The Time Is Right for an MMA Hall of Fame
By Riley Kontek
(Featured Columnist) on June 20, 2012
Although the UFC has its own Hall of Fame, mixed martial arts in general does not have one. Baseball has Cooperstown, and football has its enshrinement in Canton.
So why can't mixed martial arts have its own home to the legends?
With many of the sport's legends retired and stars who took the torch beginning to hang up the gloves, the time is absolutely right to create an MMA Hall of Fame.
The UFC is approaching its 150th event, and this could be the ideal opportunity to finally open a Hall of Fame. It could be an all-weekend extravaganza, filled with appearances by legends of the sport, grappling tournaments, raffles, fighter signings and obviously the Hall of Fame unveiling. This could all lead in to UFC 150.
It's the perfect opportunity. UFC 150 is in Denver, Colo., the state where the UFC's origins lie. That is too good to be true, in my opinion.
It would be more than just a UFC Hall of Fame, since there already is one, but it should still be associated with a UFC event, as it is the largest promotion in the world.
My proposal is to have the Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, as it is the most important fight city to mixed martial arts. The entire week of activities would be held there, with the only thing held in Denver being UFC 150.
For the first ever Hall of Fame class, there should be 10 retired fighters inducted. Here are the 10 men I think should earn the honor:
Royce Gracie: Winner of three UFC tournaments, sparked the popularization of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
"Judo" Gene LeBell: Recognized as one of the first mixed martial artists of all time, as well as a renowned judo instructor to many MMA stars.
Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell: Former UFC light heavyweight champion, one of the most recognizable faces in mixed martial arts.
Bas Rutten: Former King of Pancrase and UFC heavyweight champion, popular MMA personality.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic: Pride Grand Prix winner, legend in kickboxing and MMA
Ken Shamrock: Former King of Pancrase, UFC Superfight champion, all-around icon of the sport.
Frank Shamrock: Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Strikeforce middleweight champion, WEC light heavyweight champion, King of Pancrase, popular MMA personality.
Randy "The Natural" Couture: Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, oldest champion in UFC history (45 years old)
Dan "The Beast" Severn: Pioneer of the sport in terms of his use of American wrestling, 100-plus fight veteran, UFC tournament winner.
Shawn Tompkins: Posthumous inductee, renowned MMA trainer.