Rattling the Cage Book Review: UFC Encyclopedia by Thomas Gerbasi

Sunday, February 5th, 2012 by Tony Reid

The architect behind this amazing project, Thomas Gerbasi, did a masterful job of gathering anything and everything from the 18 year history of the UFC and displaying it in this book in a very organized and concise fashion. If you are not familiar with Mr. Gerbasi’s work just take one look at ufc.com and you will quickly see that he is the man behind many of the in depth fighter features found on the site, which is some of the best work anywhere. This thing we call the UFC Encyclopedia is monstrous literally and figuratively. I personally, am a collector, a completist, a person that likes to have everything there is to be had right in front of me and I like to have everything all in one place and I like that to be right at my fingertips! With this book, I could not ask for more. From David “Tank” Abbott (or D.L Abbott, if your nasty) to Yoshiyuki Yoshida and everyone in between, you can read and relive the bios of every fighter that has ever stepped foot in the Octagon. Many of the lesser known guys have a 1/6 page section or something just a touch bigger that lists their height, weight, date of birth and the like but the more well known and important members of the Zuffa family have multiple pages to cover their entire careers. You can tell the importance of the fighter by the size of their bio. Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, GSP and other legends have two, three, four or more pages while Andre Roberts and Tim Lajcik well, not so much. I might be nitpicking here but there is the noticeable absence of anything SEG (Semaphore Entertainment Group) related. This company founded the UFC and the sport in general and should be included on some level here. A number of the early personalities are absent as well from Jeff Blatnick and other personalities that had a huge hand in the early growth of the sport up to current matchmaker Joe Silva. There are over 300 fighters featured, so I will shut my mouth and just be more than happy with what we have here.

As far as the UFC events go, you can relive every single one of them from UFC 1 “The Beginning” all the way up to UFC 130 (including the highlights and the results of every single fight from each event) in that particular section of the book. There are a number of great images including action shots from each event and the event poster/DVD cover, which is a touch that I am a big fan of. This also includes the Ultimate Ultimates and UFC Fight Night events. If you do the math, that is over 170 full events, son.

Another very interesting addition is that of the UFC Leaderboard. This section lists numerous stats such as “Most UFC Bouts” and “Most UFC Wins” all the way to the more obscure stats such as “Strikes per Minute”. All of which are very cool and interesting. By the way Junior Dos Santos is at the number one spot in “Strikes per Minute” with an amazing 7.12! We also get schooled on the complete history and rundown of the UFC Championships and titleholders in each weight class. The book lists every single title holder at each weight class over the course of the UFC’s existence. We aren’t done yet with the information covered here as the entire The Ultimate Fighter show is covered season by season, listing coaches, team members, highlights and season winners.

The retail price of the book is $50.00 which is much cheaper the any encyclopedia Britannica collection I have ever seen and this one is far, far cooler. The book is heavy so make sure you hit the gym for a few days before trying to carry it for more than a few seconds. The photography is fantastic, which is a nice compliment to all of the written information covered here. The book is truly a great reference for any fan of the UFC or MMA in general, whether you are a newbie or a die hard fan from way back, you can learn a thing or two from this great reference. Go out, buy it, read it cover to cover and add it to your coffee table to refer to any time you and your buddies have an argument about anything UFC related. You will have the ultimate tool right at your fingertips!