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WON MMA Hall of Fame Inductees

By Luke | September 30, 2006

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By Luke Nicholson

In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it was announced that the newest inductees into the newsletter’s MMA Hall of Fame are Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Bas Rutten and Frank Shamrock.

The first two names I have absolutely no problem with. Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Liddell are both Hall of Famer material. The argument against Wanderlei and Chuck is that they’re still active fighters, and that future performance could change how their perceived, or their standing amongst their peers. I think its safe right now to induct both men, based on the credentials both have already achieved.

Chuck Liddell is the UFC’s top draw during their most successful period in history. He’s their Light Heavyweight Champion, and has had a very successful run inside the octagon. With wins over such fighters as Murilo Bustamante, Kevin Randleman, Randy Couture, Renato Sobral, and Alistair Overeem, Tito Ortiz, and Vitor Belfort, Chuck’s list of victims reads like an all-star cast of established MMA veterans. Chuck’s win-loss record is an impressive 18-3.

Wanderlei Silva who went undefeated for over four years, including a Middleweight Grand Prix Championship, and the reigning PRIDE Middleweight Champ, deserves to be inducted. He is also the most popular foreign fighter in PRIDE right now, and an important drawing card for a company that lost Kazushi Sakuraba earlier this year. Wanderlei’s biggest career wins came against MMA Legend, and Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba back at PRIDE 13, and then at PRIDE 17. Those two fights along with his 1st round KO of Sakuraba in the 2003 MW GP make up one of the biggest drawing money feuds ever.

Frank Shamrock was a UFC Middleweight Champion, and a incredibly gifted fighter, but I question whether he had the longevity to be considered a Hall of Famer. He faught for UFC for a few years, and then after a spat with new ownership (Zuffa, at that time) he left, and hasn’t faught much since.

The argument for Frank Shamrock is that he was a pioneer who changed the game. Along with Maurice Smith and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, they made up the Alliance Fight Team. Frank Shamrock was one of the first athletes to cross-train in various disciplines, and he led the new wave of hybrid fighters you see competing in MMA in 2006. Frank’s most high-profile match was at UFC 22 against Tito Ortiz. A great match thats still talked about today, for the impact it had on Tito’s career, as he learned a valuable lesson about cardio training.

Bas Rutten is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, and King of Pancrase, not to mention that along with Stephen Quadros, and now Mauro Ranallo, he was the voice of PRIDE’s North American broadcasts until he left the company earlier this year. Bas Rutten’s devastating strikes and superstar charisma made him a star in every promotion he worked for. Fight fans often remember Bas Rutten’s war with Kevin Randleman for the UFC Heavyweight Title as one of the best matches ever seen in UFC to that point. I think Bas Rutten deserves to be inducted based on his in-ring and out-of-ring performances over the past decade. Bas Rutten, made an unexpected return to fighting this summer for the fledgling WFA promotion, where he faught Ruben Villarreal, who he stopped in the first round with leg kicks.

Congratulations to all four inductees. Every one deserves to be congratulated for their contributions, and achievements to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Topics: All Topics, Luke Nicholson, MMA | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “WON MMA Hall of Fame Inductees”

  1. Tomer says:

    Personally, I think the entire process of having an MMA HOF about 13 years into its ‘official’ history (not factoring in the old SHOOTO & Shoot Boxing events and all the sporadic Vale Tudo challenges from before then) is a little too fast. After all, one could wait 30-40 years to allow a few generations of fighters and promoters/trainers/non-fighters to develop their careers and retire (I still think no 5 year retirement rule for fighters is iffy) and to allow a good amount of time to reflect on the founding generations and their place historical in the sport.

    As it is, it looks like there are 5 or 6 fighters on next year’s ballot and 4 or 5 promoters/historical figures on the ballot. Pretty shallow pool of candidates, IMO, and given the list of future candidates, it’s not like the candidate pool for fighters is going to grow significantly over the next few years to try and make a competitive pool. I believe the lack of quality candidates on the ballot is validation of my belief that the gun was jumped early on this HOF. It just wasn’t planned out very well, as far as I can tell.

  2. HijoDelOso says:

    I understand Meltzers criteria but it just feels early for putting in Silva and Chxck. Rutten is fine. Frank is overhyped for a guy who rarely fights. As for waiting a few more years we have to consider what the mma landscape will be in 5 or 10 years. Will Pride still exist? Will mma in the U.S. have proven to be a fad and the UFC a distant memory? Meltzer takes a world approach to the HOF while the UFC is strictly in-house. If they want to start dipping the early guys in Bronze and sticking a plaque in their hand, its ok with me.

  3. Tomer says:

    At the same time, however, virtually every sport had changing landscapes with different leagues/rules/etc. throughout their history. No one forgot how great John L. Sullivan was as the last of the Bareknuckle-era Boxing champions when he got put into the IBHOF in 1990, about 100 years after he lost his last fight to ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett. Unless you are saying that the fans of MMA are so ignorant of their own product and would completely be unable to remember the history of the sport just like Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Football, etc. history has been preserved over the last 100 years (longer for Boxing) by their fans and historians?

    To me, it looks like Meltzer is just trying to get another gimmick to sell more issues of his newsletter as there is virtually no logical reason as to why a HOF should be started 13 years into its history, in ANY sport.

  4. fanman says:

    Frank has no business in there but I like the other three. If you are counting current fighters, no way can Matt Hughes or Fedor Emelianenko not be on the list. Royce Gracie, of course, belongs.

  5. Tomer says:

    Royce Gracie got put into the inaugural 2005 class with Ken Shamrock, Kazushi Sakuraba & Randy Couture. Also, Matt Hughes becomes eligible on 2008 and Fedor becomes eligible on 2010 (amongst other candidates to become eligible; only Tito Ortiz is the new candidate for 2007, however).


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