Alright, I spent the better part of an unproductive day listening to (reading) many BE commenters talk about the injustice of the UFCs recent, ruthless cuts. And while much of my reaction may have been to deliver a stayed, yet highly persuasive discourse on the vicissitudes of modern athletics as a business, I am nothing if not open minded. So I decided to bend my mind towards this particular problem: How to craft MMA as a sport that is kinder to athletes without resorting to a format dominated by tournaments?
Even with the briefest of overviews it is obvious, to any well informed reader, that MMA as a sporting format has the most in common with Golf and Tennis. They are sports that feature large "leagues" of athletes who compete against one another under a common umbrella organization. No one is ever cut from golf or tennis, as they are points based tournaments, players at the top either eventually retire, or fall far enough that they can no longer make the next bracket. The end of a career is as natural a process as the death of a noble elephant, succumbing to old age amongst the bones of his ancestors.
However, as I believe Bellator has shown as often as not, MMA is not a sport built for tournaments. It requires fighters to fight too often too close together, gives too much potential down time between tournaments, and often leaves champions, or unsuccessful challengers, on the shelf for months at a time. MMA can never be a tournament based sport, no more than say, a bear may learn to play the piano. Sure it could pound out a few bars, but it was never meant to carry the tune.
I have, however, arrived at a solution, which would provide the best of all worlds, and I call it
WAMMA GLAMMA (the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts). GLAMMA would be an overseeing/regulatory body, that would provide a baseline level for MMA. Four of the world's major fight promotions would be enlisted to make up the core of this body, the UFC, Bellator, M-1, and ONE FC. Only fighters registered with GLAMMA could be signed by these promotions, and these fighters would gain some minimal collective bargaining for their membership.
As GLAMMA promotions the UFC and it's compatriots would be required to hold 20 events per year between the months of February and November. During this time participatory organizations must crown a champion or interim champion in every division, no belts can remain empty.
At the end of each MMA calender year GLAMMA itself would host a two month tournament in which all title holders would be bracketed and face off over a series of events to crown the world GLAMMA champions. A title so bold, and powerful that even the strongest detractors would be forced to recognize the true greatness of the GLAMMA warrior.
Through this structure a fighter cut from one organization would find themselves a carefully monitored prospect for the other GLAMMA members looking to grab a still promising fighter on the cheap. It may not be the easiest idea to implement, but it's the only way forward I can see. I'm putting together a promotional package, which I will send to ZUFFA headquarters straightaway, lets hope they see the future as clearly as I do.