Just like how the NFL, NBA, and even WWE have their own version of a Hall of Fame, so does the UFC. Introduced back in 2003, the very first inductees were Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie. Eventually, others would join the UFC Hall of Fame including Dan Severn, Randy Couture, Matt Hughs, and Tito Ortiz.
The UFC Hall of Fame was a novel approach to honoring those who were a part of UFC, but it was kind of simplistic. Therefore, UFC has announced a major overhaul for the UFC Hall of Fame, which will include four wings, a new induction system, and a possible location.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the announcement for the UFC Hall of Fame overhaul came on Tuesday, May 7, 2015. As mentioned earlier, there will be three major changes with the overhaul, starting with four wings for inductees. Prior to this, all were just thrown together, either they be past fighters, contributors, or whatever else. The four wings are as follows.
- Modern Era Wing: All honored fighters who made their pro debut after November 17, 2000 or before UFC 28 will go to this branch. This was when the unified rules were first implemented.
- Pioneer Era Wing: All honored fighters who made their pro debut before November 17, 2000 or before UFC 28 will go to this branch. Prior to the unified rules, UFC was more aggressive with certain allowances. Even low blows were allowed to an extent.
- Contributors Wing: Individuals who are honored in this ring are those who have provided and contributed to UFC outside of fighting. Referees, judges, trainers, commissioners, announcers, and promoters qualify for this wing.
- Fight Wing: Doesn’t honor individuals, but the greatest fights UFC has ever had. They are recorded and contained for posterity. Phenomenal fights, like Maurico “Shogun” Rua vs. Dan Henderson I bout at UFC 139 back in 2011, are eligible.
The current members of the UFC Hall of Fame will be retroactively divided up among three of the four wings (there are no fights in it yet). However, for future inductees, there will be a change to the induction process and possibly a location for said UFC Hall of Fame, as reported by Bleacher Report. Prior to the overhaul, all inductees were chosen almost exclusively by UFC president Dana White. They were also inducted sporadically. Now, there will be a panel to decide on who will be inducted with Dana White leading the panel. Not only that, the induction process will now be an annual event. Finally, the UFC Hall of Fame is reportedly having a building in development to house it. However, no specific location was announced.
Now that the UFC Hall of Fame is overhauling itself, fans are interested to see how everything comes together. Also, there is talk among the MMA community on what UFC will do with certain situations and topics pertaining to the UFC Hall of Fame such as known performance-enhancing drug users (Cristiane Justino), fighters – current and former – with records (Jon Jones), and non-UFC contributors and supporters (The Undertaker).
[Image via UFC]