ill-timed injuries and “quantity over quality” cards can have.

While each UFC event since the historic UFC 100 card in July has featured at least two exciting and compelling matchups, including last night’s TUF 10 Finale, there is a growing argument that the UFC peaked at the UFC 100 event and has been on a downward slide since.

As with the issue of perceived fight tampering, whether or not the promotion is, in fact, on a downward slide is less relevant than the fact that such a stance is being taken in the first place.

UFC 100 was designed to further springboard the promotion into the mainstream of sports, and it did just that in many ways, but a poor economy, numerous injuries to top stars and a lack of compelling and meaningful fights – especially main events – has prevented the success from continuing.


Not to be neglected is the ongoing and very real issue of scoring and officiating problems, which has plagued a number of recent fights, including a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104.

However, in the wake of the tremendous backlash and outcry of support for Rua, who was arguably robbed of a rightful title victory ( scored the bout 49-46 for Rua), some fans turned their attention and frustrations in the wrong direction.

While UFC President Dana White does an excellent job of attracting negative attention with unprofessional conduct and constant (and often immature) attacks on promotional competitors, he has nothing to do with the appointment of referees or judges.

For that, the ire of the sport’s fans must be directed to athletic commissions, which, especially in the case of the embattled California State Athletic Commission, have been called into question in the past.


Despite Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer’s comments that downplay the ongoing problem with uneducated judges and inefficient referees, the evidence is plain as day on the screen as fans tune into their favourite MMA events.

Last night’s bout between rising light heavyweight star Jon “Bones” Jones and Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, wherein Jones was disqualified for illegal elbow strikes that did not appear to be the reason for Hamill’s inability to continue, further highlighted the need for rule changes.

For the first time, instant replay was used to determine the outcome of the bout, and much-maligned referee Steve Mazzagatti did make the only call that he could under the circumstances, but he was merely following a ruling the doesn’t make sense.


In the end, part of the reason why progress is often stifled is because discussions among fans online often dissolve into arguments between “casual fans” who may be new to the sport and long-time supporters of MMA.

Rather than working together to continue to grow the sport, the two (often vastly differing) fanbases tend to clash, which results in endless discussions of hypothetical fight scenarios and unnecessary insults towards the fighters who are stepping into the ring or cage for our entertainment.

When fans are becoming so frustrated with the direction of the UFC that they are turning to other promotions instead, or, even worse, turning to other sports (such as boxing) altogether, there are clearly problems in MMA that do need to be addressed.


Until promotions begin to truly listen to their fans rather than showcasing fights or events solely for their own personal interests, and until athletic commissions begin to accept the serious nature of the problems with the scoring/officiating system that is currently in place, we are merely making it easier for MMA’s detractors to try to tear down the sport.

As most fans would attest, mixed martial arts is the greatest sport in the world and it is about time that supporters of MMA have their voices heard before the ongoing controversy ruins what the last five years have accomplished.

  1. Excellent article you have written!

  2. Pretty good write up. It would be even better with a smidge less personal opinion (your stance on dana was very thinly veiled). Keep it up and keep improving.

  3. one thing that’s really getting to me with ufc these days is the commentary. its as though the commentators are there to build up the fight and the sport rather than a technical informative analysis of what’s happening .it doesn’t seem to be impartial. constantly trying to build up a fighter that has no chance, you’ll see what i mean come Dan hardy vs gsp. it’s the same repetitive slogans fight after fight after fight. if you’ve ever seen randy couture commentating on a fight he can actually predict what the fighters are trying to set up and even thinking. maybe some retired fighters should take over.

    also the lack of respect crowds have for the fighters is becoming a real pain. the booing cause they’re bored cause they’re inebriated and want to see a slug fest every single time. fighters forced to stand up as though that is more macho and entertaining. an educated crowd doesn’t boo. pandering to a moronic crowd is not going to help the growth of the sport

    . i watched ufc 1-5 then didn’t see it ’till ufc 40 or so great to see how the sport evolved. but i don’t know tito except as a crappy cowardly injured ass who loses every fight. now anyone who’s become a fan more recently surely thinks the same.

    another thing that is really bugging me is dana white disrespect for the fighters. that episode with jon finch that would have resulted in not only him but aka being banned from ufc forever. you can’t argue with dana for fear of his over reaction. power corrupts and all that. does he not realise we are fans of the fighters more than the sport.

    one last point i’d like to make is that up until recently i knew every fighter really well. i knew their styles, strengths, weaknesses, personality.i had followed their careers i could predict the out come of just about any two fighters. i don’t watch the ultimate fighter wish it would go away. it’s like american idol. to keep the analogy going , i respect bands/fighters who work their way up not the ones that win some stupid show and then are placed in the public eye as super stars cause simon cowell/ dana white says so. why is it? are we supposed to watch those redimentary fighters and dream we could do that? those ultimate fighters are so protected and given preferential treatment. it sickens me. i think the ufc should honestly build up the fighters. i guess that’s the point made above, as a fan i feel like i’m being lied to.

  4. […] Continues To Mount For The UFC Criticism Continues To Mount For The UFC | […]

  5. You have to understand there are two groups of fans in MMA: the casual and the hardcore. The Hardcore fans have been around since the old days, they are the ones that watched Pride, Pancrase, Pre-Dana UFC. They are the ones that watch Sengoku, Dream, K-1, and other promotions outside of the UFC and Strikeforce. They know the top 10 rankings and they keep their ear to the ground when it comes to MMA news, often knowing about fight changes before main events. The casual fans are the people who know the big names. The idiots in the crowd that drink beer and boo when the fight hits the ground. They don’t understand the ground game or any grappling, but just scream for knockouts and blood. They’re in it for the entertainment aspect of the show, not the sport aspect.

    The hardcore fans are pissed, they hate the rules as they are and have been asking for change for a long time now. We never asked for Ortiz-Griffin III. Hell we hardly asked for the second fight. We want to see Shogun and Lyoto on TUF. We want to see GSP and Jon Fitch fight for the title, not Dan Hardy. (Sure Hardy is a nice guy and is a good fighter but he is honestly not deserving of the title shot.)

    Professional Wrestling and MMA DO have a common history with one another and they shouldn’t forget their roots. Many early MMA organizations in Japan (such as Pancrase and RINGS) had many professional wrestlers in them. Catch Wrestling was one of the first styles to properly challenge Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and in the case of Kazushi Sakuraba, made him a complete anti-BJJ (Gracie BJJ in particular) fighter. Associating the UFC and TNA, while embarrassing, is not wrong. I’ve never worried about fight fixing. I’m more worried that the UFC is trying to force exciting fights when they know anything can happen. From exciting fights to downright bores.

  6. Mike, I agree with you that some fans have been very disrespectful towards fighters lately and that is a problem. Darrill Schoonover was subjected to taunting from the audience last night even though he is going off to serve his country in the military again in a few weeks. However, as you said, Dana doesn’t always treat his fighters with respect and fans may take a queue from him with their behaviour.

    BWoods, I completely agree. It’s very tough to merge together the mentality and perspectives of the “hardcore” fans (of which I am one) and the newer “casual” fans, just as it would be in most other sports with similar clashing ideals. I am not worried about fight fixing, etc., nor do I believe that any of that has taken place in the UFC, but the fact that there seems to be quite a few people who do (even if they are misguided) is most unfortunate.

  7. […] good MMA article (kind of long) Criticism Continues To Mount For The UFC | sorry about the link but its really hard for me to copy and paste with this computer. thoughts on […]

  8. […] Continues To Mount For The UFC Criticism Continues To Mount For The UFC | Following another lackluster and disappointing event, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its […]

  9. Excellent article–what confounds me to no end about the UFC and their fanbase is a variation on the ‘hardcore’/’casual fan’ dilemma. It may be drawn along those lines–its the Dana White ‘cult of personality’ that he knows better than anyone what we should be watching. I’m impressed that you haven’t had a comment yet suggesting that you’re a) jealous of Dana b) a plant for a rival promotion trying to bring down the house of Zuffa or c) secretly hate MMA. You do have one comment that reflects many fans lack of understanding that to a great extent Dana’s personality *is* the problem and not necessarily a reflection on what we think of him. To UFC fans, he’s as revered as the pope but in the mainstream media and business world he’s often considered a bigger clown than Vince McMahon. So, again, it becomes a question of whether you ‘preach to the choir’ or try to build the sport. My concern is that the UFC is taking a strategy of trying to maximize short term revenue when a better long term strategy would seek to develop and steward MMA into the legitimate sports world.

  10. I think that you are dead-on regarding the short-term plans, but that also applies to Strikeforce as well. At least to some extent. 2010 is going to be a very interesting year for MMA.

    Regarding comments, most of the feedback seems to be pretty positive, which I really appreciate, but there were two or three profanity-laced tirades that I deleted.

    You can’t please everybody. 😉

  11. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MMARising: Criticism Continues To Mount For The @UFC – #UFC #MMA…

  12. Youve deleted everything criticizing your arguements, of course the feedback is positive, you dont delete the shine jobs people post

  13. […] Karma does seem to have a way of rearing its head and some feel that White is merely facing the consequences for spending significant amounts of time insulting the competition while his own promotion struggles. He goes into detail about product oversaturation, judging and a variety of other issues. Very well done. Criticism continues to mount on the UFC @ MMA Rising […]

  14. Your entire arguement is “I think dana is brash, so the UFC must be doomed to a downward spiral of death and destruction”.

    Way too much personal opinion for an article listed in your “news” section. I guess you skipped the journalism class differentiating news from editorials.

    Hulk Hogan? It was a plug for something. Maybe you have missed the last 60 or so UFCs, but they get sponsors and they plug those sponsors. Movies, video games etc have all been featured. Shows on Spike have also been prominately featured in the Spike TV events in the past. Theyve done interviews with Spike TVs DEA show among others in the past.

    Dozens of forum posts? You can find “dozens” of forum posts on nearly any topic and representing nearly any vew if you search sherdog hard enough. The Sherdog forums are such a wasteland of uselessness that the site owner himself regularly disregards the forums on his own site as complete trash.

    Your arguements are completely empty and it is obvious you are simply a forum poster that had the time to put your own site up. Yay for you,, you have your 15 minutes of fame

  15. Let me sum that big wall of text up.

    “People on the internet tend to moan a lot”

    Anyone with a sense of logic who can use a keyboard would be able to counteract that blogpost full of points from those of who still enjoyed Saturday’s show.

  16. I disagree. I found the TUF 10 finale to be entertaining, as well as TUF 10 in general.

    I’d rather see Liddell v. Ortiz than current champs as coaches. That puts them on the shelf for 8 months. I’d like to see the champs fighting every 4 months if possible. I would have loved to see Dan Severn and Don Frye coach against Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman.

    Downward spiral since UFC 100? Hahaha, give me a break. Obviously events aren’t going to be as stacked as UFC 100, that was one of the most stacked in history. I’ve enjoyed most events.

  17. Vegas fans in general will boo anything. There is a reason Vegas events have by far the most comp’d tickets.

    I don’t think they are heading towards boxing. UFC is keeping weight classes in check, building up fighters towards a title shot, and having legit champions and fighters that people reckognize. Plus, boxing is usually boring, MMA is not.

  18. I don’t think that the live audience can hear those on camera interviews, so try again.

  19. Great article, except for the following excuse:

    “While UFC President Dana White does an excellent job of attracting negative attention with unprofessional conduct and constant (and often immature) attacks on promotional competitors, he has nothing to do with the appointment of referees or judges.

    For that, the ire of the sport’s fans must be directed to athletic commissions …”

    You fail to realize that Zuffa is the athletic commission. Please read this article which documents the connections, and, like yours, was also a top thread at

  20. Reako, I do not feel that the UFC is doomed to fail at all, but I do think that some changes are in order. The scoring and officiating systems need a complete overhaul. However, as I stated in the Sherdog threads that you’ve referenced, I believe that the massive amount of recent injuries is the predominant cause for the drop in card quality over the past few events.

    I also specifically said in the article that the TNA promo was a Sikpe TV-backed idea. It wasn’t the UFC’s idea to air it, but with some people freaking out recently about how the UFC is becoming pro wrestling, the timing wasn’t so good. The only comments that I removed were the ones all-out attacking me that didn’t even address anything that was written. This isn’t about me (or fame – I don’t care about that), but it is about improving the sport.

    Stu and mmablaster, I did not think that last night’s event was as bad as most other people appeared to following the show. However, the production issues, bizarre almost non-fight between Kimbo and Houston and unfortunate DQ (not Zuffa’s fault) resulted in a disappointing event.

    With regards to the Chuck/Tito situation, I agree with the idea of them being coaches on the show, especially because it means that other fighters won’t be tied up for many months, but I have zero interest in seeing Chuck vs Tito 3.

    Joe, Dana and Joe Rogan were using live mics that the crowd could hear for that announcement. You’re correct that the crowd normally cannot hear it, but you could hear Dana’s voice echoing in the background and the crowd did react to the announcement. Just not favourably.

    IVoIIIoVI, I am aware that that is the case for overseas events when the UFC travels to Europe, etc., but I’ll have to read through that to see all of what it entails. Thanks.

  21. […] Posted by Over77 Criticism Continues To Mount For The UFC | Following another lackluster and disappointing event, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its […]

  22. Robert Sargent –

    1- No the live crowd could not hear it. John Morgan from MMAjunkie confirmed (he was in the live crowd) that the only reason he even know about it before the event was over is because the press had information circulated specifically to them. The “house” did not know the announcement was happening. So you fail in this regard.

    2 – The scoring and officiating is not upto the UFC. Do you understand how the sport is operated? You must, you have your own web site about it (roll of eyes). Ok so maybe you dont so I will explain it too you. Unlike the NFL and other sports, the UFC does not regulate itself. Each state (42 of them that it is legalized in) has their athletic commission that regulates the sport (both boxing and MMA) These athletic commissions control how the event is scored, they pick the judges and the referees, not the UFC. All of that is completely controlled by the individual athletic commissions. So either you did not know this which is sad since you have a site about MMA, or you purposely were disengenious by putting state political issues in the lap of ZUFFA. Those issues effect every MMA org because they are all bound to the SAC’s.

    3 – None of the issues you stated are “ZUFFA’s fault”. They put 2 guys in the cage (kimbo and Houston) who are known for being sluggers with next to no ground game and they did not slug. It is no more the UFCs fault this happened then it is the NFLs fault if a game is boring and gives a 7-6 score.

    4 – The production issue I will give you. With the UFCs plans for more shows next year some being almost ontop of each other it appears they are using their Spike broadcasts to break in a “2nd team” as it were. This is the 2nd spike show this year that had production issues. *shrug*, it happens on live broadcasts sometimes. We have seen it in the NFL, NBA, MLB, award ceremonies, live news etc. You are being a bit nitpicky to point out something that every live event platform suffers from on occasion.

    5 – The DQ was far from disappointing. First of all it was an exciting action riddled fight upto that point, hardly disappoinging. It also was good because to all the MMA haters out there it showed them that this sport isnt mindless violence. It showed them that there are rules and they are enforced. It also showcased the first ever use of instant replay in MMA and it was utilized absolutely correctly. The only change they need to make to this is they need to immedately get to the broadcast crew that it is being reviewed. This was the first time they used it though, how many hiccups did the NFL go through before they finally got replay to work properly?

    You are gettign some positive reviews, from all the people that hate Dana white. Im seeing just as many negative comments on the various sites your article has made it too if not more. The reality is the MMA world even those that hang out on forums are not unified. There is no big rally against the UFC. There is but a smattering of voices that you are obviously apart of. You got some attention now, I suggest you use it to develope this site better and attempt to become a more credible source of information. Putting an editorial in your news section is not how you do this.

  23. Lots of people chiming in on this issue, love him or hate him, Dana White gets press and attention there’s no denying that.

    As for the lack of respect for fighters, specifically Schoonover, these guys are professionals, getting paid to fight, they owe it to the fans to at least be in shape and compete. Schoonover was way out of shape and it showed. I don’t really care where he was going after the fight, whether with the army or not, but he should’ve been pulled from the card after showing up to the weigh-in doing his Roy Nelson impression.

    I would submit that the majority of the problems in MMA right now stem from the number of events, the talent is spread too thin and the PPV’s don’t come across as an “event”, but feel like a cash grab.

    Great article Robert, keep up the good work, it would be a pretty boring place on the interwebs if we all just agreed with each other, right Reako?

  24. Steve –

    Disagreement is ok. Misrepresenting things as truth when they are not, and misrepresenting an editorial as news however are very poor judgement calls by the author here. We can all disagree, thats healthy. Just be truthful in your disagreements and the author unfortunately really was not.

  25. Reako, the article implicitly states that it is NOT the fault of the UFC or Dana White for the scoring issues. You’re arguing against something that I did not write. Please understand that portions of this (ditto the “fight fixing” issue) are from comments that people have made that have little or no merit.

    Also, the comment regarding the Jones/Hamill fight being a disappointment due to the DQ was because it took away from an otherwise extremely impressive performance from Jones. However, Jones has since stated that he is okay with the decision, so full respect to him for accepting his mistake. Mazzagatti made the only decision that he could, but the rule structure in that regard is poor and needs revision.

    I do agree with you that the display of rules and rule enforcement was good for the sport, though. Especially on a card where many of the viewers tuning in solely for the Kimbo vs Houston fight were likely very unfamiliar with MMA’s rules and guidelines.

  26. Reako

    I agree that news and editorial are two separate things, but this article reports what is happening regarding the UFC right now, true, he did put an editorial spin on it, but that is what makes it an interesting read. I suppose he could’ve just put out the facts in point form, but then you (or anyone else) probably wouldn’t have read it.

    The author was reporting news in the sense that these things are happening right now in the world of MMA, there are people bashing the UFC, truth. There are fans split into two camps, truth. Dana White walks a fine line between genius and buffoon, truth. There are some rule changes that need to be looked at, truth. Would you have rather seen an article that reads like that? Me neither, stop looking for points to disagree with just for the sake of disagreeing.

  27. What does “inefficient referees” mean? Do you mean incompetent? unresponsive? Not sure how a referee can be inefficient… Not criticizing, I’m a newbie.

  28. Joseph, it’s not necessarily a matter of incompetence, though there are some officials in the sport who would fall into that category. Fortunately, most of them only oversee smaller events and their impact is minimal.

    In the sport, fighter safety is paramount, but the referee must also be careful not to adversely affect a fight’s outcome by stopping it prematurely. The cases of UFC officials, specifically, making errors isn’t just a recent thing. The term inefficient applies both to the performances of a handful of referees and also the rule system that they are tasked to enforce.

    Referees need better training and a more clear set of guidelines to follow. The system right now isn’t terrible, but it’s also far from ideal.