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A little too soon for an UFC "Hall of Fame"

At the next UFC event in November, Dana White has announced that Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock will be inducted into the UFC “Hall of Fame.” This “Hall of Fame” was set up by the Zuffa organization to give recognition to the UFC fighters that have aided in the growth of mma. The problem with this, however, is that the formation of this “Hall of Fame” is premature, which could lead to problems in the widespread acceptance of mma.

In the last year, both, Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock, have fought in mma events across the world. Royce fought in Japan for the PRIDE organization, and Ken fought in the UFC here America. Beyond that, at least one of these fighters has spoken about fighting again in the UFC, if possible. So, neither of these fighters is really finished with competition, as of yet. Therefore, an induction into an “Hall of Fame” is too soon.

Why is it too soon? Well, in almost all other sports, induction into this elite group of athletes has been reserved for those who have retired from competition and are not planning on return. Furthermore, many hall of fame institutions have a mandatory waiting period for induction that begins after the athlete’s retirement. Neither Royce nor Ken fits this bill. Therefore, White and the UFC are prematurely inducting these two warriors, hereby ignoring the standard protocol.

Now, why is this such a bad idea? Well, mma is constantly trying to gain acceptance as a legitimate sport, but by pulling this publicity stunt, they are separating themselves from the group that they are trying to join. The UFC is blazing a new trail in the world of sports where a new trail is unnecessary. And with this, only comes more separation from the sports that enjoy the spotlight that mma so desires.

Therefore, the UFC should not hold this ceremony or create this institution. In order to gain recognition as a sport, mma organizations need to follow the path laid down for them by other sports that have made it into the mainstream; they should not try to buck the system and create their own path. If the cards are played properly, acceptance will eventually come, but it will not come if mma plays their hand in this manner. Hence, no “Hall of Fame,” not now, at least.

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