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by Archives October 6, 2009

Whether you love it or hate it, almost every MMA article will be graced by the UFC’s presence. In this article I hope to highlight organizations within North America besides the UFC, yet of course to speak of their opposite is to imply their presence. So there I said it: UFC. Enjoy.
While some may speak against the UFC and the level of talent their fighters possess, one must understand that the UFC is comprised of the elite fighters from smaller, regional promotions. These promotions cater to hardcore fans and launch the careers of many stars.
In fact, some smaller promotions, such as King of the Cage, have a marketing campaign geared towards highlighting UFC veterans who previously graced their bloody mats.
And of course, when fighters are released from the UFC for dismal performances and multiple losses, these smaller organizations are foaming at the mouths to purchase a big name for their next small event.
A case is point would be this past weekend’s MFC 22. The Alberta-based promotion was able to set up a headlining fight between Ultimate Fighter season four winner Travis Lutter (10-5) and Canadian standout Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald (21-12). Lutter being dropped by the UFC after failing to make weight for a title-fight against Anderson Silva( 25-4) and topped off by a second round TKO loss to Rich Franklin (26-5). As for MacDonald, he fell twice in a row against Wilson Gouveia (12-6) and Nate Quarry (12-3) after a going back-and-forth against several previous opponents, which led to his release from his UFC contract.
Also on the card were UFC veterans: Luigi Fioravanti (15-6), John Alessio (26-13), Marvin Eastman (16-11-1), Pete Spratt (20-15), Mike Nickels (8-2) and David Heath (13-6).
To understand the abilities fighters are coming in with as UFC ‘newcomers’ would be helped by looking at detailed retrospect of their career is smaller venues.
Remember Gerald Harris (13-2)? Probably not. He was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter’s seventh season’s middleweight tournament. Gerald Harris looked good, but certainly not the best in the house, and he would lose to the eventual winner, Amir Sadollah (1-1).
Harris was not even offered a spot on the shows live season finale, but last month he was able to win the Texas-based Shark Fights promotions middleweight title in a match against Nissen Osterneck (6-3), a UFC and WEC veteran.
Also, people did not warm up to the Miller brothers, Dan (11-2) and Jim (15-2) as quickly as their skills proved and records indicated.
Both brothers entered the UFC with two championship belts and one loss each.
Coincidentally both of their losses were in Reality Fighting against formidable opponents who as well became UFC fighters: Mike Massenzio (11-3) and Frankie Edgar (10-1) – Edgar also managed to take Jim’s lightweight belt in that loss.
As for the belts, Dan had one in the International Fight League (IFL) and Jim in the aforementioned Reality Fighting, as well as both being reigning champions in Atlantic City’s Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC).
Interestingly, Jim’s final defence of his CFFC belt was at CCFC V, which also saw Kimbo Slice’s (4-1) first fight outside of Youtube. Granted it was an exhibition match, he defeated legendary boxer Ray Mercer via Guillotine choke. And also on that card was Matt Serra’s (9-6) brother Nick Serra’s (4-3) welterweight championship match.
So if you thought little of small organizations, you should take a look at the pool of talent the UFC has and find out where they came from. MMA is unlike other professional sports, people like Georges St. Pierre did not attend university on a scholarship to then be drafted into the UFC’s welterweight division. No, he had to make his way, coming into the UFC as the undefeated welterweight champion of Montreal’s TKO Major League MMA.
So go check out a small show, sure there will be some rough necks swinging for the fences, but yuo’ll also find some diamonds in the rough, waiting for their big break.

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