There was a surprise announcement made during Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 128 telecast, as the world’s leading MMA promotion revealed that former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra will be the next inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame. Serra, who retired following a decision loss to Chris Lytle back at UFC 119 in September 2010, will be inducted into the pioneer wing of the HOF, and the UFC will hold a ceremony for his induction during International Fight Week this July in Las Vegas, Nevada. Along with Serra, the late Bruce Connal will be inducted as a contributor during the same ceremony.
After the UFC revealed the plans to induct Serra into the HOF, observers of the sport went to social media immediately to voice their opinions on whether or not this was a deserving honor. Below, I’ll give the arguments as to why Serra deserves his selection into the HOF, and the arguments as to why he doesn’t deserve it.
Let’s start with why Serra deserves it. There’s no doubt when it comes to the word pioneer Serra is one of the guys that immediately comes to mind, especially when it comes to the New York and New Jersey fight scene and also the Brazilian jiu-jitsu scene. Serra was one of the first guys to come out of the NY/NJ area to really make a name for himself in MMA, and he also was one of the best BJJ guys in the 2000s. After a number of fights during the UFC’s dark ages, Serra became a household name when he won The Ultimate Fighter and earned himself a welterweight title shot. After winning the show, Serra fought Georges St-Pierre and in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, he won via shocking first-round TKO at UFC 69 in April 2007 to take home the title. That was the high point of Serra’s career and he only won one more fight after that, but the GSP win is still one of the greatest moments in MMA history and Serra pretty much made a name for himself off of it. In many ways, the win over GSP is why the UFC is justifying his spot in the HOF.
Now let’s go to the counter-argument as to why Serra doesn’t deserve it. First of all, Serra’s MMA record of 11-7 isn’t very good, and his 7-7 record in the UFC isn’t very impressive either. Yes, there are other fighters like Maurice Smith who have similar .500 records, but they also had more fights. Not only does Serra not have a great record, but he had less than 20 fights, which is the least amount of pro fights for anyone in the Hall of Fame. Sure, you can make the argument Serra was fighting top guys, but outside of GSP, his next-biggest win would be Yves Edwards or Frank Trigg, and while those are decent wins, they aren’t great by any means. Even his win on The Ultimate Fighter was controversial as most thought Lytle deserved to win the decision in that fight. The win over GSP is obviously amazing and it looks incredible when we consider how much of a great athlete GSP became, but other than that, Serra never really had a super-impressive performance in the UFC. In many ways, the UFC Hall of Fame is a popularity contest, and just looking at the arguments for and against Serra’s HOF induction and it seems –outside of the GSP fight — his friendship with UFC president Dana White is the main reason why he’s getting in.
Personally, I wouldn’t induct Serra into the HOF and feel like it sets a low bar. Sure, you can say guys like Stephan Bonnar are in the Hall, but I didn’t agree with him getting in either. I agree that Serra beating GSP was an amazing moment and I recognize how important he’s been to the MMA scene in the northeast, but I just can’t agree with Serra going into the HOF when fighters like Frank Shamrock aren’t in it because Dana White doesn’t get along with them. If this was another sport and writers voted for the HOF, I highly doubt Serra would have got in. I’m not trying to hate on Serra. By all accounts, he seems like a great person and someone who has contributed in a positive way to the sport of mixed martial arts. But Hall of Famer? To me, this is a poor selection and I can’t get behind it. I don’t expect the UFC to ever justify or explain why they put Serra into it, but really looking at it, it seems like this is a politically-driven decision and Serra’s friendship with White is why he’s being recognized, because when you look at merit, Serra falls short of Hall of Fame standards.
Do you think Matt Serra is a UFC Hall of Famer? Give your thoughts below.