Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Pictorial View of the Mixed Martial Arts Linear Heavyweight Title

Mixed Martial Arts, unlike boxing, does not recognize a linear champion in its respective weight divisions. In boxing there is an established system for one to become the "true" or "undisputed" world champion.

Wikipedia explains it best:
"According to WBA championship rules, when a champion holds at least one title of one of the other three major sanctioning bodies, the boxer is granted special recognition: he is called the undisputed world champion and is given more time between mandatory title defences. The "regular" WBA world title is vacated if it is one of the titles the respective boxer holds. When a boxer defends his WBA title for the sixth consecutive time, he is normally granted the "WBA Super Belt'."
Mixed Martial Arts is organized in a promotional system, in which the promotions award their own belts. With all the promotional warfare, the fans never get to see a "true" champion determined.

Last September, AOL sports writer Dave Meltzer tackled the idea of a linear title in the heavyweight division of mixed martial arts. He traced the first UFC heavyweight title's progresssion from its origins with Mark Coleman at UFC 12 to Fabricio Werdum following his upset over Fedor Emelianenko last year.

The Underground recently revisited this idea, pointing out that the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix puts this virtual title "at stake" once again, as the current (would-be) titleholder, Fabricio Werdum is one of the participants.

I have adapted The Underground's breakdown of the heavyweight title's lineage to a slideshow presentation. The slideshow offers a pictorial history of the title from its beginning up to today.

Note: All captions in the slideshow were originally published by The Underground via BloodyElbow.com.

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