UFC tries to erase Francis Ngannou and an old school star from history

The UFC falsely claimed that Tafon Nchukwi was the first Cameroonian fighter in UFC history, erasing Francis Ngannou and Thierry Sokoudjou.

By: Nate Wilcox | 1 month ago

The UFC falsely claimed that Tafon Nchukwi was the first Cameroonian fighter in the promotion’s history. Francis Ngannou was quick to correct the record.

The UFC falsely claimed that Tafon Nchukwi was the first Cameroonian fighter in UFC history.
The UFC falsely claimed that Tafon Nchukwi was the first Cameroonian fighter in UFC history.

The UFC likes to rewrite history and did it again Saturday

Sure it was just a chryon on screen at Saturday’s hardly-seen and less-discussed UFC Fight Night Luque vs Dos Anjos event but still. Fortunately the champ was gracious and thoughtfully corrected the record to include Thierry Sokoudjou a breakout star from Pride who stunned the MMA world with back-to-back KO’s of fearsome Brazilian starts Antônio Rogério Nogueira and Ricardo Arona before coming to the UFC.

The UFC is into erasure like Stalin

Behavior like this on the part of MMA’s monopsony promotion is the reason memes like this exist. It’s a reference to former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his fondness for altering historic photos to remove rivals and colleagues he’d taken out in various purges.

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Here’s some background on the topic from the History Channel:

“Stalin didn’t have Photoshop—but that didn’t keep him from wiping the traces of his enemies from the history books. Even the famous photo of Soviet soldiers raising their flag after the Battle of Berlin was altered.

“Compare a photo taken in the 1930s of five Communist Party officials in the USSR and you’ll see Avel Enukidze, photographed next to Soviet premier Vyacheslav Molotov and others. But during Josef Stalin’s Great Purge, the onetime member of the Communist party’s highest governing body was deemed an enemy of the state and executed by firing squad. 

“Then, he disappeared from Soviet photographs, too, his existence blotted out by a retouched suit on another official from the original photo.

“Enukidze’s erasure was the product of a real conspiracy to change public perception in the USSR during Joseph Stalin’s dictatorship. Stalin’s commitment to censorship and photo doctoring was so strong that, at the height of the Soviet Union’s international power, he rewrote history using photo alteration. The stakes weren’t just historical: Each erasure meant a swing of Stalin’s loyalties, and most disappeared subjects also disappeared (or were killed) in real life, too.”

The UFC uses that eraser a lot, ask Frank Shamrock

For example, there’s one all-time great you won’t see in the UFC Hall of Fame: Frank Shamrock. Shamrock was not only my personal all-time favorite fighter, he’s also the fighter who first exemplified a truly well-rounded game combining catch wrestling learned at big brother Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den with submissions honed in Pancrase and striking studied under kickboxing and UFC champ Maurice Smith.

I’ve long argued he belongs in the UFC Hall of Fame.

Shamrock tore off an amazing series of victories over Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Jackson, EFC champ Igor Zinoviev and Tito Ortiz to establish Light Heavyweight (then called Middleweight) as the UFC’s marquee division.

But Frank didn’t get along with Dana White and that was that. He’s been forgotten.

The Athletic made the Hall of Fame case for Frank:

“…what makes Shamrock’s UFC Hall of Fame case so solid is that so many MMA watchers clings to the idea that, as much as anyone, he deserves to be included among the pioneers, modern-era fighters, behind-the-scenes contributors and all-time-great bouts that the promotion has welcomed into the club.

“I certainly think I was the best of my era,” Shamrock said. “I think like technology continues to progress, I’d love to say I’m the greatest of all time, but version 6 is usually better than version 1. But I can certainly say from version 2 to 3, I was the absolute best. And then my work outside of the space as a spokesman, broadcaster, activist and entrepreneur with Strikeforce, I can certainly say I was the best at that. That was truly my passion.”

“Shamrock’s first UFC appearance came in 1997, when the fight promotion was beginning to suffer from heavy-handed political and cultural forces.

“Taking place in Japan, which Shamrock knew well having spent the majority of his career in the Pancrase organization, his debut with the promotion lasted only 16 seconds after armbarring Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kevin Jackson from the bottom to claim the very first UFC light heavyweight title.

“Three months later, Shamrock picked up and drove Igor Zinoviev headfirst into the canvas, creating an all-time great highlight that lasts as long as the fight itself. The vicious 22-second knockout propelled Shamrock toward a new stratosphere even as the walls around the company closed in.”

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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