As the UFC has become the biggest MMA promotion in the world, there are naysayers that claim the UFC is fake. It’s an absurd claim, but one we feel that we should break down for our readers.
Let’s get into it and answer the question of is the UFC fake. We’ll go over why a small majority of fight fans believe the UFC is fake and go over why they’re wrong.
- 1 Is The UFC Fake?
- 2 Why Would People Think That The UFC Is Fake?
- 3 Are There Elements Of The UFC That Are Fake?
- 4 Fixed UFC Fights
- 5 Final Thoughts
Is The UFC Fake?
No, the UFC is absolutely not fake. Here are the two main reasons why the fights within the UFC are not fake.
No Predetermined Outcomes
The biggest reason why the UFC isn’t fake is that MMA is a legitimate sport. There is no predetermined outcome like in pro wrestling, where people know the winners beforehand.
Also for anyone that thinks the fights in the UFC are fake should step into a cage and see for themselves. The damage that fighters sustain in UFC fights is very real and sometimes can be life-threatening.
Calling a fight promotion fake, where fighters get legitimately hurt, is an absurd assertion. One would think if the UFC was fake, we wouldn’t see fighters get KO’d, cut, or their limbs broken.
Why Would People Think That The UFC Is Fake?
What would lead some people to believe the UFC is fake? Here are some of the arguments for why the UFC is fake.
There Have Been Fixed Fights Within The UFC
Believe it or not, there have been fixed fights in the UFC during the promotion’s history. The promotion itself had nothing to do with them, but there have been confirmed cases of fixed UFC fights.
The History Of Fixed Fights Within Combat Sports
Ever since combat sports like boxing became a legitimate sports, there have been fixed fights. Throughout the world, organized crime networks have had their hand in promoting combat sports like MMA.
Many believe with the long history of fixed fights throughout combat sports, one would assume the UFC is also fixed. This isn’t a farfetched idea because there have been instances of fighters in the UFC throwing fights.
It hasn’t happened many times, but enough for people to think that the whole organization is fake.
The Pro Wrestling And MMA Connection
Since MMA first emerged as a sport, it has had a long-standing connection with pro wrestling. Many pro wrestlers even started some of the first MMA promotions, like Pancrase and Shooto.
Due to these organizers coming from a world of predetermined matches, many early MMA matches were also fixed or choreographed.
This fact has led many to float the conspiracy that fights in the UFC are also fake. No fights within the UFC have ever been proven to be fixed, but it hasn’t stopped some fight fans from wondering.
Now that many UFC fighters are implementing pro wrestling tactics to sell fights, those who believe the fake conspiracy have been emboldened.
Are There Elements Of The UFC That Are Fake?
While MMA is a legitimate sport, there are elements of the UFC that are, let’s say, embellished. Let us explain what we mean by that.
Some fighters have developed their personalities to try and sell their fights and make a name for themselves. Putting on a character to build themselves up to get better fights and earn more money.
Three of the sport’s biggest fighters have done this, including Chael Sonnen, Colby Covington, and Conor McGregor. Creating personas to sell themselves to the fans in the quest to create fame and wealth.
Colby Covington wasn’t always a flashy suit-wearing Trump supporter. When he first entered the UFC, he was lowkey and never talked trash to his opponents.
After being told he could possibly be cut in 2017, he created his personality to create buzz for his fights. This choice has led Colby to earn two title shots and drastically increase his wealth.
The Fake Beefs
Along with the personalities, many of the beefs between fighters leading up to a fight aren’t exactly authentic. Many fighters know that drama can brew up more interest in an upcoming fight, so they make some drama.
They will say absurd things to their opponents to try and get more eyes on their fights. A lot of fighters don’t believe a word of what they’re saying and are just trying to hype up their fight.
We see many fighters hug it out after a fight and even show that they’re actually friends. It’s all made up just to sell their fights.
While the organization itself has never been involved in fixing fights, they do make favorable matchups for rising stars. When the higher-ups see a young fighter with potential, they will try and build them up.
Putting them in favorable matchups, where they have a higher likelihood of winning and moving up the ranks. In the last few years, we have seen this approach to matchmaking done more frequently within the UFC.
We’ve seen this done in recent years with Khazmat Chimaev and Sean O’Malley, which many critics and fans have complained about. During their time in the prelims, they fought opponents who many believed were well below their skill levels.
Questionable Judge’s Decisions
Probably one of the biggest reasons why some believe the UFC is fake is the result of questionable judge’s decisions. Bad judging, unfortunately, still plagues the UFC and the sport of MMA in general.
For example, let’s take the recent decision between Sean O’Malley and Petyr Yan. The majority of the MMA community was livid with the judge’s decision to give the fight to O’Malley.
Suga himself wasn’t even his brash and confident self after hearing he won the decision. Some claims of fight fixing were thrown around, but it was just another case of questionable MMA judging.
It’s something that has been a longstanding problem in the sport and something that needs to be fixed.
Fixed UFC Fights
We touched on the topic of fixed fights in the UFC. While the organization wasn’t a part of any of them, they did happen. Here are some examples.
Don Frye vs. Mark Hall
Don Frye and Mark Hall met in the semifinals of the UFC Ultimate Ultimate event in 1996. The two had fought each other two times prior, where Frye won both bouts.
They also happen to have the same manager, which was how the scheme came to be. Their manager came to Hall and convinced him to throw the fight, so Frye could be fresh for the finals.
Hall would give Frye his leg in the opening seconds of the bout and tap to an achilles lock. Frye would advance to the finals and beat Tank Abbott to win the tournament. This would also be the last time the two would ever compete in the UFC.
Oleg Taktarov vs. Anthony Macias
At UFC 6, Anthony Macias fought Oleg Taktarov, who would win the tournament. Taktarov beat Macias in 9 seconds, and something seemed off.
It turns out something was off as years later, Macias spoke about the fight. He claims that he was blackmailed by his manager, who was also Taktarov’s manager, to throw the fight.
If Macias didn’t throw the fight, the manager said he would blackball him. Anthony’s fighting career would continue after the match, and he would go 26-18 in his career.
Leo Kuntz vs. Tae Hyun Bang
While the fix of this fight didn’t go according to plan, Tae Hyun Bang was actually supposed to throw the fight. Bang took a $100k bribe from Yakuza mafia members to throw the fight as they were betting on Kuntz.
However, the judge’s awarded Bang with a split decision win, leading him to return the $100k bribe he received. However, he still served a 10 month prison sentence in 2017 for accepting the bribe.
Darrick Minner vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke
The most recent alleged fight-fixing controversy took place at a bout on UFC Vegas 64. Darrick Minner would lose by TKO against Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in the first round.
It seemed like a legitimate contest, but there were abnormalities seen in the betting of the fight by U.S. Integrity. A company that investigates fixed betting that saw abnormalities in the betting of this fight.
Hours before the fight, U.S. Integrity saw an abnormal jump in bets for Nuerdanbieke. When they saw Minner lose in the first minutes of the first round, they notified the UFC of the abnormality.
As of now, the fight is still being investigated, and no formal charges have been brought against either fighter.
While there may be embellishments to hype up the fights, the UFC itself is not a fake organization. There’s nothing fake about the fighters stepping in the cage and putting their life on the line for fame and glory. The UFC is as real as it gets.