After a worldwide pandemic that ended the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony a year ago, the 2020 class was finally set for Thursday night in Las Vegas.
The night was concluded by former two-division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre, who was inducted into the Modern Era while being considered the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Fellow UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie introduced St-Pierre, who retired from competition in 2019 while holding a number of records, including the most title defenses in the welterweight division (9), the most victories in the welterweight division ( 19) and the most takedowns in UFC history (90).
St-Pierre remains one of only a handful of fighters who have ever held titles in two different divisions. He concluded his long reign at welterweight and then won the UFC middleweight title in his final fight in 2017.
Now St-Pierre can add the UFC Hall of Fame to his long list of accolades.
“I always wanted to be a champion, but it also meant a lot to me to have a positive impact on my sport,” said St-Pierre. “To change the game. When I retired from the competition, I did with great pride that I had made this impact.
“It’s funny. I never really enjoyed fighting. It’s a weird thing to say from a Hall of Famer, but I never enjoyed it. If I could pinch my fingers for every fight to play forward and “to open my eyes and the battle was over, I would have done it every time. I did it because I could have the freedom, the health, the wealth and the life that I have.”
Kevin Randleman Posthumously honored in Pioneer Wing
Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman was posthumously inducted into the Pioneer Wing in the Hall of Fame after a 15-year fighting career that began after he was a two-time NCAA champion from Ohio State University.
Praised for his unbelievable athletics, Randleman was the fifth ever heavyweight champion in UFC history before finally going to the PRIDE Fighting Championships.
It was there that Randleman pulled off one of the biggest upsets in MMA history when he hit Mirko CroCop knockout with a cruel left hook followed by his signature ground and pound.
Unfortunately, Randleman died in 2016 after a brief battle with pneumonia.
For his inauguration into the UFC Hall of Fame, Randleman was first introduced by former opponent Bas Rutten, who later became one of his closest friends. He was then on stage with Randleman’s wife Elizabeth, his son Santino and his best friend and another UFC Hall of Famer, Mark Coleman.
“Kevin Randleman was an extraordinary man,” Elizabeth Randleman said of her husband. “He loved and respected the sport with every inch of him. Hard work, never give up, baby. Despite being such a beast in the cage, there was another side to Kevin. Because he was one of the nicest souls you have ever met.
“Kevin was such an incredibly humble person and he had experienced so much, but he always managed to get in the other side of what was dark.”
Coleman also paid tribute to his friend after first meeting Randleman while he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State before they both became MMA champions. Coleman remained in Randleman’s corner from the first fight of his career until his last and he was proud to honor him on Thursday night.
“Kevin, you did it,” Coleman said. “You made it to the UFC Hall of Fame.”
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson by UFC 165 Honor in Fight Wing
Considered one of the greatest title fights in UFC history, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson were honored for their epic warfare at UFC 165 back in 2013.
The back-and-forth battle was the first time so far that Jones was shot on the sidelines after running essentially rough through the heavyweight division. That night, Gustafsson Jones gave everything he could handle and more, as they were in a devastating and bloody battle for 25 consecutive minutes.
Eventually, Jones was able to reverse Gustafsson’s progress to secure the victory, but that was still the toughest test of his entire career.
“That was such a tough fight,” Jones said during the ceremony. “Thank you Alex for being a part of it. Alex taught me a lot about myself.
“That fight with Alexander Gustafsson was one of the hardest things I had to do in my career. The fourth and fifth rounds I had to get something out that I did not know I had in me.”
Unfortunately, Gustafsson was unable to attend the event due to travel restrictions, although he sent a message along with his thanks for the honor.
As for Jones, he welcomed two of his coaches on stage – striking coach Brandon Gibson and wrestling coach Israel Martinez – and also managed to give a brief update on his heavyweight future in the UFC, while revealing that he is currently 250 pounds weighs in with plans to pack in at least another 20 pounds before competing again in 2022.
“I want to make Francis [Ngannou] look small, ”Jones told the crowd in Las Vegas. “That will be hard to do.”
Marc Ratner Introduced in the UFC Hall of Fame Contributor Wing
Already a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner can now add UFC Hall of Fame to his growing list of accolades.
The former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission was dragged into the staff floor after the relentless efforts he made to expand MMA legalization, including a decade-long struggle to finally get the sport in New York State. get.
Ratner has also served as the supervisor for the UFC as the promotion travels to countries where there is no official athletic commission, which means he assists in the appointment of referees and judges, as well as overseeing all other facets of a show operation. .
“To say I’m overwhelmed is not even the right word,” Ratner said when accepting the award.
Over the course of his 15-year career at the UFC, Ratner has personally witnessed all 50 states in the U.S., as well as dozens of others from around the world legalizing MMA. He was introduced by former UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who served alongside Rather in the Nevada Athletic Commission, as well as UFC management officer Lawrence Epstein.
Dustin Poirier receives inauguration Forrest Griffin Community Award for The Good Fight Foundation
What began as an auction of his charitable uniforms for charity has now been transformed into its own non-profit organization, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for underprivileged communities.
That’s what led to former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier receiving the first ever Forrest Griffin Community Award, which was presented during the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Through his Good Fight Foundation, Poirier has done everything from building a playground for children with special needs to buying child car seats for new moms in his native Louisiana to building water wells in Uganda.
As part of his award, Poirier’s Good Fight Foundation will also receive a $ 25,000 donation from the UFC so he can continue to do charitable work in his entire community and other goals around the world.
“It’s a real honor to be the first recipient of the Forrest Griffin Community Award,” Poirier said. “It’s so great for the Good Fight Foundation to be recognized for all the good it has done to the underprivileged communities in Louisiana and now further at this point.”
Before leaving the stage, Poirier fought back tears, while also recognizing Suzy Friton, the longtime UFC-made-up party who recently died after a long battle with cancer.