MMA tournaments: How to, how not to

The UFC started with a simple concept — eight men, one tournament, one winner.

Since then, the “tournament” idea has remained but has been spread over more time. Japanese promotions have often held quarterfinals one night, then held semifinals and finals on the same night a couple of months later. Strikeforce will do the same with a women’s tournament Friday night (11 p.m. ET, Showtime).

Bellator, which opens its third season tonight (check with your local FSN affiliate) has opted for season-long tournaments over a couple of months. The UFC isn’t such a fan of the tournament concept, but that’s essentially what you get in The Ultimate Fighter.

Shine Fights has announced an old-school fight card next month in Fairfax, Va. Eight fighters — some notable — fighting up to three times during the night for a tournament title.

Several reasons why this is a tricky concept:

1. No time to promote. With The Ultimate Fighter, we know the fighters by the time they reach the final.

2. Logistics. Shuffling fighters in and out can be a challenge.

3. Fatigue and trivial injuries that can affect the outcomes. When one fighter has a brutal quarterfinal bout and the other sails through with ease, who do you suppose gets the win? And heaven forbid someone breaks a finger or gets a cut that would normally clear up in a couple of weeks but causes him to forfeit the next fight.

4. Serious injuries. Dr. Johnny Benjamin explains.

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