I won't bore you with the details of the complicated mathematical formulas that I used to calculate my percentages. I will just say that it involved a Ouija board, and abacus, and copious amounts of Jim Beam and crystal meth.
#1: Diaz vs. St. Pierre and Ubereem vs. whoever the HW champion is at the time.
Chance of happening- 21% that one or the other happens.
Diaz/St Pierre is a long shot, especially with Nick's rumblings of boxing over MMA and Caesar Gracie's recent hints that a UFC contract was essentially turned down. Even if Diaz hits the Octagon, the chances of him getting positionally controlled for three rounds by the gatekeepers of the division probably rule out anything other than an immediate title shot due to a strikeforce/UFC title unification bout. Who knows, maybe Diaz and his entertaining and extremely active sub game has progressed far enough to pick up some quick wins when he is put on his back, but I am not holding my breath. This fight is also immediately in the toilet if the Silva/St. Pierre superfight materializes, If St. Pierre is serious about only doing it if it meant a legitimate move to 185.
Overeem is more likely, but not anything I would bet the house on. Contractual negotiations would test the UFC's policies regarding their fighters fighting places other than the UFC. He is extremely unlikely to give up K-1. Sure, they were going to let Fedor have sambo, but does Overeem have the negotiating power that Emelianenko's name (and those M1 leeches) gave him? I doubt it. If Overeem wins the HW GP the demand for him in the UFC among more casual fans improves his value and bargaining position, but the UFC is going to want 3 fights a year out of him, and consistency in MMA schedule has not been Overeem's forte over the last couple of years.
Diaz vs. St. Pierre as a five rounder is a fight I have wanted to see since like 2005, before Georges had even won the strap, but had to watch in angst as Diaz got wrestled and positionally decisioned and couldn't manage to put together enough consecutive wins to make the fight feasible (and then Diaz leaving the UFC right after St. Pierre won the title from Hughes). I have occasionally brought this matchup up over the years on various forums and without fail got shot down with derision. Don't get me wrong, I do not especially expect Diaz to win this fight (St Pierre being the best example of the archetype of fighter that gives Diaz fits) but I still want to see this fight for the same reasons I always have, as the ultimate test for the toughest SOB in MMA. Can St. Pierre break Diaz? Finish him? (Who has, legitimately?) Can Diaz's constantly moving and active sub game scare Georges enough after a few rounds to make him stand with him? How will the 2011 version of Diaz handle the strength and wrestling of St. Pierre? I love this fight on paper, and sometimes weep softly into my pillow at night at the thought that I will not likely ever see it.
Ubereem vs. Velasquez (Or anybody in the top three UFC HW division for that matter) does not need any extrapolation at all. Alistair is the most dangerous striker on the planet right now, without needing qualification or caveat.I want to see him fight the best MMA heavyweights in the world, and so do you.
#2: Some semblance of coherent, intelligent MMA judging.
Chance of happening: 32%.
Perhaps I am being much too optimistic, but I am really pulling for this to be the year that fundamental changes are made to the process of appointing and training judges in this sport. With the volume of widely ridiculed decisions in the past two years, the commissions have finally publicly made statements feebly defending themselves. This is a huge step in the right direction. With everybody in the major MMA media and those in the forefront of the sport like Rogan and DW lambasting the current system, I actually have a good feeling that in the next year or so we will see some concrete steps to correcting this issue.
The current judging system is almost a complete crap shoot. Decisions come down almost every single event that boggle the mind. To us, the fans, the fact that we are still seeing this crap after all these years is extremely irritating. To the fighters, whose careers can completely change with every win and loss (and whose purses are directly affected), this just shows a incredible amount of disrespect for what they do and how hard they train. This isn't rocket science. After this many years even Cecil Peoples and Abe Bellardo should be great judges just through osmosis. Hiding behind bureaucratic process and tradition is no longer an acceptable answer for the continued incompetence routinely displayed from judges appointed by the AC's.
#3: Knees to to head of a grounded opponent.
Chance of happening: .017% And I am pretty sure I am being overly generous.
Lets face it, this or any other rule changes (12 to 6, anyone?) are not going to happen while MMA is still not sanctioned everywhere in North America. And when it is, the bureaucracy of trying to implement rule changes over so many different athletic commission means that this is a total pipe dream. But its MY dream, and I am going to cling to it despite common sense dictating otherwise.
Besides the old school part of me that always wants to give fighters more tools to finish fights rather than less, my desire to see this stems from watching all too many pathetic fighters shooting lazy single legs and humping them for 15 minutes en route to unanimous decisions. The first time one of these clowns got their jaws kneed into press row would serve glorious notice that skill and timing was now needed in order to wrestle out a decision. Every time I see the "gamesmanship" of a fighter keeping a knee and hand on the ground to prevent himself from having to pay for a serious miscalculation, a part of my soul dies. As another benefit, wrestlers would now be able to finish a lot more fights from top control, which would help to ease some of the distaste casual fans have for wrestlers. Jon Fitch might also finish a fight and become the top PPV draw in UFC history. Maybe.
#4: Fedor having a career resurgence at 205
Chance of happening: 42% of Fedor deciding to move down, 83% of the move giving him prolonged relevance in the upper echelon of the sport, and 92.6% that M1 screws everything up.
I believe that the chance of Fedor actually going down to 205 is completely dependent on his drive to even keep fighting. If he still has the hunger, I imagine we will see Fedor at LHW within 12 months time. Fedor at 205 could be an absolute nightmare, even in his current somewhat diminished (aura at the least) state. The biggest problem to Emelianenko retaining any relevance is his association with M1. With the UFC's acquisition of Strikeforce, any negotiation/renegotiation that hits the table is not going to be as liberal as it was when it was all Coker's show. Dana will never co promote and already has residual resentment with M1. I think that Dana would rather see the end of Fedor's career relevance rather than put up with one iota of M1's notoriously difficult negotiations. If M1 is smart enough to not attempt and prematurely re-negotiate his Strikeforce contract, we will undoubtedly see Fedor fulfill his remaining fights. After that he may be effectively forced to retire.
Fedor is the greatest heavyweight in MMA's (albeit short) history. A humble, polite and generous human being, it would be nice for him to get some North American stardom and recognition in the twilight of his career. He has made it clear that retirement is in his future. A belt around his waist when he retired would make a great bookend to an amazing career. Seeing a slowed down Fedor getting smothered and beaten up by larger opponents the caliber of Bigfoot Silva would not.
#5: A restructuring of the power balance in the relationship between Zuffa and SPIKE.
Chance of happening: 39.5%
With the continued growth of the UFC brand, global expansion, deal with VERSUS, and a great demographic, SPIKE has needed the UFC more than the UFC needs them for several years now. Fight fans will follow the UFC whatever cable channel (or, wishful thinking, network!) they end up on.
There is no really practical reason that I desperately want this to happen. But everything except the UFC that is on SPIKE is the most consistently retarded and embarrassing programming on television, which is saying a lot in this reality TV age. The vague insinuation that I fit into the target audience for this shit just makes me feel uneasy and weirdly shameful of my love of the sport. Everytime I hear Goldberg have to shill Blue Mountain State or fucking COAL I throw up in my mouth a little. SPIKE should be praying to their idiot pagan frat boy gods everyday for the UFC's continued business relationship. At this point, association with the mouth-breathing programming on spike is detrimental to the UFC's brand if they want to continue to market MMA as a legitimate sport with educated and well spoken participants. There is no reason for the UFC to have to push SPIKE programming during their broadcasts for the "honor" of being on their network. This ain't 2005 anymore.
#6: A softening of Dana White's imperialist business practices.
Chance of happening: 62% (in one form or another)
With the combined factors of 10% ownership by Flash Entertainment, the increased role of Lorenzo Fertitta, and the continued goal of growth and international expansion, I think that increased pressure might put a little bit more love into Dana's icy heart.
Look, I love Dana white. Even the most hardened anti-zuffa zealot has got to admit that he is entertaining. Without his regular faux pas, his wonderfully un-corporate language and aesthetic, and lack of censoring between brain and mouth, MMA as we know it would be a much more dreary place. But in the interest of continued acceptance, mainstream coverage, and growth of the sport, Dana is going to have to give a few inches here and there. If the UFC continues the way it has so far, there will absolutely be a growth bottleneck at some point due to a combination of White's public persona and treatment of the media, among other things. I am not saying that this point will even be a measurable one, or that the sky isn't the limit for MMA and the UFC in particular. But major sports media outlets used to being given a certain amount of profesional courtesy and respect will not take well to White's heavy handed draconian media relationship. This will absolutely affect the speed at which MMA/UFC finds itself absorbed into mainstream sports culture, in the US in particular.
As well, any practices that hurt the fighters that are the backbone of this sport leaves a bad taste in my mouth (The sponsorship "tribute" to the UFC coffers, for example). While things like this are not exactly unusual business practices, with Zuffa being essentially the only realistic option for top tier fighters anymore, the only thing stopping MMA from becoming a feudal enterprise is Dana's loyalty and generosity. Undisclosed backstage bonuses, FOTN/Submission/Knockout bonuses and PPV cuts prove that Dana can be a generous baldfather. But Dana, lets make sure that generosity and altruism extends to fighters on the undercard too.