On Tuesday the UFC announced that it will revamp its Hall of Fame qualifications in an effort to further legitimize the honor and give it more prestige. Four new categories were announced along with clear definitions of the qualifications for each corresponding category. Past inductees have been chosen by UFC president Dana White. Here are the four categories:
- Pioneer Era Wing – Fighters who debuted prior to November 17, 2000 will be eligible for this wing. The date is significant because that was when the unified rules of MMA were first implemented.
- Modern Era Wing – This wing is for any fighters that debuted after November 17, 2000 when the unified rules were already in place.
- Fight Wing – This wing will be dedicated to the best fights in UFC history. The fights selected along with the participants will be recorded and kept for future generations to enjoy.
- Contributors Wings – For any persons who have made in impact on the sport outside of the octagon. For example trainers, announcers, judges, referees, commissioners, and promoters are all eligible.
Not only does the four new categories give fans and media the basic qualifications for entry but it also covers all of the bases for current UFC Hall of Fame inductees.
Members currently in the Hall of Fame who would qualify for the pioneer wing would be Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie. While Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar would qualify for the modern era wing. Both Griffin and Bonnar would also be eligible for the fight wing as their Ultimate Fighter Finale bout is widely considered the most important bout in UFC history.
When both Griffin and Bonnar were inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2013 it was met with criticism. While Griffin had 10 wins inside the UFC and was a former light heavyweight champion, Bonnar had never held a title and had an 8-8 record with the company. The two were recognized more for their TUF Finale fight than their careers. Now with the fight wing establish it clarifies why the two were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In 2014 TapOut clothing founder Charles “Mask” Lewis was inducted for his contributions outside of the octagon. TapOut is widely considered the most recognizable mixed martial arts clothing brand ever. Lewis and his company’s efforts are credited for furthering the popularity of the sport and helping fighters earn more money in terms of sponsorships in the early years of MMA.
“The UFC Hall of Fame has an important job,” UFC president Dana White said in a statement. “It not only celebrates greatness, but it helps pass stories of the greatest athletes and fights in UFC history on to the next generation of fight fans. We’re looking forward to announcing the Class of 2015 and what is going to be a great induction event on July 11.”