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Top Ten Tantrums

This past weekend MMA journalists were subjected to another lecture regarding rankings by a promoter grandstanding for his fighters.

No, Dana White wasn’t making the case for Anderson Silva as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world this past Saturday in San Jose, Calif. Instead, we had EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw stating that Jake Shields in the number one fighter in his weight class and that Cung Le is a top ten middleweight.

Shaw is entitled to his opinion but so am I. And I beg to differ on both of his assertions. Normally I wouldn’t make a big stink but I hate it when a promoter tries to guilt the media into giving his fighters more props. It’s self-serving and insulting in the sense that it implies we aren’t knowledgeable enough to form our own opinions and we should just take their word for it — as if they are impartial in regards to the matter of world rankings.

My issue when White made his campaign for Silva following UFC 82 wasn’t the content of his message, but the context. It’s hard to make a case against Silva as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Personally, I don’t agree. That said, I realize I am in the minority in the belief that Georges St. Pierre is number one with Silva being ranked two. My issue was White pretty much saying that if you don’t think Silva is number one that you’re an idiot and or you’re only withholding him as number one because you don’t like Dana White.


  • PhilB says:

    your friends at Junkie did an interview with Shields a week or two ago. He said himself that he thinks he is a top 5 in his weightclass. He all but said GSP is number 1 but he’d like to fight him and test himself.

    I agree it puts everyone in a crappy spot when promoters do this. It’s not fair to the fighters for one. Now Shields who has a very realistic view of himself in the scope of his division, has to yet again listen to backlash against him due to someone elses words.

  • Kelvin says:

    Nice article Sam…I pretty much agree with everything you said…cept

  • Kelvin says:

    I agree with the article…nice job Sam

  • Derek B. says:

    “Gary Shaw stating that Jake Shields in the number one fighter in his weight class and that Cung Le is a top ten middleweight.”

    HAHA I remember hearing that from Shaw. He’s just a promoter…that’s what they all do. They want to say they have the best fighters….but come on There is no way that Shields is the number fighter in his weight class…and Cung Le is probably barely able to make it in the top 20 middle-weights.

    Shaw should be careful with his words. I think he making the mistake of saying he has the best figthers. That just gives them more of a reason to test their abilities and go fight for UFC to see if they really are the best.

  • islandguy666 says:

    I guess you can argue that St. Pierre has a wrestling game as part of his arsenal that Silva doesn’t have. But Silva wins more despite that fact… Look at Liddell… very one dimensional fighter but still has (mostly ) been pretty dominant because he’s just so good at what he does. Over all the whole “best pound-for-pound” this is pretty sketchy.. but I guess it’s gives us something to talk about.

  • Jay K. says:

    This method is pretty popular in politics. If you’re not with us, you’re against us! LOL, gimme a break! Mouthpieces like Shaw and White are blowhard promoters that do what their supposed to do. That doesn’t necessarily translate into either of them having credibility.

    Jay K.

  • Amen to all of that. Amazing piece Sam.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Jay, but they could have credibility. There are ways to go to bat for your fighter without going over the top.

  • Rich S. says:

    Shields is good.. but he’d be in for a schooling if he fought GSP..

    and with fighters like Hendo, Spider Silva, Franklin, Mayhem Miller, Paulo Filho, and Okami hangin’ around at MW.. i wouldn’t say Cung Le’s a top 10 MW.. although, i really like Le, i just think there’s too many other top 10 [MW] material fighters for him to be considered one..

  • Rich S. says:

    “………………….April fools!”

    if you wouldn’t have thrown that part in at the end.. you would’ve been in for the biggest beating you’ve ever received..


  • Evan says:

    “Jay, but they could have credibility. There are ways to go to bat for your fighter without going over the top.”

    Only the die hard fans notice such things. Shaw and White are doing that they’re supposed to do,

  • mike says:

    didnt shaw on sherdog say kj noons was no 1 is fighter as well? if u see him cageside when hes watching his events he always has this confused look on his face.

  • smoogleton says:

    Shaw is a promoter, it has nothing to do with guilting anyone, and Shields being Top 5 and Le being top 10 aren’t even a big stretch. This is much ado about nothing

  • Jay K. says:


    After rereading your article and your comments, I cant’ agree. Niether promoter can claim objectivity when both are in the business of marketing. Thus, the reason those two mental heavyweights go for the cheap shot. Heck, I can make an arguement that Silva is the best p4p fighter out there. Convincingly! GSP should be second to Silva because of his loss to Serra. This is a a “What have you done for me lately?” sport. Not a “well so and so beat that guy several years ago, but he still should matter.”

    It doesn’t work like that. It should be more along the lines of: Show up, put out, kick ass, get your ranking.

    Jay K.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    I agree with Shields being top five. The argument is whether he is number the number one welterweight in the world. As far as Le, there are a lot of people with you that would disagree whether he’s top 10.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I’m not sure Shaw was really suggesting where “his” fighters should be ranked. His reference to fights with UFC fighters suggests his agenda is to eventually have joint promotions between fighters from both orgs, thereby increasing his revenues and the stature of his fighters and Elite. If he can start enough dialogue in MMA about the possibility, he increases the possibility it will happen. Failing that, he can say that White/UFC are ducking his fighters. That kind of rhetoric also helps him promote his guys.

    That having been said, Shields doesn’t have the record to justify Shaw’s claim. Le might actually be top ten, but until he fights a highly ranked opponent with legit grappling and submissions, he hasn’t proved it.

  • Glock says:

    A non-story as echoed above by others “and Shaw is a what?”
    Whew, this and a kimbo story in one day…

  • Mike says:

    Sam I agree with you on GSP. He is definitely the best P4P.

  • Mikee says:

    I strongly disagree with you Sam. Although GSP is a phenomenal fighter I do not believe that he deserves the number one ranking as P4P fighter in the MMA world. He has been unbelievable in his performances but he has been very suspect in some as well. Just going over his fights with Penn and Serra. While you can argue the Serra fight could have been a fluke, he was outclassed in his match against Penn. Aside from the split decision victory from an out of shape Penn, it just proves to me that Penn had the4 greater natural ability and talent and more well rounded technique that I think puts him above St.Pierre in that particular category. Plus looking at Silva, holy crap is that guy just tearing through people with ease. I’m through typing, this one was too long. Just venting.


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