For awhile it looked like “Promotion of the Year” would be the UFC by default for decades to come. After Elite XC, the IFL, BoDog, and Affliction all fell by the wayside, fans were just happy someone else had the cajones to promote on the national level. Strikeforce looked like a worthy successor to UFC competitors of old and Zuffa helped boost the WEC to unprecedented heights. MMA fans in America have never had so many quality options for martial arts action.
Adam Morgan: WEC
The easy choice here seems to be the UFC but a lot of times their cards never live up to the hype. In regards to the WEC we are given solid fight cards almost every time they put on a show. Whether it be the main event that steals the show, in the case of Miguel Torres versus Takeya Mizugaki or a double flying knee from Jose Aldo on the undercard, the WEC never failed to put out a solid product. Even a fight like Ben Henderson versus Donald Cerrone, where people figured Cerrone was going to easily handle Henderson, turned into one of the best fights of the year. WEC is the logical choice for promotion of the year just based upon quality of fights. UFC has all the hype but WEC provides the meat and potatoes.
Jeremy Botter: Strikeforce
They formed alliances with DREAM and M-1 Gloabl. They secured television deals with Showtime and CBS. They signed Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko away from the clutching hands of Dana White and the UFC. They signed Dan Henderson, a fighter coming off a star-making performance at UFC 100. And most importantly, they brought mixed martial arts back to the mainstream on network television with a November bout between Emelianenko and Brett Rogers that aired on CBS. Promoter Scott Coker says he’s not in a war with the UFC, but he’s either coy or delusional. Strikeforce brought out the big guns in 2010, and they’re aimed squarely at the UFC.
Brett Jones: UFC
With YAMMA out of the picture, the top dog was an easy choice. The largest promotion in MMA had it’s largest year to date in 2009, generating over $400 million in revenue and selling over 7.5 million pay-per-views. They also managed to sign Kimbo Slice who, despite his lack of credentials in MMA, breathed life into the stagnateUltimate Fighterseries, leading it to a new heights in both ratings and total viewers. The recent rash of injuries amongst UFC fighters may have curtailed the organizations success in the final two months of the year, but regardless, the monolithic organization in MMA once again led the way in the sport’s promotion.
Spencer Kyte: WEC
The UFC puts on the most shows and the biggest shows, but all year long, the WEC has delivered exciting fights and a high-quality product. Just in title fights alone this year, we’ve seen Varner – Cerrone, Torres – Mizugaki, Brown – Faber II, Torres – Bowles, Cerrone – Henderson and Brown – Aldo. That’s sit great title fights. Mix in all the high energy, very entertaining non-title fights and the WEC is the best of the best on my ballot.
(Tie Breaker) Jonathan Snowden: UFC
With due respect to the crazy people above, because some of my best friends are crazy people, there is no excuse for picking a promotion other than the UFC. Zuffa set records with UFC 100, provided a score of great fights, and even exceeded all previous ratings records for The Ultimate Fighter. It was another banner year for Dana and the boys and no one else, no matter how much I enjoy the WEC or Strikeforce, deserves to be promotion of the year.
Heavy.com Promotion of the Year: Ultimate Fighting Championship