The official UFC rankings, compiled weekly by a panel of members of the combat sports media, are listed on UFC.com and generally used to promote high-level fights between top-ranked athletes, such as current UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and UFC featherweight titleholder Alex Volkanovski.
The UFC has gone to great lengths to sell the pound-for-pound ranking in the build-up to UFC 284 because Volkanovski is ranked No. 1 in the world and Makhachev is ranked one spot behind him at No. 2. But when “The Great” was defeated by the star of Dagestan in Perth, their positions remained the same.
Which led to another round of talk about social media rankings.
So who makes up the UFC ranking panel? You can expect to see some of the biggest names in MMA media among the attendees, like MMA Fighting and MMA Junkie, to name a few. Instead, you’ll find obscure outlets like “Cherokee Scout” and “Top Turtle Podcast,” among others.
Here’s the full list, straight from UFC.com:
KHON Honolulu, MMA Oddsbreaker, CFMU 93.3, Bursprak.se, FightNews, Fight Network, Gazeta Esportiva, Cherokee Scout, Burbank Leader, MMA Weekly, KIOZ 105.3, Vladusport.com, Wrestling Observer, Top Turtle Podcast, MMA Fight Coverage, BoxeoMundial, Kimura.se, MMA Soldier, MMA NYTT, Blood & Sweat, Inside Fighting Radio.
This is where things get troubling.
Bursprak.se is not a functional website. Additionally, Wrestling Observer, a highly respected destination for professional wrestling and combat sports news and views, is included in the “official” ratings panel. But the names behind the outlet, Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez, deny taking part in the weekly vote.
This begs the question of how many more phantom outlets come from the recurring count?
The UFC has some explaining to do.
“For fun, I’ve scoured every week of the UFC’s official P4P leaderboard since its debut in 2013,” noted content creator Tommy Toe Hold wrote. Twitter. “I counted 65 times that P4P Top 10 fighters swapped positions even though neither fighter had a fight.”
This happens regularly in all weight classes. Usually, fighters who change positions without competition are victims of the collection process. If an outlet does not submit their ranking on time or are not otherwise counted during a particular week, a fighter loses enough votes to affect their Top 15 ranking.
Ryan Spann just tied with Volkan Oezdemir for no particular reason.
It’s probably not a good sign when UFC President Dana White trashes his own rankings or blames the “crazy” media – which his company has hand-picked – for constructing these confusing lists. It’s also worth noting that most UFC fighters hate official rankings, even though sometimes they’re just sour grapes for getting snubbed.
Either way, it’s time for a complete overhaul of the system…or a complete abolition.
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