When UFC 200 goes down in July — just a couple of months away now — it will mark a historic moment for the UFC. In a sport as young as mixed martial arts, milestones such as this are major feats. After all, there was a point in the UFC’s history where it looked like the promotion might not make it. The “human cockfighting” days, the days when many cable companies wouldn’t carry their PPVs. Right up until Zuffa purchased the organization, and even after — especially given how close the Fertittas and Dana White came to pulling the plug prior to The Ultimate Fighter taking off.

While the sport may still have survived, possibly in the form of Pride, it’s difficult to say how popular it would be today. As much as it’s easy to criticize the UFC on issues like fighter pay and the Reebok deal, not to mention Dana White’s disastrous approach to public relations, there’s no question that the passion for the business expressed by those running the UFC ship is a huge part of why the sport is where it is now — a global phenomenon that is continuing to expand.

It seems that UFC 200, however, appears to be overlooking the promotion’s history. Absent from this historic card seems to be any link to the company’s past, despite several legends of the sport still being active. It’s absolutely shocking that Anderson Silva was never booked for UFC 200, for example. Though he recently had to pull out due to gall bladder surgery, the fact that Silva was booked against Uriah Hall at UFC 198 in Brazil, rather than UFC 200 roughly six weeks later, was a bad booking decision through and through. Silva is considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, and UFC 200 is exactly where he belongs. Or would belong were he healthy.

Looking back at the last milestone event, UFC 100, you had the two biggest draws of the day, Brock Lesnar and Georges St. Pierre, at the top of the bill, with Lesnar taking on Frank Mir in a highly anticipated rematch. Then there was Mark Coleman, the inaugural UFC heavyweight champion and winner of UFC 10 and UFC 11, fighting on the preliminary card. Also on the card was a then up-and-coming young fighter: Jon Jones, who would choke out Jake O’Brien that night.

The past, present, and future of MMA were represented. Yet that’s something UFC 200 has struggled with. At least when it comes to the past.

Sure, there are three title fights. That’s pretty amazing in and of itself, until you consider that two are rematches. Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier 2 is a fight that has to happen, so fair enough, but it seems unlikely that it will top their first fight, inside or outside of the cage. Meanwhile, Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo 2 is a fight that might have been given a pass a year and a half ago, but at this point, it’s a bout fans really don’t need to see. The real fight to make was and always has been Edgar vs. Conor McGregor for the featherweight title, but sadly, that will have to wait for another day — if it ever does get booked.

Takanori Gomi is on the UFC 200 card, as is Diego Sanchez, and can arguably be said to represent the promotion’s past, but neither is a former champ in the UFC, as storied as their careers have been. T.J. Dillashaw was added, in a rematch against Raphael Assuncao (maybe rematches are the story of UFC 200), but his title reign was too recent to really count towards the “historic” aspect of this historic event.

Where was Silva in the planning? Shogun Rua (also booked for UFC 198), Lyoto Machida, or even B.J. Penn? Penn would have been the perfect addition to UFC 200; instead, he’s now fighting Cole Miller at UFC 199. Even non-champs who have been around the organization for a while — say Michael Bisping, or Dan Henderson — would be welcome additions.

To be fair, UFC 200 is not a bad card. In fact, it’s a great card — but the fact remains that it’s missing the two biggest stars in the promotion, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, and lacks any of the great fighters of old who are still active. We’re not asking for Dan Severn to be added to the line-up (though he’d probably take the fight), but a nod to the past is crucial for a card as historic as this.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.