Nelson was a big fan of the Pride Grand Prix's when they ran from 2000 until the organization folded in 2007. He believes the tournament format took away any question about who truly was the best fighter at the time and allowed the true champion to be crowned.
"Here's the thing about tournaments, the cream always rises to the top and it's a good reset button," Nelson told MMA's Great Debate Radio. "It's good to have March Madness and you've got the Cinderella story. It's what made Pride great with the Grand Prix. It wasn't just Pride. It was because Pride always had the Grand Prix. You waited for that whether it was heavyweight or middleweight or whatever.
"The thing is everybody forgets the UFC was the originator of the tournament format. How did Royce Gracie win? Nobody would have picked Royce Gracie to win besides his parents who put the whole thing together. He still had to fight to take the politics out of their hands. He had to beat somebody to become champion."
Nelson isn't the first fighter to express an opinion about how someone does or doesn't receive a title shot in the UFC. This year alone two fighters have been matched up in title fights despite coming off losses (Nick Diaz at UFC 158, Chael Sonnen at UFC 159).
The benefit of the tournament, or in this case the Grand Prix, is that it takes away the politics of promotion and allows the best fighter left standing defined as the best in the world.
Most recently Strikeforce attempted their own version of a heavyweight grand prix with eight of the best in the division matched up in one tournament. Unfortunately, in the midst of the grand prix, the promotion ended up being sold to Zuffa (parent company of the UFC), and top stars like Alistair Overeem were forced out of the tournament due to injury and eventually exited the organization altogether.
Still, Nelson believes that if not for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix current top-ranked fighter Daniel Cormier could still be searching for the best way to be noticed in the sport.
"That's how Daniel Cormier got introduced and basically took a lot of the politics out of the game. At that point he rose to the top," Nelson said. "The Grand Prix's changed a lot of the politics and especially if you just did a real money format. Like at the end of the day there's a $10 million dollar prize or something stupid like that. People would tune into watch that just because it's a Grand Prix, it's a real Grand Prix."