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In mixed martial arts, most controversy centers on the proper method for determining the first lineal MMA champion within each weight class.
Early fights did not follow the currently agreed upon weight classes determined by the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, a rule set that was not finalized until the year 2000.
The board only awards vacant championships when the two top-ranked fighters in any division meet, and currently recognizes legitimate world champions or "true champions" each weight classes.
After The Ring lost its credibility, many boxing historians and boxing analysts viewed the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board as the most complete version of lineal championship and the most authoritative rankings in boxing today.
This included Japanese promotions such as Pride Fighting Championships, Pancrase, and Dream as well as US-based promotions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), World Extreme Cage Fighting (WEC) and Strikeforce.
The UFC eventually purchased most of the major promotions and, as a result, all of the lineal champions are currently signed with the promotion.
Cyber Boxing Zone and Boxing Scene considered Zsolt Erdei the lineal light-heavyweight champion from his 2004 defeat of Julio César González until 2009, when he vacated his title and moved up to cruiserweight; as he had not fought the highest-ranked opponents in the interim, Cliff Rold conceded, "while the concept of a champion needing to lose a title in the ring is solid, the practice is sometimes highly flawed".One example given by Cliff Rold of Boxing Scene is the light heavyweight title, considered vacant from the time Michael Spinks went up to heavyweight in 1985 until some time in the 1990s.While Rold considers Virgil Hill's defeat of Henry Maske as the beginning of the next line of succession, as does Cyber Boxing Zone, Another criticism of the lineal championship is that a fighter may defend it against inferior opponents.Since 2012, to reduce the number of vacant titles, The Ring allows fights between a #1 or #2 contender and a #3, #4, or #5 contender to fill a vacant title.This has prompted further doubts about its credibility.