“It’s easy to assume that MMA always has something going on because it has no proper offseason. Most of the time, that’s basically correct; there are few weekends when the Ultimate Fighting Championship doesn’t have an event, and when those doldrums roll through, it’s a near-certainty that Bellator MMA, the World Series of Fighting or someone else will take advantage of the open space.
Maybe you watched Alexander Shlemenko wilt Kendall Grove at Bellator 162 this weekend, or maybe you watched Nieky Holzken record his 12th straight victory at Glory 34. If you were lucky, you caught some of the bizarre, awesome moat grappling at Ganryujima 5. Either way, the big news of the week was outside of cages, rings and circular moats. A major component of the headline news of the combat sports world was the ongoing layoffs of UFC executives and front office folk.
The layoffs have mostly affected the UFC’s international presence, which makes sense. Though the UFC has long clung to its description as “the fastest growing sport in the world,” it has never been the international phenomenon it has tried to be. In the history of the sport, there have been 67 different divisional champions. This includes interim champions but does not count the same people who have separate reigns — Matt Hughes, for example, only counts once, even though he had two different stints as the welterweight champion. Of those 67 champions, 48 have been American. The rest have come from Brazil (12), Canada (two), and various European countries (five). That’s hardly a picture of an internationally competitive sport…”