Even though the sport of mixed martial arts is as popular as it’s ever been, it is still extremely young and has a lot of growing to do. There is a laundry list of changes going on in the MMA rulebook every year and there will continue to be changes until the powers that be find the correct formula to help move this sport in the right direction.
Everything from the way fighters approach their weight cut on fight week, all the way down to how UFC’s rankings are decided by emotional media members is in a constant state of evolution. Unfortunately, fighter Tyron Woodley and media member Justin Mayer saw a gross clash after UFC 192 was all said and done.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency is trying their best to help clean mixed martial arts and has partnered up with the UFC in order to rid PEDs from the octagon. One of their first major rule changes was to ban IV-bags as a method of rehydration for fighters after weigh-ins. While it’s unknown whether or not this rule change played a factor in Johny Hendricks’ injury that forced him to miss weight and ultimately pull out of UFC 192, it is worth mentioning two fighters missed weight for the event at a combined twenty-four pounds (Johny Hendricks with 20 lbs. and Francisco Trevino with 4 lbs.).
As a result of this, Tyron Woodley was left without an opponent for his title eliminator co main-event spot. Woodley believes he should not be indirectly punished by having to face Hendricks somewhere down the line again; Woodley made weight and stated a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship should be next for him.
Woodley, who is ranked third in his division, is expected to be bumped up in rankings after Hendricks’ injury forced him out of the fight. Justin Mayer, member of the media and part of the UFC ranking committee, did not like the idea of Woodley moving up in rankings after UFC 192 and publicly mentioned he would do anything in his power to keep him ranked third. Mayer then continued to berate the UFC welterweight, telling him he would lose to Rory MacDonald, Matt Brown, and Carlos Condit. He finished with, “You should fight, not cry”.
Well, it’s time for a MMA news source owned by a fighter to go off on you, Justin Mayer.
Tyron Woodley put in months of work, sparring, I’m sure tens of thousands of dollars toward this fight and trained his whole career to earn a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship. Without fighters like Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman dedicating their lives to the octagon, you would not be in the seat of “power” you are in today.
As a member of the UFC’s official ranking committee, you do in fact have the power and the right to decide where a fighter is ranked coming off a pay-per-view. However, your public bashing of Woodley and you stating your opinion of thinking who he can and can’t beat is not only unprofessional, but it tarnishes your rankings and makes the process you take part in look corrupt. There are several members of the committee who are legitimate and professional in their approach of the ranking process, but it’s individuals like you that make the process look bias and unprofessional.
The media members of the UFC ranking committee and judges sitting outside of the cage have one responsibility: Make sure the right fighter is in the right spot when fight week is all said and done. Making sure the deserving fighter gets his hand raised or ranking fighters where they truly deserve to be is the least we could do for the men and women that sacrifice their blood, sweat, and tears in the octagon for our entertainment.
Fans of the sport have their right to speak their mind on who somebody like Woodley would lose to; they paid their hard earned money for a ticket or for the pay-per-view. However, your personal feelings as a ranker are worrisome and unprofessional. If I were a pro fighter, I’d be terrified to have my financial future and pro rankings left in your hands.
While everybody should be treated with an equal amount of respect, there is no denying that the role of a fighter is greater than that of a judge or member of media in this sport.