I’ve been a college football fan much longer than I’ve been a follower of mixed martial arts.
While college football has gone through several stages of “rankings” and “systems” to determine its national champion, the UFC has taken a different approach. Heck, all of combat sports have, including boxing.
But when the UFC decided to start doing “official” rankings by bringing in members of the media, well, that changed the game a bit.
UFC president Dana White and company quickly rescinded a decision to use the rankings as a guideline for handing out money through the Reebok deal. But when they did that, they also made sure to mention how the rankings were just a “number,” and not the be-all-end-all factor in determining the actual next title contender.
This all ties back to college football and networks like ESPN, FOX and others.
Preseason college football polls are about as useless a thing going right now. It’s a base used when looking at who has what coming back, what their schedule looks like and how they might end up.
But, when you look ahead to Saturday’s games, seeing a No. 1, or No. 2 or even No. 25 next to a team makes them a more attractive draw to the viewers. FOX loves showcasing what UFC fighters are ranked even though it means very little.
Ohio State, the defending national champions, were not atop the preseason rankings. Heck, it took them several weeks and several upsets by other teams just to make the final four and win the first-ever playoff.
Now we come to MMA and the news that Holly Holm – not No. 1 contender Miesha Tate or No. 4 Amanda Nunes – will take on champion Ronda Rousey next.
Because that’s what the UFC has decided.
Thankfully, with the creation of the retired BCS, college football did away with “back-door” politics when it came to deciding who would be playing for the national championship.
Are there “back-door” politics in the UFC? Of course. It’s a business run by humans and not computers. Several factors go into deciding who will face who for the title, or No. 1 contender spot or just your average match.
Currently, Holm is ranked ninth in the bantamweight division. But, her resume outside of MMA puts her in a class by herself. That, and the fact that she is a known name in a group of mostly unknowns, is why she’s fighting for the title and not someone like Nunes.
The people running the UFC are much smarter than myself and they know what they are doing.
Was T.J. Dillashaw the No. 1 contender when he fought Renan Barao for the title? Nope.
Timing plays a large factor in all of these decisions and we on the outside do not know what went into all of the makings of Rousey vs. Holm.