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TGIF: A New Kind of Fantasy UFC

Anderson Silva

It is no question that fantasy sports has expanded its horizons over the past decade. It used to be just the big four: baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Today, you can go to the Yahoo! fantasy main page and find all kinds of oddball fantasy games. Fantasy NASCAR and fantasy golf have made their debuts in recent years. Granted, I haven’t actually partaken in any of those games because I don’t even like watching NASCAR or golf in real life, so making a game out of it has no appeal to me. If they start fantasy WNBA, then you won’t find me signing up there either.

The world of MMA has grown to gargantuan proportions over the past few years, and it is no wonder that the UFC has chosen to get in on the fantasy sports craze. On their official website, the UFC has a fantasy game. This doesn’t work like a baseball or football fantasy game, but rather like a pro sports pick ‘em. You create your account, join a league, and then for an upcoming UFC event, you pick the winners of the fight card.

“For each fight card, you will select the winner of the match, the type of victory the match will end in, the round the fight will end and the time in the round you think the match will end.”

The scoring system is as follows…

Winner = fifteen (15) points for each correct pick.
Winning Method = seven (7) points for each correct pick.
Round of Victory = five (5) points for each correct pick.
Minute of Victory = one (1) point for each correct pick.
Everything correct = fifteen (15) bonus points for each fight where you have chosen the correct winner, method, round and minute.

You don’t need to have everything correct in order to earn points. Let’s say that for the UFC 100 fight card, you chose Brock Lesnar to win the fight by TKO in round 3 at 2:00. The end result was actually Lesnar winning by TKO in round 2 at 1:48. You would get points for picking the correct winner (Lesnar) and winning method (TKO).

It is a good system, and best of all, the game goes on all year. I am not saying I have a “problem” with it, but I am saying that I would like it if there was a new version of fantasy UFC. If there was a way to make it more comparable to fantasy football, baseball, etc, then that would be an awesome game.

You know what I’m saying – have a live draft, free agent pool, player rankings…the works.

The Rules

Here is how I see my version of a fantasy UFC league going.

  • 10-12 teams
  • Each team has 10 roster spots. Must fill the five mandatory positions for each weight class (Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight). Then there are five UTIL spots.
  • Head-to-Head format, with winner of a matchup being the team who wins the majority of the categories.
  • Point categories: Wins, Losses, KO, TKO, Submission, Decision, Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, KO of the Night.
  • A “season” lasts a full year and starts in any month that a “League Commissioner” decides. After the conclusion of  a one year “season”, the league is over and the Commissioner may decide to renew the league with the same teams and rosters, or a whole new draft and setup can take place.
  • Playoff format is chosen by League Commissioner, with the League Championship taking place on the night of the last UFC event of a league’s calendar season.
  • To prevent “streaming”, owners will be allowed just one pickup/drop before a given UFC event (this would be adjustable in any league).

I think after the rules, there is really only one question on your minds.

Fighter Rankings

So who do you draft? UFC fans will have the best general knowledge of who to go for, but to the unfamiliar, you will just be going by whatever player rankings that would be available.

Although there have been several lists of the best fighters in the world, there have been no scenarios where a UFC fighter is ranked solely for a fantasy game. I guess I would be one of the first to do so. Gosh, I am so honored! So, hypothetically, if a game such as the one I am proposing was to ever come out, then here are the top-12 fighters you should be looking at on draft day.

1. Anderson Silva (Middleweight)

Silva would be the Albert Pujols/Adrian Peterson/Chris Paul of fantasy UFC.

The “Spider” is the current UFC middleweight champion and has all but destroyed everyone in his path. Silva (25-4) has won 11 fights in a row, including a UFC-record 10 straight. His last loss came almost four years ago, and he has finished all but one opponent in the UFC. Most recently, Silva handed former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin an embarrassing first round loss via KO at UFC 101.

Silva is a powerful Muay-Thai striker with 15 of his 25 wins coming by knockout. He is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the sport and could easily make a run in the light heavyweight division if he wanted to.

2. Georges St. Pierre (Welterweight)

GSP is arguably the most dominant welterweight in UFC history. Holding a record of 19-2, the current welterweight champion has cruised to six straight wins, with victories over former welterweight champion Matt Hughes, and current lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

In addition to his knockout power and submission skills, GSP is built to go the distance. Three of his last six wins have come by decision, with two decisions going five full championship rounds. His superb wrestling ability leads to his nearly unstoppable takedowns and it also means that GSP very rarely is taken off his feet.

Still young at age 28, St. Pierre will continue his dominance for years to come.

3. B.J. Penn (Lightweight)

The current lightweight champion took some flack a few years ago for not taking his fighting/conditioning seriously. This was brought on by losing two straight decisions to Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre.

With this motivation under him, Penn has gone on to win four of his last five matches, including winning the lightweight championship. Penn has defended the title twice, most recently at UFC 101 with a dominating performance over Kenny Florian.

Penn is only one of two fighters in UFC history to hold titles in two separate weight divisions (the other being Hall of Famer Randy Couture). Three of his last five wins are by submission, and he now has the stamina to go five rounds.

4.  Lyoto Machida (Light Heavyweight)

Machida has just come off a controversial win at UFC 104, but it was a win nonetheless. The victory helped Machida remain undefeated at a remarkable 16-0.

The “Dragon” is the current light heavyweight champion and his road to get there over the past year has included fighters Thiago Silva and his championship win over Rashad Evans. The most impressive part about those two victories was the fact that Machida handed those two fighters the only losses of their careers.

Machida’s unorthodox style of “Machida Karate” is something that most opposing fighters have never dealt with and can rarely train for. His defensive style allows him to wait for opposing fighters to come to him and make mistakes.

5. Brock Lesnar (Heavyweight)

He may only be 4-1, but you can’t deny the fact that he is by far the best heavyweight in the division.

Lesnar’s first loss came in his UFC debut against Frank Mir. Since then, Lesnar has won the heavyweight championship from Rany Couture and has even avenged his loss to Mir at UFC 100.

Lesnar is unbelievably agile for a 265 lb fighter, and his wrestling skills are well documented a he is a former Division I National Champion at the University of Minnesota. His KO power is staggering, especially when you consider that he had to have custom-fitting 4XL fighting gloves made for him.

Lesnar has received heavy criticism for his in-ring antics and unsportsmanlike behavior, especially after his win over Frank Mir at UFC 100, where he gave the audience the finger and denounced the event’s sponsor, Bud Light, in a post-match interview. However, you can’t argue his sheer size, power, and talent in the octagon.

6. Jon Fitch (Welterweight)

Fitch (20-3), has lost just one of his last 19 fights, and that was to Georges St. Pierre (went the distance), so I think we can cut him some slack.

A black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, Fitch has serious submission skills and ground game. 10 of Fitch’s 20 victories have come by decision, so a quick match is not something you will see very often.

7. Shane Carwin (Heavyweight)

The #1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s heavyweight title, Carwin is a scary 11-0 fighter, winning five of his last six matches by KO/TKO.

None of Carwin’s fights have even made out out of the first round, with his longest match in the UFC lasting only 1:31. His most recent win was against Jiu-Jitsu master Gabriel Gonzaga, but Carwin disposed of him by KO, 69 seconds into the fight.

The heavily anticipated title fight between Carwin and Lesnar will show the world who the best UFC heavyweight really is.

8. Rashad Evans (Light Heavyweight)

He may be cocky and full of himself, but Evans has talked the talk and walked the walk.

The winner of the season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Evans (13-1-1) has gone on to put on a clinic in the light heavyweight division. His lightning quick hands and great wrestling skill rarely allow him to be out of a dominant position. His KO over Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell showed us that he was for real.

Evans is a former light heavyweight champion, most recently losing the title to Lyoto Machida. Currently, he is a coach on season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, where his team was 7-1 in the preliminary bouts. This just shows that he has an incredible knowledge of the sport to match his in-ring ability.

9. Diego Sanchez (Lightweight)

Winner of the Middleweight division of season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Sanchez (21-2)  has moved down weight classes to the lightweight division.

Sanchez is 10-2 in the UFC with five wins by decision. Combined with his nine career wins by submission, Sanchez is someone you don’t want to fight on the ground.

His current four fight win streak includes Clay Guida and “Ultimate Fighter” winner Joe Stevenson. He is scheduled to fight B.J. Penn for the lightweight title at UFC 107.

10. Nate Marquardt (Middleweight)

The second best middleweight in the UFC, Marquardt (29-8) is a submission specialist with 15 submission victories in his MMA career. Recently, he has won three fights in a row by KO/TKO. His most recent win was against the undefeated Demian Meia at UFC 102 via a first round KO.

A dominating 7-2 in the UFC, Marquardt has the skill set to make any middleweight opponent tap.

11. Thiago Silva (Light Heavyweight)

A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Silva chooses to let his fists do the talking. An impressive 11 of his 14 wins have come by KO/TKO, and he only has one loss on his record. Showing resilience, Silva bounced back from his first career loss by dismantling Keith Jardine at UFC 102 by knocking him out in the first round.

Silva has dangerous KO power and you never see his ground defense too often because he is rarely on his back. He will have another title shot very soon.

12. Frank Mir (Heavyweight)

Mir is a rarity in the heavyweight division because he is mostly a submission fighter. Seeing that a lot of fighters in the division lack a good ground game, Mir has exploited this wekaness to the fullest.

A former interim heavyweight champion, Mir (12-4) has notched seven of his wins via submission and just two by KO, showing us that big men can make you tap.

Mir’s career victories have included notable names such as: Tank Abbott, Tim Sylvia, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and current champion Brock Lesnar.

Will This Game Ever Happen?

Unfortunately, my proposed approach to the UFC will most likely never see the light of day. The way I have it envisioned is radically different from any current fantasy game, and what scares people off most is what they don’t understand.

For the time being, I can always live out this dream in my mind, because let’s face it, this sounds like a really cool idea on paper. It’s OK, you can admit it.

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One comment for “TGIF: A New Kind of Fantasy UFC”

  1. TGIF: A New Kind of Fantasy UFC: It is no question that fantasy sports has expanded its horizons over the past decad… http://bit.ly/2ZR8RK

    Posted by Sports of Boston | November 7, 2009, 12:32 am

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