That's a lot of fights.
100, to be exact.
Basically, the Ultimate 100 was UFC and Spike TV's idea for a series of one hour specials, a breakdown of the organizations one-hundred best scraps as determined by an online fan poll.
The list came out and it was mostly as expected. The number one was a given, Forrest Griffin versus Stephan Bonnar from the The Ultimate Fighter live finale, a game changing, casual viewer-grabbing fight that is looked upon as the breakthrough for the UFC's modern wave of mainstream success. The list was also very recent era heavy, few fights from the early, trashier, no holds barred days are on the list, and barely any from the as yet on DVD dark days when the org was off cable ppv and barely scraping by.
A big oversight came from not including some fights from former champions like Frank Shamrock and Andrei Arlovski. Shamrock has long been vocal about his disagreements with UFC management since he left the organization in the late 90's. Arlovski on the other hand, at the time this special was compiled, had also left to compete in rival companies. How did their fights not make it on the fan-approved list? Well, it seems pretty simple. The UFC provided a list of fights to vote on and controlled the final results. Yes, there is no concrete proof of shenanigans, but it doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to determine there's no way fans looked at the breath of the UFC's fights and somehow chose, say, John Koppenhaver vs. Jared Rollins over Shamrock's classic battle with Tito Ortiz or Arlovski's first fight with Tim Sylvia.
The eight disc set does not include the Spike specials five episode format with edited fight highlights and comments from UFC mouthpieces and fighters. The DVD release instead is aimed purely at the fights, each and every single one, in their entirety, and only a few fights have their original prefight intro remarks by the fighters.
The list goes...
- Paul Kelly vs. Paul Taylor (UFC 80)
- Carlos Newton vs. Pat Miletich (UFC 31)
- Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon (UFN 13)
- Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon (UFN 8)
- Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie (UFC 60)
- Sean Sherk vs. Tyson Griffin (UFC 90)
- B.J. Penn vs. Din Thomas (UFC 32)
- Thiago Alves vs. Chris Lytle (UFC 78)
- B.J. Penn vs. Matt Serra (UFC 92)
- Rich Franklin vs. Ken Shamrock (TUF 1 Finale)
- B.J. Penn vs. Caol Uno (UFC 41)
- Forrest Griffin vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 66)
- Frankie Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin (UFC 67)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Jeremy Horn (UFC 54)
- Evan Tanner vs. Phil Baroni (UFC 45)
- Karo Parisyan vs. Nick Diaz (UFC 49)
- Pedro Rizzo vs. Josh Barnett (UFC 30)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Vernon White (UFC 49)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Frank Trigg (UFC 54)
- John Koppenhaver vs. Jared Rollins (TUF Finale 6)
- Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner 1 (UFC 42)
- Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre 1 (UFC 69)
- Keith Jardine vs. Chuck Liddell (UFC 76)
- Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin (UFN 14)
- Matt Hughes vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 42)
- Royce Gracie vs. Gerard Gordeau (UFC 1)
- Rich Franklin vs. David Loiseau (UFC 58)
- George St. Pierre vs. Jason Miller (UFC 52)
- Frank Mir vs. Antonio Nogueria (UFC 92)
- Don Frye vs. Tank Abbot (Ultimate 96)
- Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman (UFC 17)
- B.J. Penn vs. Caol Uno (UFC 34)
- Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz (UFC 84)
- Shonie Carter vs. Matt Serra (UFC 31)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn (UFC 94)
- Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout (UFN 10)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Renato Sobral 2 (UFC 62)
- Matt Hughes vs. Georges St. Pierre (UFC 50)
- Tyson Griffin vs. Clay Guida (UFC 72)
- B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson (UFC 80)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Karo Parisyan (UFC 46)
- Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture (UFC 91)
- Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton (UFC 38)
- Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia (UFC 69)
- Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner 2 (UFC 53)
- Rashad Evans vs. Forrest Griffin (UFC 92)
- Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben (UFN 5)
- Sean Sherk vs. Kenny Florian (UFC 64)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Renato Sobral 1 (UFC 40)
- Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell (UFC 88)
- Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva 3 (UFC 92)
- Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 71)
- Jens Pulver vs. B.J. Penn 1 (UFC 35)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Kevin Randleman (UFC 31)
- Quinton Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell 2 (UFC 71)
- Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell (TUF 4 Finale)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra 2 (UFC 83)
- Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 1 (UFC 45)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 56)
- Antonio Nogueria vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 81)
- Randy Couture vs. Vitor Belfort 1 (UFC 15)
- Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 84)
- Randy Couture vs. Pedro Rizzo 1 (UFC 31)
- Royce Gracie vs. Kimo Leopoldo (UFC 3)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture 2 (UFC 52)
- Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 48)
- B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk (UFC 84)
- Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn 2 (UFC 63)
- Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC 74)
- Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson (UFC 75)
- B.J. Penn vs. Matt Hughes 1 (UFC 46)
- Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans (UFC 98)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 2 (UFC 66)
- Randy Couture vs. Tito Ortiz (UFC 44)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch (UFC 87)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture 3 (UFC 57)
- Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock 1 (UFC 1)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes 2 (UFC 65)
- Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida (TUF 6 Finale)
- Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell 1 (UFC 43)
- Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes 3 (UFC 79)
- Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson (UFC 82)
- Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 1 (UFC 47)
- Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia (UFC 68)
- Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher 1 (UFC 58)
- Thiago Alves vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 85)
- Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton 1 (UFC 34)
- Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida (TUF 9 Finale)
- Diego Sanchez vs. Nick Diaz (TUF 2 Finale)
- Forrest Griffin vs. Quentin Jackson (UFC 86)
- Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio Rua (UFC 76)
- Gabriel Gonzaga Vs Mirko Filipovic (UFC 70)
- Karo Parisyan Vs Diego Sanchez (UFN 6)
- Rich Franklin Vs Anderson Silva 2 (UFC 77)
- Rich Franklin Vs Anderson Silva 1 (UFC 64)
- Brock Lesnar Vs Frank Mir 1 (UFC 81)
- B.J. Penn Vs Georges St. Pierre 1 (UFC 58)
- Frank Trigg Vs Matt Hughes 2 (UFC 52)
- Wanderlei Silva Vs Chuck Liddell (UFC 79)
- Stephan Bonnar Vs Forrest Griffin 1 (TUF 1 Finale)
While its a pretty good list, just running down the numbers it is obvious some fights made it there simply because they were fresh on viewers minds. Plus, many of the older era fights and dark ages days in the late 90's when it was only on pay per view satellite channels are a blank on MMA's newer legion of fans. And, lets be honesty, MMA has come such a long way it's kinda' fair that some of those hard scrabble fights from the trashier era just didnt make the cut with people who discovered MMA in the last five years or so. As a fan who watched it grow, I'd like to see more classic on the list.
Its kind of an empty argument for me to run down what I think does and doesn't belong. Fight fans like different things, some prefer stunning knockouts, others look for technical acumen. Fights I see as three rounds of bad kickboxing are often applauded. Fights I see as nice grappling scraps others see as lay and pray snoozers. For me, Karo Parisyan Vs Diego Sanchez is the only top ten choice on this list that I agree with. It was a real, never a dull moment, never take a breath, back and forth war on the feet and the ground with plenty of jaw dropping moments. A few that I'm surprised didn't make the list are: for pure old school, Abbot Vs. Nelmark (UU '96), a fight that coined the phrase "Nelmarked" (forever referencing any time a fighter gets KO'd and collapses like a puppet with cut strings), Salaverry Vs. Semenov (UFC 37), easily one of the best technical scraps I've seen- period, Sudo Vs. Ludwig (UFC 42), Edwards Vs. Thompson (UFC 49), and finally, Bustamante Vs. Lindland (UFC 37).
The DVD: Anchor Bay
It is a real mixed bag and as such Anchor Bay does include a little note of warning to viewers. Basically you have material from many different eras and the older it gets, the rougher the image. So, you have newer material that is Anamorphic Widescreen, often even high def quality, and then you have older fullscreen, analog quirky stuff that looks positively ancient in comparison.
Again, echoing the image, the audio is much the same but to a lesser degree. Its all 2.0 stereo, but of course, the older era stuff has a bit more raggedness to the mix while the newer stuff is much more clean and lacking some of the live audio stumbles.
Nothing. Just the fights.
But, now we come to the big deal. We might just have a packaging design flaw.
Each disc is housed in its own plastic hardshell, bookstyle sleeve and that sleeve is glued into a thick cardboard cover. Problem is, the page inserts are glued to the cover- the four white spots in the picture below- so that means the heavy DVD sleeve is glued to thin paper not the actual thicker cardboard housing. The moment I opened this set and lightly thumbed through the discs the plastic sleeve popped right off.
Now, will this happen with every copy of this set? I cannot say, except that, over time, its easy to imagine it will as the weight of eight DVD's in separate plastic housing is a lot for a thin bit of paper to hold. I'm going to try and adhere the sleeve back onto the cover with more adhesive, covering more area of the paper might prevent it from tearing off as easily, but, point is, if one is spending $14, $19, much less $50(+) on a DVD set, one shouldn't have to do arts and crafts.
Of course, hardcore fans are going to have copies of most of the fights. Yes, there are a little over handful of fights on this set that are not out on DVD. This being the information sharing age, you can certainly still find them, but its nice to have them on DVD- nicer to have the entire as yet on DVD events. So, really this set is more of a gift thing or a completists purchase. The potential packaging flaw is something to be very wary about. Of the list of choices available, I cannot quite say skip, cannot say rent, so I'll give it a hesitant recommendation.