The UFC's High-Stakes Game: A Deep Dive into the Build-Up to UFC 300

Amidst the anticipation surrounding the landmark UFC 300 event, the mixed martial arts world found itself embroiled in controversy and disappointment, as the selection of Jamahal Hill and Alex Pereira to headline the spectacle ignited fervent debate

by Sededin Dedovic
The UFC's High-Stakes Game: A Deep Dive into the Build-Up to UFC 300
© Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Many names have been floating around regarding the UFC 300 event, especially regarding the title fight of the historic UFC spectacle. For days we didn't know what the main event was, and many names were mentioned in connection with the fight.

Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Tom Aspinall, Stipe Miocic, Israel Adesanya, Leon Edwards, Khamzat Chimaev, Dricus Du Plessis and even Brock Lesnar. Jamahal Hill and Alex Pereira are set to headline UFC 300. Alex Pereira's name has been constantly brought up in discussions, with Tom Aspinall and Israel Adesanya often among the potential opponents.

However, in a twist of fate, Jamahal Hill emerged as the chosen candidate. First, it is important to clarify the position of Jamahal Hill. He is undoubtedly a skilled fighter, even a former light heavyweight champion who politely relinquished his title due to a severe Achilles tendon injury.

However, Hill did not reach the spectacular star power that UFC fans had hoped for. Regardless of everything, the main event of such an event as UFC 300 should be translated by the two biggest stars of the organization. While Hill is undeniably an attractive fighter, he doesn't quite rise to the echelon of the organization's biggest names.

Moreover, Hill has been out of action since January 2023, spending time in the meantime recovering from a serious injury that will surely affect his performances.

Johnny Walker of Brazil and Jamahal Hill face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in© Handout / Getty images

A perusal of fans' comments and reactions on social media paints a picture of palpable discontent.

Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, there was no support for this main event, which must have given the UFC management a headache. "We've had three outstanding events leading up to UFC 300, and at this point, anything can happen, and we've got to pull through.

You have no idea the intricacies behind the scenes. We've been talking about UFC 300 for quite some time, trying to put together the best fights we can . We have two more matches to finalize for this event," was Dana White's remark, apparently trying to justify the main event selection.

The fact that White feels compelled to offer some form of justification serves as a tacit admission. Less than a month ago, Dana White promised that "the main event was going to be absolutely stellar," a promise that apparently went unfulfilled.

While UFC 297 may not have earned the tag of "outstanding event," White may have been referring to UFC 296, which did indeed look promising, at least on paper. UFC 298 and UFC 299 were also packed with exciting matchups. But the importance of the UFC 300 event should be taken into account and the fight card would have to be more attractive than the previous 3 events.

Some of the organization's names have been used for events right before UFC 300. For example, the fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria undoubtedly carries more weight on paper than the upcoming showdown between Hill and Pereira.

Saving Volkanovski and Topuria for UFC 300, with Volkanovski benefiting from an extended break after a tough loss to Islam Makhachev, could have been a prudent move. All told, the UFC was able to keep certain matches for UFC 300, but they ran into a number of unforeseen circumstances.

Conor McGregor is unlikely to return, Jon Jones is recovering from injury and Islam Makhachev is also unavailable due to injury and Ramadan fasting. Ramadan fasting similarly prevented Chimaev from participating in the UFC 300 event.

Another dilemma arises regarding the naming of Hill and Pereira as headliners for the UFC 300 event. Recently, the UFC confirmed the UFC 301 event, which is scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro. The main Brazilian star in the UFC, Alex Pereira, will be unavailable due to his performance at UFC 300, so now the question arises as to who will translate the upcoming event in Brazil.

Pereira certainly won't be gracing the Octagon just 20 days after the UFC 300 event, regardless of the outcome of the bout. Well, it's very likely that we won't even watch UFC in Brazil at that time. The problem would have been less pronounced if Charles Oliveira had been hired to lead in Rio de Janeiro.

"Do Bronx" is another great MMA star and favorite of the Brazilian audience who earned respect a long time ago. But the UFC made an "interesting" move there as well by putting Oliveira on UFC 300. It wouldn't be surprising if Oliveira's fight against Arman Tsarukyan ends up being moved to the UFC 301 event in order to save the event.

Dana White is right when he claims that "we don't know what's going on behind the scenes." Their call is by no means easy it must be admitted, indeed many things affect the negotiation of the fight and the composition of each event.

The UFC 300 event boasts an impressive fight card, but they've made things incredibly complicated for the next two events.

Alex Pereira