ESPN unveiled their first stab at MMA pound-for-pound fighter rankings on MMA Live yesterday.  In the video below, Pat Miletich rather profoundly disagrees with the bottom half of their selections.

First, let's "set the table" for the discussion.  Anyone in the world can come up with rankings by weight class, just like anyone can argue why anyone else's rankings are wrong.  What I find baffling is that no one spends any time discussing the methodology or system with which they arrive at their results, thus rendering most of the discussions into an opinion based quagmire.

There is no way to get around the "apples vs. oranges" issue of comparing fighters from different organizations.  When Pride FC had a pulse, debates raged over where their fighters stacked up to the UFC army in every weight class, when the best case scenario offered a common opponent or two somewhere throughout their careers that could be used as a frame of reference.  It's the same now with Strikeforce vs. the UFC.

The was semi-inspired to start publishing our own rankings with the simple twist that UFC fighters would be ranked alone, and the other "non-UFC" or worldwide fighters would be ranked totally separate.  I feel the UFC could use a top-five ranking in each weight class to establish a rough hierarchy of "who's who in the canoe" and to establish a pecking order of where fighters stand in relation to a title shot and other top contenders.

For the purpose of this discussion, to add to the fun, making the rankings even more ambiguous with the infamous "pound for pound" label just turns everything into a proverbial spin of the roulette wheel.

In all fairness to ESPN and Josh Gross, Miletich works for Strikeforce and may be showing some bias.  In all fairness to Miletich, I completely agree with his outlook that the rankings exude a strong UFC bias.

I'm game to engage in a discussion about ESPN's rankings and pound for pound rankings in general in the comments section below.



Video from ranking column with some additional explanation on their choices





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