Posted 07/25/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA

What if the UFC had an Open Weight Tournament?

By Mike Fagan, July 25th, 2013

Remember Pride? The premier MMA organization around the turn of the millennium. Yeah. The Pride never die thing. Yeah, it’s stupid. Anyway. They used to hold these open-weight tournaments. And by “used to hold,” I mean “twice held.” But whatever. They were cool. Guys would roid the fuck up and fight each other. The first one in 2000 was brutal. An opening round in January, and then an old-school, one-night, 8-man tournament in May. The second one took place over three events in 2006. Mark Coleman won in 2000; Mirko Cro Cop in 2006.

The tournaments gave us a ton of memorable MMA moments: the Sakuraba/Royce Gracie Iron Man match, the beginning of Mark Kerr’s demise, Mark Coleman blasting Igor Vovchanchyn with knees from north-south, the kickoff of Wanderlei Silva’s “knocked out” tour, and the emotional tournament-winning celebrations of both Coleman and Cro Cop.

It also featured all the lovely corruption and goofiness of Pride. Guy Mezger probably beat Kazushi Sakuraba in the opening round of the 2000 tournament, but Pride was gunning for that Sakuraba/Gracie showdown. That fight came with it’s own baggage: no ref stoppages and no time limit, the bout only ending by KO or submission. The opening round, with a couple of exceptions were glorified squash matches. Cro Cop “earned” his way into the quarterfinals knocking out Ikuhisa “MINOWAMAN” Minowa.

But they were fun, so whatever.

How would an open-weight tournament look today, in 2003, inside the UFC’s Octagon? BAH GAWD LET’S FIND OUT.


Jon Jones vs. B.J. Penn

Hearing rumors about the UFC’s plans to hold an open-weight tournament, B.J. convinces himself THIS is the motivation he needs to find greatness once more. releases video of B.J. jumping out of a pool and hanging out at the beach and walking home from the grocery store with two bags of groceries. They’re really heavy bags of groceries. FAN BOYS ARE GOING NUTS. B.J. IS BACK. The UFC announces the tournament, and matches B.J. up with current light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. The betting lines open at Jones -500, but within the week, B.J. backers have it down to a pick ‘em. B.J. starts talking smack, reminding the world of Jones’ 27 children out of wedlock. B.J. weighs in the day before his fight, and, hey, HE DOESN’T LOOK SO BAD. Fan boys move the line again, and B.J.’s now the betting favorite. At the opening bell, B.J.’s doing his thing. Moving around, throwing jabs. The live betting is going nuts. Jones is now a +500 underdog. Jones stands in the center of the cage, watching B.J. circle around. After a minute, he moves forward and puts B.J. up against the fence. He throws a couple punches, but mostly just keeps a struggling Penn from getting out. The first round ends. B.J. returns to his corner. His trainers are furious! They’re yelling at him. Penn can only hang his head. He’s exhausted. Someone asks him if he wants to fight. No answer is returned. Here comes the towel.

Jon Jones TKO B.J. Penn at 5:00 of round 1 (corner throws in towel)


Alistair Overeem vs. Roy Nelson

Alistair Overeem has a plan. With no weight limits nor drug testing (whatever, let’s imagine this is going on in Mexico or something) in place, he’s going to do this open-weight thing the right way. The Pride way. So he calls up Dr. Hector Molina for a special cocktail.

Roy Nelson also has a plan. The UFC tells him he’s going to fight Alistair Overeem, and he decides that this is it. He’s going to take the fight game seriously. He’s going to train hard and eat right and show up looking like a UFC fighter, damnit. A week into training, Joe Silva calls him up.

“Hey Roy. How’s training for the open-weight tournament going?”

“Oh, it’s just great, Joe Silva. Wait, what’s this about an open-weight tournament?”

“Um, your fight against Alistair does not have a weight limit.”

* Click *

“Hello? Roy? ROY?”

Roy shows up for the fight at an even 650 pounds. Sweat flows off his face at the “Harley-Davidson, Wait No Motorcyles Kill Fighters, So Bud Light, Wait No Drunk Driving, Hello Kitty” checkpoint.

Then Overeem appears. He’s MASSIVE. Muscles on muscles on muscles. Sweat pours from his face at the HDWNMKFSBLWNDDHK checkpoint. Kim Winslow takes 15 minutes to rub him down, enjoying every moment of it. She sends him on his way.

Unfortunately for Alistair, he doesn’t fit through the door. Winslow tries to lube him up with some Vaseline – enjoying every moment of it – but it’s to no avail. Roy, despite having a heart attack in the interim, is your winner.

Roy Nelson defeats Alistair Overeem by DQ (too fucking big to fit through the cage door)


Cain Velasquez vs. Roger Gracie

One day, Roger Gracie is surfing the information superhighway for all the latest MMA news and views at Then he notices something strange. “Rogers Gracie vs. Cain Velasquez in opening round of open-weight GP.” Well that’s strange, Roger thinks. I never signed up for this.

So he calls up Joe Silva, and ol’ Joe tells him, “Yeah, dude. It’s in your contract. You read that thing, right?”

Fuck, Roger thinks to himself before saying it out loud. I didn’t read the contract. I figured the UFC would be a generous a magnanimous bunch with my best interests at heart. Oh well. Where else am I going to go?

Roger soon found out where else he was going to go. It was in a cage. With Cain Velasquez. And he was wearing a gi.

Cain Velasquez TKOs Roger Gracie at 3:11 of round 1 (a series of punches that pulverized Gracie’s head and left a torso wearing a gi)


Anderson Silva vs. Dave Herman

Dave Herman was sitting on the couch one day, smoking weed, when he got a call from Joe Silva.

“Hey Dave,” Joe said. “We’re doing this open-weight tournament and we need someone to job to Anderson Silva. You in?”

“Yeah, sure. That sounds cool.”

Herman continued to smoke weed for the next 8 weeks.

Anderson Silva TKOs Dave Herman at 0:15 of round 1 (Blunt Kick – I don’t know, Anderson did something really cool and new)


Nick Diaz vs. Josh Barnett

As alluded to earlier, there’s no drug testing for this thing. So, of course, Josh Barnett gets on his cycle. Unfortunately, he gets cancer and has to pull out. (He got cancer from the steroids, because that’s how that works.) So, the UFC finds a replacement: Wanderlei Silva.

Nick Diaz defeats Wanderlei Silva by decision and sets new UFC record for strikes landed in a fight with 2733


Junior dos Santos vs. Rich Franklin

Rich Franklin was minding his own business in Kentucky, exploring the wonderful Creation Museum, when he got a call from Joe Silva.

“Hey Rich, we need a favor.”

“Another favor? How many favors do you people need?”

“Shut up, Rich. We’re having an open-weight tournament. We need bodies.”

“What weight do I need to be?”

“Rich, it’s an open-weight tournament. You can show up at whatever you want.”

“So, what? 205? 185? 195? 193? You tell me.”

“If I give you a number, will you show up on weight?”



“Great! Who am I fighting?”

Junior dos Santos TKOs Rich Franklin at 0:02 of round 1 (knee to the body broke through Franklin’s rib cage)


Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve

Yeah, this fight already happened, but shut up because it’s a big fat guy and a tall, skinny guy and PRIDE NEVER DIE.

Mark Hunt TKOs Stefan Struve at 4:11 of round 3 (Struve still hasn’t learned how to use his height)


Daniel Cormier vs. Fedor Emelianenko

The UFC decides to pull out the big guns here. They offer Fedor and his cronies a stadium in Russia filled with rubles. (I’m guessing the exchange rate equals that out to, like, $15 USD or something.) They get Vadim a new dog. He can fight Sambo with Putin.

That match Fedor up with “Black Fedor” Daniel Cormier. It’s a great fight. An all-time classic. Cormier wins a close decision. But he can’t go on because he broke his hand. And Fedor can’t take his place because he broke his hand, too. So, the UFC decides to go the most sensible route: They give Wanderlei Silva another chance.

Daniel Cormier defeats Fedor Emelianenkno by decision but their hands are brittle like an old man so Wanderlei Silva gets another round of brain trauma


So there you go. That’s the opening round. And that’s the only round you get because it’s hard to be funny when all the flawed fighters are eliminated.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes.