TOPIC: Are you in favor of a Legends Division in UFC, as Vitor Belfort has suggested? Whether you’re for it or not, what is the best set-up for it in terms of parameters and how it’s featured?
MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
A UFC Legends Division is an absurd idea and deserves no further consideration. The fact that Vitor Belfort suggested it and then days later proposed he fight C.M. Punk just screams of desperation. With that out of the way, here is how I would operate a Legends Division if I had to.
First, you have to be 35 years old or older to enter, but entry is voluntary. But once you decide to compete in the Legends Division, there’s no going back into the main field. Also, once you’re in the Legends Division, if you lose, you have to retire. Finally, weight-cutting will not be part of the legends division. Fighters would still be matched up based on the weights they typically competed at, but they would just be booked as heavyweights so there is no need to cut weight.
The idea of seeing some dream matchups between legends of the sport along with the high stakes of forced retirement could make a Legends Division an entertaining side attraction for UFC fans.
COLE HENRY, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I don’t really think a division is necessary, even if these older guys are given the chance to fight. Bellator uses older fighters, and they don’t have a division for them, only a reasonable match-maker, who doesn’t book 40-plus year old men against young lions who are looking to make a name. I understand that fighting isn’t a fair thing, but it seems short-sighted to feed these vets to young killers when they could perhaps be utilized for a longer period if they are booked against opponents of their own age and standing in the MMA world.
With that being said, if a division/divisions for legends came to be, I would say that the fighters must be over the age of 40, must be UFC vets, and must be able to still compete at a reasonable level. This seems like the sort of deal that could lead to lots of worn out, beaten down fighters who are broke and looking for a check to come back to fight when it is perhaps inadvisable. The fights should not ever be main events, but perhaps special attractions, just to add an extra bit of juice to a card that may be lacking. But again, I just don’t really think that framing an actual division is necessary.
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATORCH CONTRIUBUTOR
When I first heard about the idea of a Legends League or Legends Division, my first reaction was, no way. After sitting on the idea a bit longer, my answer is still no way. Look, we all reminisce about the past and, the older you get, the more you do it. But, the past is the past and me, like you and the world of MMA, need to keep moving forward.
Would there be an appetite for such a league? Absolutely. It will also allow aging fighters to continue to earn a payday, but at what costs? The health and well-being of any fighter, young or old(er), has to be the number one priority of any organization. The fighters of yesteryear already have taken a ton of damage throughout their careers and to allow them to continue fighting only means more damage and more miles on their bodies.
If this were to come to fruition, it would be wildly popular for a short period of time. But after we see the lack of quality fighting over time, interest would begin to wane. Not to mention the copy-cat organizations out there that will look to capitalize on short term profits while taking advantage of fighters who don’t know their time is up.
For me, I want to remember my favorite fighters as the baddest men on the planet, not not as shells of themselves looking to recapture their glory years.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE: ROUNDTABLE (pt. 1 of 2): Should UFC institute a Legends Division, as Vitor Belfort suggested?