Nate argues in a few posts below that in addition to Fedor Emelianenko and M-1, Dana White and the UFC also lost something last night. Namely, the ability to potentially promote some of, if not the greatest, heavyweight fights in MMA history. Perhaps even the greatest fights in MMA history.
That's true, but you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. While White and all of MMA fandom lost out on what could've been gigantic fights, the coffin closed on another lingering argument that simply wouldn't go away. It's now official: the UFC is the NFL of MMA. They now house the number one fighter in every single division (bantamweight and above) and solid majority of the rest of the top contenders in each division. That criteria itself was part of Nate's argument about why the UFC shouldn't be considered the NFL of MMA. With that T crossed and I dotted, the debate is over.
Moreover, one wonders if other organizations will even have the capability to ever produce another division leader (they certainly will not at heavyweight). It's conceivable the Japanese organizations, for all their floundering, could produce a fighter who holds the top spot in the lighter weight classes, but it's unlikely unless they demonstrate some kind of unheralded dominance. They'd have to string together a huge line of dominating wins against whatever competition can be cobbled together. And without access to the rest of the highly-ranked division housed Stateside, climbing the rankings ladder to the top spot is going to prove difficult.
Strikeforce's lightweight and middleweight divisions, such that they exist, could also potentially produce a top-flight division leader, but it's more likely that the ceiling on any fighter coming from their ranks will keep them below the top spot. Melendez is an exceptional, accomplished fighter, but there is more clamor for him to fight a fighter outside of Striekforce's ranks. If he does, that'll be the second fighter in a row he's faced that isn't part of a swap deal. And even if Meldendez were to defeat Bellator's Eddie Alvarez, in all likelihood his position in the lightweight division wouldn't improve.
Fedor provided Strikeforce with two key contributions. First, he took his status as the one number heavyweight fighter in MMA and gave Strikeforce's heavyweight division more credibility than it would have without his presence (although it also raised questions about the quality of competition). Two, it brought a certain celebrity or status to the entire Strikeforce operation. With Fedor's presence, Strikeforce's star shone a little brighter. His name on their roster muddled the picture about organizational supremacy, even if it was more generally obvious the UFC was the bigger name. In reality, Strikeforce and UFC operate under two very different models, but the side by side comparisons - made more possible by using Fedor as the political football - were inevitable. After last night's defeat, especially since it came so easily and to a man cut by the UFC (who is admittedly a very, very gifted fighter that I underrated), part of what Fedor brought to Strikeforce evaporated in the blink of an eye.
Make it official. Call CNN. Tell your friends. Give your mother a call. The UFC is the major leagues of MMA and there isn't any debate about it.
UPDATE: Let me make one key point not fleshed out here. While as of this moment the UFC is by far the dominant MMA league, I am not one to think that it will be this way for eternity. I certainly think that's true for the foreseeable future or as long as the current paradigm of fight promotion is in place, but it is highly, highly foolish to predict market forces cannot change the winds of fortune. Simply stated, we don't know what's going to happen in the future and predicting the UFC's dominance as we currently understand it is silly and the product of trying to crystallize a healthy imagination. I do not rule out circumstances shifting in dramatic ways to unseat the current power players, but I do rule that out happening within any sort of short time frame.