The Top 10 Stories of the Past 10 Years


By Jake Rossen Dec 23, 2009
Financially and functionally, the mixed martial arts scene of the 1990s had the organization of an upended wastebasket. There are moments valued with nostalgia -- if you need a remedial course on Royce Gracie’s influence or the proliferation of opposing styles, grab a book -- but on the whole, it was just one big experimental phase, with everyone searching for the sense in a superficially disgusting sport. To stage a show without being chased out of town or arrested was considered an achievement. This is not an environment that thrives on survival, not invention.

Beginning in 2000, the changes were very nearly immediate. (And for the purposes of this article, convenient.) Fighters began to understand layered training, and policymakers were finally clued in to the idea that an uptick in cage fights was never referenced in Revelation. Distanced from the label of ruining civilization, the sport was free to make its own kind of history. More than just being a key decade in mixed-fighting, it’s really been the only decade.

There’s really no viable way of boiling down 10 years of stories -- life, death, trends, competition -- into a single list. It would almost be preferable to throw out 100 events and let readers prioritize them. But it’s the holidays, and time is short, so what follows are the 10 stories that kept coming to the surface in examining what really shook the fight industry from 2000-2009. (And by examining, I mean to say, “Staring at a giant toy Octagon until the Chinese food came.”)

The 10 stories that mattered most:
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>