It’s official. Well … it is sort of official. Former UFC welterweight champion and MMA pioneer, Pat Miletich, is set to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
While no official announcement has been made by the UFC, an official online schedule listing for the 2014 UFC Fan Expo confirms that Pat Miletich’s UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the Fan Expo on Sunday, July 6. Whatever past issues have taken place between Miletich, the UFC and UFC President Dana White, giving Miletich a well-deserved place in the UFC Hall of Fame is a great move for all involved.
During his illustrious career, Pat Miletich first won the UFC welterweight title in 1999. He defended the title four times before losing the belt to Carlos Newton in 2001. Newton would later lose the belt to Miletich’s protege, Matt Hughes, who became one of the greatest fighters and welterweights in MMA history.
Miletich will give the UFC Hall of Fame a greater sense of history. By inducting him, the UFC is acknowledging one of the pioneers who helped carry MMA through its darker days. The former fighter and current MMA broadcaster is unquestionably a legend and has earned his place in the Hall of Fame.
In the past, the UFC and the UFC Hall of Fame received critics from fans and pundits alike because fighters such as Miletich had not yet been inducted. I would argue that you cannot induct every single deserving legend into the Hall of Fame at once, even those who arguably deserve a spot more than others.
Last year, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar were inducted for the significance of their classic bout at The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale in 2005. Dana White long credited the bout as the reason the UFC was able to get where it is today.
In 2012, fans complained when Tito Ortiz was inducted instead of Frank Shamrock. Shamrock was undefeated in the UFC at 5-0 and was the former UFC light heavyweight champion. He defended the belt against Ortiz before Ortiz later became champion. However, the younger Shamrock and White have long been at odds with each other, which has likely prevented a potential Hall of Fame induction for Shamrock.
The UFC induction of Miletich will at least silence some of the critics who claim that the UFC Hall of Fame is nothing more than a Dana White popularity contest. Surely, some will complain that “it is about time for Miletich,” or “Miletich should have been inducted a long time ago.” But at the end of the day, does any of that really matter?
What matters is that Miletich deserves the induction, and it is happening in a matter of days. Congratulations to MMA legend Pat Miletich.