Mookie Alexander: This Friday marks the 5 year anniversary of UFC 100, which stands to date as the biggest card the UFC has ever done and the most successful PPV in the sport's history.
You had Brock Lesnar and GSP on the same card, Dan Henderson's signature KO of Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher and Sexyama slugging it out, and Jon Fitch giving Paulo Thiago a Fitching. I've not even delved into the prelims, which as it turned out, harbored a future champion (Jon Jones) and multiple top 10 fighters including T.J. Grant, Dong Hyun Kim, and Jim Miller.
It was an unforgettable night for MMA fans, but what were some of your favorite moments out of UFC 100?
Karim Zidan: While that card (particularly in hindsight) was extraordinary, the thing I remember the most is Brock Lesnar's post-fight interview, where he denounced Bud Light because they "don't pay me nothing" and proclaimed his love for Coors Light. I also remember the scenes from the post-fight presser where Dana was absolutely livid and forced an apology out of Brock.
Basically, even at their finest hour, the UFC (and co.) still finds a way to screw it up.
Fraser Coffeen: Honestly, the thing that has most left an impression on me is from the prelims. I was one of those fans who stumbled across the UFC in a dusty video store back corner back in 1995 or so, and so that earliest generation of fighters still holds a very special place in my heart. The past few years have been rough for that group, but UFC 100 had a great retro moment.
What I most remember is Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, clearly old, clearly past his prime, coming off a rough 3rd round beatdown at the hands of Shogun stepping in there with Stephan Bonnar at a time when Bonnar was fading a bit but still respected. And somehow, someway, Coleman did what Coleman does - he took Bonnar down and hit that ground and pound. I remember a moment when Coleman postures up and you see that Bonnar has been busted open and I totally marked out. That was the end of the line for Coleman being successful in his MMA career, but what a great swansong.
Brent Brookhouse: I think my biggest memory is just the sense of importance. It's admittedly a little silly how much humans love round numbers, and it wasn't as though it was actually the 100th card in UFC history. But that big round number, the stacked card, the UFC treating it as a big deal...it all felt so incredibly special. I get that feeling so rarely now from the UFC, and it's almost never for an event as a whole, now it's more of a "this fight!" moment (like Machida/Weidman). That's likely a discussion for another time when we feel like talking about oversaturation for the hundredth time.
But that will always feel like one of those special nights that come along so rarely in the sports world.
Patrick Wyman: One of the things that gets missed in discussions of UFC 100 - really, the UFC's high-water mark as a PPV product and perhaps in general - is the extent to which it provided massive exposure of the sport to new fans, myself among them. I'd been peripherally aware of MMA for a while and had seen a few fights here and there, but the sheer enormity of the promotion for the event and Lesnar himself convinced me that this was something to which it was worth paying attention. It felt important, and it felt like the next big thing in a way that can't be measured in hindsight by PPV buys or prelim ratings or the number of great fighters who populated the card. It's the standard of comparison for all future events, and it would take something truly incredible to match. I'm not sure MMA ever will.
Stephie Daniels: Yep. UFC 100 was the pinnacle, and its lofty heights will likely never be achieved again. Sponsor money was probably the very best it could be at that time, and saw many fighters, even the prelims guys, take home excellent money. That was the also the year they unveiled the very first fan expo, and basically wiped out those other two fan expos that had been competing with each other the previous two years. The whole weekend was magical.
Anton Tabuena: Yup. It's one of those events where all the hype from the '100' milestone, the stacked line up, and all the promotion actually matched up and went in tandam with how awesome the fights itself really were. It was the anti-thesis of Zuffa's other milestone event in UFC 33.
The other guys in the staff already mentioned my favorite moments like a once in a generation cross-over star in Brock Lesnar putting on a performance of a lifetime both during and after the fight, along with Mark Coleman's incredible age defying performance. There's another interesting tidbit that stood out for me all these years though... the Buffer 360.
John Joe O'Regan: The UFC had been gathering quite significant momentum in the period preceding UFC 100 and the event celebrated that. The card carried huge names and giant hype (though it was presented in the UFC's usual low-cost, no-frills manner). Saturday night's fights sat atop a Fight Week platter of Fan Expo activities, meet n greets and training sessions.
Press attention in the UFC was running high at the time.There was a distinct feeling the UFC was finally about to penetrate the mainstream with all the confidence and swagger of a young Rocco Siffredi - I distinctly remember Dana White at the time fielding questions about the company's plans for a UFC 150 extravaganza, the assumption being that the next 49 shows would be rafter-packed festivals of success bathed in the golden glow of mainstream love.
The glow was there alright, but as it turned out it was fleeing. Looking back, UFC 100 was a landmark rather than a jumping off point. The scale of the festivities did draw new fans into the fold, many from the neighboring WWE enclosure, but within a month of UFC 100 taking place it was clear that ESPN, CBS Sports and the rest were not about to create specialist UFC departments or make space on the ticker-tape newcomer.
Nowadays the star power of the card affords it mythical status The only way Demetrious Johnson would have made it near the main event of UFC 100 was by riding Brock Lesnar to battle in the first of the UFC's "Master Blaster"-themed matches. it was a giant card for a giant moment in the UFC's history. Will we ever see its like again?
These days the talk has moved to international growth, being an asset for Fox Sports 1 and moving to a content-provider model. These are laudable things, and significant revenue streams for the UFC, but they feel distinctly second-prize when compared to the vision of an explosive ascendancy to world domination which briefly hovered over the sport during the summer of 2009.
Mike Riordan: I remember that a month or two before UFC 100 I was at a sports bar watching another, non-UFC sporting event (what event this could have been other than MMA in May or June, I can't remember), and on the wall in the hallway leading to the men's room was a giant UFC 100 promotional poster.
I remember stopping and staring at the poster, marvelling at the stackedness of the card. While standing there, multiple bar patrons happened by and went out of their way to mention to me just how excited they were about UFC 100. The bar was filled with fans of other, more mainstream sports, but they still felt the buzz surrounding UFC 100. I don't think any other UFC event since then has generated a fraction of the anticipation. It was like for once, MMA, my sport, mattered not just to MMA fans, but sports fans in general.
I just wish that would happen again.
Zane Simon: Well damn, I'd love to say I remember all the larger than life glow that came from the event, but I was probably stuffed away in some dingy office somewhere working a night shift. So, what really ended up being my biggest memory of the event itself, were the big fight moments. And, frankly, none were bigger than Hendo's KO of Michael Bisping. I'm probably the only person that came away from that season of TUF liking Bisping a lot, lot more than Dan Henderson. Something basic about Hendo's personality just rubs me the wrong way... But that's neither here nor there. Essentially, I really wanted to see Bisping win that fight. And the way Hendo annihilated him, going so far as to kiss his glove and dive in for one last totally unnecessary blow, will always stick with me as one of those gut-wrench emotional moments. Not in a bad way, but in a totally indelible one.
Iain Kidd: Even in Scotland UFC 100 was big. It was the first time I managed to collect a decent sized group of friends (5!) to watch a UFC event, since they tend to run to about 6am. I remember Akiyama - Belcher being the surprise hit of the night. I can actually remember more about the main card fights at UFC 100 than I can about the main card fights during UFC 175, which is weird. It really was the best MMA event ever held in the US. The crazy part is that the UFC had the roster to best it for a year or two afterward, but never put everything together. Instead we saw the start of the current strategy, where fights were spread out over more and more events. I doubt we'll ever see a supercard anything like this again. UFC 100 night also went down as the night we drew all over our friend who had the audacity to fall asleep halfway through the card. Apparently he went to his cousin's wedding the next day with a fake moustache, a drawn on mono-brow and wearing an artistic rendition of the one ring (he kind of resembled a hobbit). That seemed hilarious back when we were all in college.
Kyle McLachlan: As much as the card was stacked, nothing stands out as much as Hendo's savage sparking of Bisping, which remains an iconic sequence, and Lesnar turning Mir's mug to mush from half guard.
The Lesnar era is often dismissed as either a flash in the pan or a transitional era, but those were exciting times, and UFC 100 was the peak of that. Whilst the first Mir fight and Lesnars next fight against Carwin were arguably better bouts, there was so much excitement for UFC 100 and despite it being a card jam packed with talent and intrigue, it would be revisionist to claim the biggest draw wasn't the Lesnar-Mir rematch.
Of course, Lesnar going mental after the fight only adds to the chaotic excitement that was that night. The build-up, the fights, and the aftermath made up for an epic time (and that's an overused word but apt to describe UFC 100)
Iain Kidd is correct; there was a fair bit of buzz about the event even in the UK. It was the first event that made me subscribe to the channel that carried it at the time (I'd previously bought and traded VHS editions of the early cards, both legitimate and dodgy, as a pre-teen when they felt very taboo and underground) but aside from the odd Pride FC fight we got on Eurosport following the modern game wasn't all that easy.
UFC 100 made me want to pursue a more than casual interest in the sport. I came back for subsequent fights, and here I am today. So from a personal perspective it's the card that turned me from a casual fan to someone who needed to devour everything about MMA I possibly could, in the same way I'd been feasting on boxing for the decade before.
All in all a great card on paper that lived up to expectations.
Mookie: Georges St-Pierre's thorough destruction of Thiago Alves is, even in hindsight, the last time we ever saw GSP systematically destroy a high caliber of opponent (with apologies to Dan Hardy, whose post-GSP career pretty much proved he wasn't really a top 10 guy). No one had ever dominated Thiago Alves in such fashion in the UFC, and GSP made it look effortless even as he injured his groin and Greg Jackson suggested he hit him with the groin anyway.
From then on? Yes, he comfortably beat Hardy, Koscheck, and Shields before the knee injuries occurred, but the aura surrounding GSP's dominance without it being labeled as "dull", "boring", "lay-and-pray", "point fighting", what have you, had reached its peak.
Obviously the standout moment of the card beyond that for me was Henderson KOing Bisping. At least in Las Vegas, that was probably the loudest I've ever heard a crowd react to a knockout in an MMA fight. I don't know if it was the nationalism of USA vs. UK, the love of Dan Henderson, the audible crack of the H-Bomb landing, or a combination of the 3, but the instant roar made it feel like Henderson had just won a championship, much less settle a rivalry.
UFC 100 was a great show that is likely never to be matched based on the UFC's current downward trend on the PPV scale. Expanding a bit further, It was a great summer of 2009 for the UFC, as UFC 101 with Penn vs. Florian and Anderson clowning Griffin sold well, and while Couture vs. Nogueira at UFC 102 didn't sell particularly well, the main event was a hidden classic that fans absolutely loved.