I would like it to be known that I am a HUGE MMA fan. To me, MMA is the purest of all the gladiator sports, and being a gladiator myself, I can’t help but stare in wonder at boxing and MMA. I can remember my father ordering the very first UFC event on PPV WAY back in the day, when you still had to pick up the phone and dial in, and set your cable box for channel 3 in order to get PPV. I loved it. It was the ultimate “Who would win in a battle to the death?” setting.
Since those early days when the competition was brutal and barbaric at its prettiest, the sport has undergone major overhaul thanks largely to Dana White’s transformation of the UFC. Gaming Commissions have removed the underground fight club feel of the sport, and it’s flourished. But I recently came across an article on MMAFighting.com which reported Joe Rogan’s feelings regarding the need for change in the sport, and I feel the need to comment on this.
Rogan’s a funny ass dude, but most don’t know he’s also a BMF. Dude trains in all sorts of martial arts, and he can more than likely beat your ass. As a fan and participant in MMA, as well as an announcer, Rogan is calling for a change to the sport’s judging system. He points at the sport’s lack of MMA-knowledgeable judges (most judges’ day jobs center on boxing), as well as a need to adapt a half-point scoring system which would separate it from the boxing scoring system it uses now (basically, boxing is scored per round, on a 10-point scale, the winner of the round receives 10 points while the loser receives a 9, unless a knockdown or domination occurs then it would be 10-8 or 10-7, etc.).
I agree with Rogan, no doubt. Let’s change the scoring system a little bit. Especially after I had to witness the Moussasi-Jardine fight from the last Strikeforce card be deemed a draw. I mean, Keith Jardine didn’t even see the result, his face was too fucked up. The blood that ran from his face was Libyan-esque, flowing and oppressed.
But I’m for more change in the sport than just the scoring. I think that Dana White needs to man up, and do what he hasn’t done since he initially re-made the sport in the late-90’s, revamp the GAME!
I can understand that White would be hesitant to make changes, considering the fact that his UFC brand is continually making astronomical financial gains year after year. Why mess with something that’s working so well? Well, if you look at the major sports in America right now, you can see why you have to continually attempt to improve your product even when you think it can’t be improved. Instant replay was added to the NFL, NBA and MLB during financially productive times. The NFL recently revamped their overtime rules for the first time in AGES despite the fact that, well, they’re the fucking NFL, the US sports monopoly. These organizations continually examine their sports and USUALLY don’t hesitate to make a change when it is needed.
So, Mr. White, I implore you to do the same. As I said, I love MMA, especially the UFC where the talent is world-class. Watching Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez and Anderson Silva (my 3 favorite fighters) is my modern-day equivalent to watching Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in their primes. I drop 55 bones almost every time you air a PPV (except when you headline BJ Penn and Jon Fitch, what the fuck?!).
Yet, somehow I always come away from the fight with a sour taste in my mouth, like I’d just been suckered. Aside from a select few, the majority of the fighters in the UFC do not make for a good product. Honestly, I’d rather watch paint dry than watch Jon Fitch or Ryan Bader fight. They’re slow, monotonous, and they simply take their opponent down, and lay on them.
Thing is, I can’t fault any fighter in the UFC for taking their opponent down to the ground and keeping them there, because that wins fights. Controlling an opponent for the entire match makes for a unanimous decision, domination. The rules aid this style. There’s no penalty for stalling, and the match only gets reset if the ref deems there’s absolutely no action going on, and that is certainly rare. I tune in to watch a 3 round, 15-minute fight and I rarely see more than 1-2 minutes of striking. Instead, I get 4 minutes of feeling out, and 8-10 minutes of grappling on the ground, against the cage or in the clinch. I appreciate the skill it takes to grapple, I do, but not when it’s stretched out over 10 minutes.
I think Dana White needs to take a look at Pride’s heyday for some ways to make changes to his precious UFC, BEFORE some serious issues surface.
First, like Pride, make the first-round 10-minutes long. The aforementioned “feeling out” period lasts nearly for the entire duration of the current 5-minute first round. Make it 10-minutes and we’ll be sure to see some more action, which will make the judges jobs easier because they’ll have more fighting to base a score off of.
Next, tell the refs to increase their resetting of the fighters. If a fighter has someone down and is simply smothering them on the ground for 10-15 seconds without even attempting to attack, tell the ref to stand them up. Don’t let the fighters dance along the cage playing patty cake until one gets tired. Separate them and tell them to bang out. Not only that, but I like Pride’s idea of implementing a financial penalty for continuous stalls. I understand it takes a lot of strength and skill to take a dude down and keep em there, but that’s not the goal here. The goal is to knock a dude out or make him cry uncle. Maybe 20 G’s out of your wallet will make you think twice before going with the pillow offense.
To continue with the financial offerings, let’s double that Knockout of the night bonus. Triple it, even. And if you do end your fight early, I think there should be an overwhelming bonus for that. Definitely.
Obviously, the type of fighters matter as well. But, I’m definitely speaking for all the fans when I say that these fights need to be exactly that, fights, and not simply battles of endurance and mental fortitude.
Make the heads ROLL Mr. White!
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