Right now in MMA Historical past: UFC 100 helps MMA hit new highs

(Editor’s observe: This story initially printed July 11, 2018.)

Once you look again at UFC 100 now, 9 years later, what appears so uncommon about it was not simply the scale and scope of the occasion – it’s that all of it occurred roughly precisely the way in which it was alleged to.

That’s not one thing we will say about each main occasion lately. Within the age of the “harm bug” and early morning visits from USADA collectors, UFC combat playing cards are very a lot topic to vary.

However on July 11, 2009, the UFC gave followers precisely what it had promised: an enormous occasion that felt like a celebration of the most effective the promotion and possibly even the whole sport needed to supply. Followers responded in sort, shopping for a reported 1.6 million pay-per-views, shattering earlier UFC data and nudging MMA viewership towards marks set by boxing mega-fights (through Twitter):


9 years in the past in the present day,

UFC 100 passed off on the Mandalay Bay Occasions Middle in Las Vegas, Nevada. This nonetheless stands as one of many greatest box-office occasions in UFC historical past. pic.twitter.com/hbUDJfvugk

— MMA Historical past Right now (@MMAHistoryToday) July 11, 2018

All this simply to commemorate a benchmark that was fully synthetic.

UFC 100 wasn’t the a hundredth occasion in UFC historical past. It wasn’t even the a hundredth pay-per-view, for the reason that early days of the UFC noticed some occasions recognized by quantity and others solely by identify, reminiscent of “Final Japan” or “Final Brazil.” (The eighth UFC occasion was even dubbed “Final Final,” which captured a sure essence of ’90s hyperbole, and likewise led to the thirteenth occasion, dubbed “Final Final 2.”)

The excellent news was, the timing of this occasion actually labored out. The UFC had come to treat early July as a good time for a giant occasion within the fiery Las Vegas desert, as vacationers flocked to city and different main sports activities had been totally on hiatus.

The UFC tried to capitalize on this by scheduling its first “fan expo” to coincide with UFC 100 that July, drawing someplace between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals to a standard corridor in Mandalay Bay for a mix commerce present and grappling event.

The timing labored out nicely for the fighters, too. Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, arguably the most important star within the sport on the time, had been initially slated for a rematch with interim champ Frank Mir at UFC 98 a couple of months earlier. Knee surgical procedure saved Mir from making that date, however it allowed the UFC to reschedule the heavyweight title combat for UFC 100, the place it served as the principle occasion.

Within the co-main, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, a fairly widespread fighter himself, returned to defend his title in opposition to knockout artist Thiago Alves. It marked the primary and final time {that a} title bout that includes St-Pierre wasn’t the principle occasion of a UFC PPV.

The remainder of the cardboard was sprinkled with numerous forms of goodies for longtime followers. On the principle card, Dan Henderson knocked out Michael Bisping to place a cap on their “Final Fighter” teaching rivalry. Henderson even admitted to including an additional pointless blow whereas Bisping was out chilly “simply to close him up.”

It was such an iconic second in Henderson’s profession, the lasting picture would function a sort of private brand for Henderson in later years (through Twitter):


9 years in the past in the present day,

Dan Henderson completed Michael Bisping with one of many biggest knockouts in UFC historical past pic.twitter.com/tYRMsCewpk

— MMA Historical past Right now (@MMAHistoryToday) July 11, 2018

Elsewhere on the cardboard, former DREAM and Okay-1 Hero’s standout Yoshihiro Akiyama made his UFC and North American debut with a split-decision win over Alan Belcher.

Jon Fitch grew to become one more AKA fighter to tackle Brazilian police commando Paulo Thiago (although not like the others, Fitch really beat him).

Within the remaining combat of the prelims, 44-year-old Mark Coleman received a ragged resolution over Stephan Bonnar for what would show to be the ultimate victory of his storied profession.

However the occasion wasn’t simply concerning the UFC’s previous or current. There was additionally a glance to the long run, as future mild heavyweight champ Jon Jones submitted Jake O’Brien on the prelims.

The opposite factor that made UFC 100 really feel momentous was that the UFC handled it as such. Efficiency bonuses for the occasion had been price $100,000 every, twice as a lot as they presently go for 9 years later. UFC President Dana White even mentioned he would BASE leap off Mandalay Bay if the occasion surpassed 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. (It did; he didn’t.)

In reality, the one actual detrimental for the UFC got here on the very finish, when Lesnar celebrated his TKO victory over Mir by vowing to drink a Coors Gentle – “that’s a Coors Gentle, as a result of Bud Gentle received’t pay me nothing” – and possibly even “get on high of” his spouse as nicely.

Bud Gentle, the UFC’s official beer sponsor, was reportedly displeased. There was no rapid phrase on how Lesnar’s spouse felt concerning the plan.

What followers would come to surprise within the years following this occasion was whether or not it represented a excessive water mark for MMA and the UFC. Whereas the PPV report set by UFC 100 would ultimately be barely edged out by Conor McGregor’s win over Nate Diaz at UFC 202, in some ways MMA appeared to be at a cultural excessive level throughout that summer time in 2009 when fighters like Lesnar and GSP had been on the peak of their powers.

UFC 200, by comparability, bought about half one million fewer PPV buys 5 years later. Though, in one other signal of the altering instances, that occasion additionally suffered from a last-minute change to the principle occasion, because of an out-of-competition USADA drug check that nabbed Jones simply earlier than he may rematch Daniel Cormier for the sunshine heavyweight title.

There’s one other factor nobody needed to fear about again at UFC 100. For higher or worse.

For extra on UFC 100, try the UFC Occasions part of the positioning.

“Right now in MMA Historical past” is an MMAjunkie collection created in affiliation with MMA Historical past Right now, the social media outlet devoted to reliving “a day by day journey by way of our sport’s historical past.”

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