‘BMF’ title is back at UFC 291, but is it here to stay?
The “BMF” title was born out of an attitude or a vibe, if you will, not merit, thanks to Nate Diaz. It was after the Stockton, Calif., bad boy’s UFC 241 win over Anthony Pettis, on Aug. 17, 2019, that the seeds were planted for a championship belt to be made.
“With this belt, I want to defend it against – Jorge Masvidal had a good last fight. Good last fight,” Diaz told the Southern California crowd that night during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, referring to Masvidal’s five-second knockout of Ben Askren. “All respect to the man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him. So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”
Then backstage during the UFC 241 post-event news conference, Diaz took it a step further.
“This is the fight game,” Diaz said. “Quit acting like this is a professional sport. (Take) whatever they want to give me? No, I’m going to take what’s mine. That’s what I’m talking about, the baddest mother(expletive) title. I need that belt made as soon as possible.”
The UFC heard that and ran with it. Not long afterward, a “BMF” title fight between Diaz and Masvidal was booked to headline UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden, where Dwayne “The Rock” Johson was invited to strap the belt around the winner’s waist.
That turned out to be Masvidal, who won by third-round doctor’s stoppage TKO, the result of a cut along Diaz’s right eyebrow. For the next four years, Masvidal often bragged about being the “BMF” champion – a title he never defended since it was expected to be a one-off – until he announced his retirement this past April.
What did that even mean: “BMF” champion? In reality, nothing. Nevertheless, another “BMF” title fight will headline a pay-per-view when Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje meet in a rematch of their 2018 Fight of the Year on Saturday night at UFC 291 from Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
Whether or not the “BMF” title, which isn’t tied to a division, will continue to be a thing, nobody knows for sure. But UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner indicated if and how often it is will be up to promotion president Dana White.
“I think it just has to naturally evolve. I don’t think you could have it a yearly thing,” Ratner told MMA Junkie Radio. “Dana has a great feel for these kind of things, and if the timing is right, that’s what we’ll do. It won’t be every July or anything, no. It’s fun; it’s exciting.”
Fans and media seem split on what is essentially a fake championship used as a marketing tool. But as Gaethje indicated in late May, to the victor goes the opportunity to increase his pay through pay-per-view points, same as actual UFC champions.
Also going for this “BMF” title fight in particular? Both Poirier and Gaethje are worthy of a “baddest motherf*cker” moniker, as evidenced by their combined 24 fight-night bonuses – 13 for Poirier, 11 for Gaethje.
“They both come to fight,” Ratner said. “Altitude could play a part, but I think they’ve been training for a long time, and they’re both ready. I look forward to it being a war. And neither guy will back up, so you know it’s gonna be action.”
On that note, maybe just sit back and enjoy this one.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 291.