Ramp It Up
There are very few issues that rally the MMA community in one unified front, but there is one issue that not only brings fans together, but also has nothing to do with the fight itself. It’s an inanimate object that plays no role during the fight, doesn’t have any impact on the outcome of the fight, but can elicit such emotion in the fans that its loss has always been a sore subject with fans. I am speaking of ‘The Ramp’.
In the early days of the UFC, fighters would walk down a ramp on their way to the cage/ring with thousands of adoring fans peering up at them with goose bumps. The ramp is a simple piece of equipment that adds so much to the overall production and spectacle of the event. Some smaller shows still may use them and Pride always had them, along with a ton of other special effects that made Pride events a can’t miss, but more on that in another article.
Some say that the pyro and ramps make MMA look more like WWE than a combat sport but I disagree. I don’t need all of the showmanship as Pride had back in the day with dancers and a whole stage show, but just a simple ramp. I would rather see a fighter walk down a ramp than fighting their way through a crowd of people, all the time trying not to get their sponsor’s hat stolen by some drunken idiot fan (this new “thing” that has started happening is really annoying I think we can all agree on that). With the security guards, corner men and fans reaching out it is virtually impossible to even see a fighter at times without the camera starring them in the face.
Don’t get me wrong, the lowering of the lights and the blaring of the fighter’s signature song are enough to give you goose bumps (seriously if you haven’t seen a live show, you must it is truly amazing). It doesn’t make me enjoy the event any less, it doesn’t make me upset when I think about it, and when the fight is exciting and good, most people don’t even recall the entrance, but I for one, still want it back.
Remembering some of the classic entrances over the years and thinking how even more amazing they would be now with the money the UFC can spend on events makes me want it more. Just imagine Tito Ortiz recreating his UFC 32 entrance or his entrance from Vendetta for his recent fight at UFC 132 vs. Ryan Bader. The entrance coupled with his emotional win would have blown the roof off of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
As I said I don’t need the whole dog and pony show and flamboyance of a Pride stadium show (which again for the newer fans, must be seen to really appreciate it). However, I do feel the ramp would give enough showmanship to the event without being too over the top that it doesn’t seem far-fetched to bring it back. Those fighters that wish to stay focused and not go over the top with their entrance can still walk out with their team and enter the cage. But could you imagine the spectacle that someone like ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor could make if he was given a ramp to walk out to his next UFC fight. I would have to think that hardcore fans and casual fans alike would be talking about it weeks after the event.
I don’t want to get too off topic and just start discussing awesome entrances but I will say, to all the TUF Noobs out there, YouTube some Genki Sudo, some Sexyama, a few Sakuraba and even a little Mayhem just to see what truly awesome entrances look like. These are obviously a few “over the top” entrances and would obviously not be seen every fight, but these are the entrances that get talked about weeks, months, years after the event takes place. Much like GSP did in an effort to get a title shot, I am on my knees begging Dana White and the rest of the powers that be; bring back the ramp, if only for big time shows….PLEASE, if not for the ratings, simply just for the fans.