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The official UFC rankings and its questionable media panel

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There are questions about the status of half of the UFC’s sources for its official rankings

UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC updated its official rankings on Monday. At the bottom of the rankings page, the following is stated under “How Are Rankings Determined:”

Rankings were generated by a voting panel made up of media members. The media members were asked to vote for who they feel are the top fighters in the UFC by weight-class and pound-for-pound. A fighter is only eligible to be voted on if they are in active status in the UFC.

After that, the UFC lists 22 media outlets that contribute to the rankings. Bloody Elbow looked into those outlets. Below is what was found.

KHON: The Honolulu television station rarely posts about the UFC. The KHON’s website does not have any coverage, even results of the recent UFC pay-per-view. The most recent post it has on the biggest name in the sport in Conor McGregor, is an August 2019 post entitled, “Conor McGregor says he’s ‘interested’ in rematch with Hawaii’s UFC champ Max Holloway.”

Most, if not all, of KHON’s MMA coverage focuses on Hawaiian fighters.

  • Bursprak.se: The domain for this site is for sale. It has posted nothing on its Instagram or Twitter pages since July 2017.
  • FightNews: Strictly focused on boxing.
  • Gazeta Esportiva: Does not cover UFC with any regularity. A search found three Conor McGregor stories, two Anderson Silva pieces and one Khabib Nurmagomedov story since August.
  • Cherokee Scout: No UFC coverage in 2020.
  • Burbank Leader: No UFC coverage found via search.
  • KIOZ 105.3: The most recent UFC fight news found via search was a May conversation about Ronaldo Souza being pulled from UFC 249 after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Vladusport.com: The domain for this site is for sale. The most recent tweet from this site is from September 2013.
  • My MMA News: Has withdrawn from the rankings team, but remains listed.
  • BoxeoMundial: Does not seem to cover UFC, focused on boxing and Brave CF.
  • Inside Fighting Radio: Domain is for sale. Most recent Facebook post is from July.

Of the 22 sites listed in the media pool, half seem to be questionable sources. This is an immense problem since the UFC can use the rankings in negotiations to justify fight bookings and fighter pay. What makes things worse is the UFC no longer posts the votes from each source. In short, there is zero transparency for the official UFC rankings.

If the UFC wants to use the media as a source of its rankings it needs to be more transparent. The promotion needs to remove any source that is no longer offering rankings and better vet the sources that submit rankings. The UFC also needs to make sure those who are interested can search the rankings of each source who has submitted rankings.

The fans, some media and some UFC fighters already think the UFC’s rankings are questionable, the lack of transparency and the unknown status of the sources listed above only add to the questions about the veracity of the official UFC rankings.

*Bloody Elbow reached out to the UFC concerning the media sources for its rankings and the lack of transparency in the rankings. The UFC did not reply before publication.