Rankings: Who's on the take?

Eurosport - Sun, 06 Jun 13:56:00 2010

Dave Doyle of Yahoo! Sports US runs down the rankings - but only after "admitting" that the whole thing is rigged.

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UFC president Dana White made headlines last week when he essentially said that reporters who rank fighters from non-UFC promotions are on the take.

Now, you might expect the same sort of moralizing, self-back-patting retort that has come from most quarters in response to this statement, but I have to come clean here: Dana is right!

I accept payment for the rankings, but only in the form of International Fight League stock, and as you'll see below, this month's entire Top 10 consists of fighters from the Seattle Tiger Sharks. Next month we'll feature the New York Pit Bulls, and then the following month, the San Jose Razorclaws.

But seriously…

Since the beginning of 2009, only one non-Zuffa fighter has cracked the top six. That would be Fedor Emelianenko, who just happens to be 31-1, with his only loss on a controversial cuts stoppage. And the only non-Zuffa fighter to reach number seven, Jake Shields, is a free agent who just happened to sit with White in the front row at April's WEC event. So if any pollsters are taking money from competing promoters, those promotions are getting a lousy return on their investment.

(And yes, for those who are sarcasm-impaired, the IFL thing was in fact a joke. Take a deep breath and step away from your blog-publishing template.)

With that little bit of silliness out of the way, it's time for this month's rankings. The fighters in the top 10 remain the same, but there's a bit of movement within the rankings, as Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's convincing light heavyweight title victory over Lyoto Machida had a ripple effect on the middle of the pack. Rua jumped four spots to five and Machida dropped two to number seven.


10. Dominick Cruz

Points: 32

Affiliation: WEC

Weight class: Bantamweight (WEC bantamweight champion)

Hometown: San Diego

Record: 15-1 (has won past six)

Last month's ranking: 10

Most recent result: def. Brian Bowles, R3 TKO, March 6

Analysis: Former featherweight champ Urijah Faber recently hinted he is planning on dropping to 135, which could set up Cruz for a rematch with the only opponent who has defeated him.

9. Frank Edgar

Points: 44

Affiliation: UFC (UFC lightweight champion)

Weight class: Lightweight

Hometown: Toms River, N.J.

Record: 12-1 (has won past four)

Last month's ranking: 8

Most recent result: def. B.J. Penn, unanimous decision, April 10

Analysis: Rematch with Penn is set for August 28 in Boston.

8. Jake Shields

Points: 46

Affiliation: Free agent

Weight class: Welterweight/Middleweight (Strikeforce middleweight champion)

Hometown: San Francisco

Record: 25-4-1 (has won past 14)

Last month's ranking: 7

Most recent result: def. Dan Henderson, unanimous decision, April 17

Analysis: Strikeforce didn't exactly try too hard on resigning Shields, who is now free to negotiate with any MMA company.

7. Lyoto Machida

Points: 60

Affiliation: UFC

Weight class: Light heavyweight (UFC light heavyweight champion)

Hometown: Belem, Brazil

Record: 16-1 (lost previous fight)

Last month's ranking: 5

Most recent result: lost to Mauricio Rua, R1 TKO, May 8

Analysis: A rumoured match with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson would make a good test for both coming off disappointing losses.

6. B.J. Penn

Points: 69

Affiliation: UFC

Weight class: Lightweight

Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii

Record: 15-6-1 (lost previous fight)

Last month's ranking: 6

Most recent result: lost to Frank Edgar, unanimous decision, April 10

Analysis: Given that Penn remains ranked three spots ahead of the man who took his title, voters clearly see the result as a fluke.

5. Mauricio Rua

Points: 92

Affiliation: UFC

Weight class: Light heavyweight

Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil

Record: 19-4 (won previous fight)

Last month's ranking: 9

Most recent result: def. Lyoto Machida, R1 TKO, May 8

Analysis:"Shogun" clearly wasn't going to leave his fate in the hand of the judges this time.

4. Jose Aldo

Points: 147

Affiliation: WEC

Weight class: Featherweight (WEC featherweight champion)

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro

Record: 17-1 (has won past 10)

Last month's ranking: 4

Most recent result: def. Urijah Faber, unanimous decision, April 24

Analysis: Still no word on Aldo's next foe. Or on whether anyone else at 145 pounds wants to face him.

3. Fedor Emelianenko

Points: 168 (four first-place votes)

Affiliation: Strikeforce/M-1 (never lost PRIDE title)

Weight class: Heavyweight

Hometown: Stary Oskol, Russia

Record: 31-1, one no-contest (has won past 11)

Last month's ranking: 3

Most recent result: def. Brett Rogers, R2 KO, Nov. 7

Analysis: Fabricio Werdum is up next for Emelianenko. After that, if M-1 simply must make a match with Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem if the promotion wishes to be taken seriously.

2. Anderson Silva

Points: 177 (six first-place votes)

Affiliation: UFC

Weight class: Middleweight (UFC middleweight champion)

Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil

Record: 26-4 (has won past 11)

Last month's ranking: 2

Most recent result: def. Demian Maia, unanimous decision, April 10

Analysis: Chael Sonnen is already ramping up the trash talk for their Aug. 7 fight. Will that be enough to coax "good" Silva back into action and put "bad" Silva back on the shelf?

1. Georges St. Pierre

Points: 188 (11 first-place votes)

Affiliation: UFC

Weight class: Welterweight (UFC welterweight champion)

Hometown: Saint-Isidore, Quebec

Record: 20-2 (has won past seven)

Last month's ranking: 1

Most recent result: def. Dan Hardy, unanimous decision, March 27

Analysis: Recent training with boxing great Freddie Roach demonstrates St. Pierre's commitment to his all-around game.

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Votes for others: Rashad Evans 21, Brock Lesnar 12, Shane Carwin 9, Jon Fitch 7, Kenny Florian, Cain Velasquez 4; Gilbert Melendez, Nick Diaz, Jon Jones 3; Ben Henderson, Joe Benavidez 1.

Upcoming matches for Top 10 fighters: Number 3 Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum, June 26, San Jose, Calif.

This month's voting panel: Carlos Arias, The Orange County Register; Denny Burkholder, CBSSports.com; Elias Cepeda, Inside Fighting; Mike Chiappetta MMAFighting.com and Fight! Magazine; Steve Cofield, Cage Writer and ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas; Neil Davidson, Canadian Press, Dave Doyle Yahoo! Sports; Ben Fowlkes SportsIllustrated.com and MMAFighting.com; Josh Gross SportsIllustrated.com; Ariel Helwani Versus.com and MMAFighting.com; Kevin Iole Yahoo! Sports; Damon Martin MMAWeekly.com; Todd Martin, freelance; John Morgan, MMAjunkie.com; Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com; Brad McCray, freelance; Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports and The Wrestling Observer; Brett Okamoto, The Las Vegas Sun; Ken Pishna, MMAWeekly.com; Michael David Smith, MMAFighting.com; Dann Stupp MMAjunkie.com. and The Dayton Daily News.

Scoring: 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second, etc., down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote. Fighters who are under suspension usage of performance-enhancing substances or drugs of abuse are ineligible to be considered for the duration of their suspensions; fighters who have been inactive for more than 12 months are ineligible for consideration until after the completion of their next fight.

Dave Doyle, Yahoo! Sports / Eurosport

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