Ask any fans what they are looking for in a fight, and you’ll be hard pressed to hear anyone say ‘a decision’. Submissions and knockouts have become a guilty pleasure of todays’ society. The people want blood and a clear victor. In recent match ups, namely Condit Vs. Diaz, fight fans have been more than a little skeptical of the points system. Judging flubs, like the miscalculations of score cards in the Demetrious Johnson (14-2-1) vs. Ian McCall (11-2-1) fight March 3 2012, forcing a rematch when a sudden death round would have been implemented. Mistakes like these lock up progress in the divisions, but at the same time one must make the argument that the governing bodies are doing their best to keep the ‘integrity of ruling’ in the sport.
All that being said, you can’t have MMA without these regulations and improvements is a work in progress. Who then, do we leave the responsibility of the outcome? The answer is much simpler than you may think, and in my opinion it comes down to the fighter. Once the cage is closed the fate of the fight is left up to the wits and skill of these fighters we have come to call ELITE. Tune into any fight that is not clearly a brawl and listen carefully– you’ll hear the jeers and boos of the crowds here in America. Some can make the gripe that sometimes fans just don’t get the the technical aspects of some fights, but what can be said of fights like Overeem vs. Verdum (Strikeforce) where Verdum literally begged Overeem to come to the floor and fight his game because he couldn’t handle Overeems’ striking ability. I feel that if Striking is your weak point as a professional fighter, it borders on nothing short of ignorance, after all it’s a fight. It all comes down to the game plan, but don’t expect us to cheer if your plan appears to be the ‘lay and pray’ or to take it deep into the rounds and not finish the fight at all. I don’t know about you socialites, but I myself have never seen anyone in a real fight say that letting it drag on, or laying on opponents doing no damage is conducive to winning. In a way I think the attitude of the fans to push for brawls and enders is nothing more than a cry for purity in the sport. People are paying to see a fighter do exactly that and nothing more. In other words if you wanna be seen as a star fighter in America, the fans demand you lay your opponent on the canvas or tap him out.
Fighters like Jon Jones have proven that a finish can be a reality any night of the week, no matter what the competitions pedigree. Jones (15-1-0) has yet to let any opponent out of the second round in defense of the UFC Light heavyweight title even with the list of legends and former Champions coming to usurp the title. Fighters like up and coming lightweight contender Edson Barboza 10-0 MMA has made $300,000 in bonuses in the UFC due to his performances in the Octagon as reported by John Morgan of MMA Junkie. Namely his spinning wheel kick knock of Terry Etim. Edson has earned 3 ‘fight of the nights’ and a’ knockout of the night’. In the end it’s a no brainer put a fighter with ten wins by decision against one with the same amount of fight finished by TKO/KO and see who is first to become a household name.
MMA is an 18 year old sport and the Commissions and regulating bodies are scrambling to get it right when it comes to deciding the action. No fighter is more feared than the one that imposes his will leaving his victory undisputed. Let the fans get their excitement and lets leave the judging for things like safety issues and not the outcome of the fight itself, because we all know that the fight really stops when one of the fighters stop moving. In other words we’ll continue to praise finishers and let ‘lay and pray’ practitioners do just that, lay there.