Welcome back everyone,
I sure am glad I opened 2016 with a positive post because this post is a rant of sorts. Well, I will try not to be whiny, though this morning – it may prove very difficult indeed, and instead try to put together some thoughts that may explain what it is that’s behind the growing frustration I feel with regards to this great sport of MMA.
MMA is a relatively young sport and it is always evolving, inside the cage as well as on the outside. Rules and regulations have standardized, weight classes were put in place and don’t get me started on training methods and philosophies.
I think it’s safe to say that what evolved more than anything are – the fighters themselves. From specialized martial artists, they have become – the better ones at least – well-rounded fighters with well-defined emphasis on their natural advantages (and disadvantages).
For the most part, I’m happy with the direction the sport went to. I do not share the misguided nostalgic view of some fans who wish we’d go back to some “olden times” when fighters were paid peanuts to get into a potentially unsafe environment to fight someone twice their size.
No, I like the standardization, I like the professional outlook and I like that big money comes into the picture – to an extent.
Now, so far so good right? So why am I so frustrated?
Well, like anything really, MMA cannot keep evolving into a household mainstream sport as long as – what is supposed to be – supporting personnel and organizations don’t evolve along with it.
I will try to break it down point by point, so it makes some kind of sense:
- Weight Classes and fighter safety – I’ve written about this topic in the past, and in light of recent events I think it demands immediate attention. The last thing an organization like the UFC needs is a fighter dying, or severely injured due to an irresponsible weight cut. People may not like this, but additional weight classes (I’m looking at the gaps between 170/185 and 185/205 especially) may greatly help on two fronts.
- Weight cut risks – Fighters won’t need to cut so much weight prior to fights (a MW may be walking around at 205 lbs+ and a WW may be almost 205 himself), thus significantly reducing the risk of adverse reaction.
- Help the in-betweeners – There are fighters who may be small for their weight class, and the existence of a closer weight may provide them the opportunity to achieve more, without putting their health at such a great risk. Want some examples? Think Kelvin Gastelum, Johnny Hendricks or Nate Marquardt. something between MW and WW would be a perfect fit for them.
- Big Money/That Reebok Deal – On the one hand, that makes perfect sense. We want a sport that doesn’t look like a backyard production. A sport that the people viewing, won’t look down on. Great. But as it currently stands, it is unfairly tipped in the promoter/product’s favor. That, ladies and gents, is not how you treat fighters who quite literally risk their well-being for said promoter. Big money is good. But more money should be directed at the people taking the risk. Otherwise, the organization runs the risk of bleeding talent in the long run. Just my 2 cents on the big bucks.
- Rules adaptations – While I’m pleased with how well-rounded fighters are these days, it seems like there’s a place for some rules changes. The first one – in my most humble opinion – is scoring for TD defense. A takedown will count in the scorecards, but when a fighter prevents such attempt, it is ignored. I see no reason why. It’s a simple example of how rules may need to be adjusted in light of the progress that is made by fighters.
- PEDs – Sure, progress was made and I can’t be happier. Well, for the sake of the sport, and mostly the fighters themselves – I hope that this envelope would be pushed to the max. We do not want fighters ending their careers and lives due to drug use. See WWE for possible traumatic results.
- Judging – If there is one thing that can be solved fairly easily – again, in my humble opinion – it’s that painful issue of judging. How many times, for GSP’s sake, have we been outraged by judges calls? Seriously, this has to stop. Now, I know how Dana says “Don’t leave it to the judges” and to some extent I’m on board with this, but when you watch a fight like Lawler Vs. Condit you have to ask yourself – “What more do you want?”. We’re way past the street fight mentality of the early days – and for a damn good reason. We’re supposed to be watching a professional sport here. And when two fighters go at it for 5 rounds and do not get a finish, a decision needs to be made. No excuses. And the people making it need to be on the ball. Now, granted – I’m a regular Condit fangirl – and you may (if so inclined) blame me for having a case of butthurt, but regardless, it is my absolutely unbiased opinion that the judges messed up yet another key fight, with huge implications. This is just one example of so many botched decisions and my opinion on the whole is not based only on one of my favorite’s loss. Joe Rogan ranted today about the topic, and while I don’t sign on each and every word he said, I agree that there are things that could be done today, right now, to improve on this front. The idea of having 5 judges (instead of 3) score big fights – at the very least title fights – makes so much sense it actually baffles me how it wasn’t implemented years ago. This is not only needed so fans like me won’t get their panties in a bunch. It is a need of the UFC as an organization that wants to be taken seriously. If decisions are jokes, it makes a joke of the sport and the organization.
Well, this is the end of today’s rant. As for my UFC195 predictions… I went 3 for 5 (though I totally disagree with the decisions on the 2 I missed… but that’s besides the point).
I would love your feedback on the points above so don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment. As long as it’s not violent or racist, I’m not one to censor. If you think I’m wrong – be my guest and explain why. I’m known to change my mind from time to time (when the argument makes sense).
Check out THIS POST by P-GreatWhite_J for more opinions regarding judging and other MMA topics!
Thank you for stopping by folks,