Saturday, November 12th 2011 the sport we call mixed martial arts (MMA) will surely change forever when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debuts on FOX. The UFC has finally hit major airwaves and millions of people will be watching like myself.
Yes, the main event for the UFC heavyweight title between champion Cain Velasquez and number one contender Junior Dos Santos will most likely be a barn-burner but i have my doubts and fears of the future.
I iwsh the best for the sport but i still don't like total change.
The UFC has always strive to be one of the big acronym sports like Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League and the National Basketball Association(NBA). This deal with Fox and sister networks may help them prevail after all.
Join me after the jump to see my concerns and maybe deep down you harbor them as well.
Go into your DVD or tape cassettes and put on UFC 1 and you will see how violent the sport was from now. We saw a tooth flying in the first five minutes. UFC legend Ken Shamrock described this moment as a locker room silencer. He said everyone was backstage pumping up and talking trash and when the kick landed, everyone realized this is really on.
As real as it gets
Rules and Regulations:
The sport has seen many changes from the banning of headbutts which hindered Mark Coleman's dominance, the rise of the striker with MauriceSmith. Now there are people who loved what the UFC was prior to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts which was helped to be passed by longtime UFC color analyst Jeff Blatnick.
I have no issues with the Unified rules except maybe that no knees to a grounded opponent can be easily abused by a fighter putting a hand on the ground as seen when Paul Buentello fought Cheick Kongo. At the PRIDE 2000 open weight grand prix we saw Mark Coleman use these knees to dispatch of Igor Vovchanchyn in the finals. The move could be used by many wrestlers who gain that front headlock position.
The "12 to 6" elbows are not regulated because when the commission was listening to the arguments for elbows a member of the commission recalled a similar elbow being used to break bricks on one of those hokey karate demonstrations. That "12 to 6" rule is the only reason current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has a loss to Matt Hamill on his almost flawless record.
There is no issues for myself with the unified rules as they stand but these "12 to 6" elbows should be looked into a long with knees to the head of grounded opponents.
Another issue is that most commissions use the boxing format of judging of a '10 must system" where one fighter must be given 10. Here's the sad thing, not all commissions score the same way. Some fighters will even fight a certain gameplan knowing how judges have scored in the past. On ;Inside MMA" reporter Ron Kruck recently investigated the issue (watch the video here).
Now the only body that governs MMA is the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). states still have thr right to implement which rules they desire to you as ABC is a non-profit organization with not much pull. Here is how the Unified Rules outline how MMA is to be scored/valued:
In order of importance
1.Effective striking and grappling
2.Control of fighting area
Ready to have you mind blown by how poor some commission score a fight? Look no further then the Illnois Boxing Commission (part 137.210) here is how it has it's judges scoring/value:
Scoring professional boxing and martial arts contests
1.Clean blows/in proportion to their damaging effects
3.Defensive maneuvers for avoiding or blocking a blow
4.Conspicuous command of the fighting area
So what do you see missing from Illinois would it be the fact grappling is NOT judged? how can you not score grappling in MMA?. These old scoring ways will be rid of quite soon and i cannot wait for that day. I don't know if you saw this new innovative idea from the commission in Edmonton but it may work across the board though i did not in my opinion for the Maximum Fight Championship card headlined by their light heavyweight champion winning a decision over Sokodjou.
The system incorporates a 1/2 point instead of a 10-9 it could be a 10-9.5. Let's use this example, Fighter A and Fighter B are in a close round and Fighter A hits a late take down but Fighter B was able to get up with ease and not be worked over. The judges would give this round a 10-9.5 for Fighter A if that was the last exchange of action. It also keeps the fight much closer and it would give the deception he beat him clean for a round without resistance.
The ABC have asked four commissions to test run this 1/2 point system and report back at the ABC convention in 2101. Edmonton and California, two of the busiest commissions in North America were asked as well but don't expect the UFC to be subjected to this system but rather smaller/regional promotions
Number one contenders:
One of the hottest topics is the debate of rightful number one contenders. When we look at criteria we all agree a top ten win or two surely aids the argument. A winning streak or 3 or more also helps legitimize that and how you finish the men prior to your shot.
Some of the most heated number one contenders have been UFC 11 welterweight contender Dan hardy and UFC 91 heavyweight contender Brock Lesnar. Many people still argue these guys did not deserve their shot when they got. Dan Hardy failed to unseat UFC welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre but Brock Lesnar was able to uncrown Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight title and then defend it twice.
Another heated debate is UFC welterweight Jon Fitch who can best be described as the '170 pound bridemaid never to be the bride'. There is no question to how dominant he has been and at UFC 87 he got his wish to face UFC welterweight champion GSP. Fitch would get his faced blackened and blued by St.Pierre who put on an impressive finish.
Fitch hasn't lost since that fight with St. Pierre but how many of you are clamoring to see St.Pierre-Fitch II?
The harsh reality of it is the UFC is a business and promotion which promotes sport. Much like the World Wrestling Entertainment it cares more about money then rightfully earned contender spots. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much of a company guy you are or hwo well you perform because at the end of the day one question remains, 'do you make us money'. Jon Fitch isn't flashy and his 'grinding' style as said by Joe Rogan doesn't draw fans but rather bores them.
The Jon Fitch fan club maybe old teammates from Purdue and Josh Koscheck.
The UFC on Fox is trying to bring in new fans who may not have been exposed to what MMA is all about. Don't be fooled the UFC sees itself as MMA.If you weren't aware of the opponent and level of class of the opponents and someone showed you Jon Fitch';s record would you not be shocked he has received one title shot?. Or that supposed number one contender bouts got twisted into not earning that coveted spot because Fitch won?.
This doesn't bother me one bit.
I knew that Dan Hardy wasn't on Georges St.Pierre's level but that wild card and underdog factor actually intrigued myself and many. Hardy had shown toughness and capable striking against non-wrestlers Mike Swick, Marcus Davis and Rory Markham. He was also very different in his look; a rocker or a punk you could say. Another factor which helped was his Britshnationality, a loaction the UFC hopes to grow. In fact Hardy is the only British-born fighter to fight for a UFC title to date.
Do you really want to see Fitch-GSP several more times based on their first fight? i'm betting no. If the sport goes 'mainstream' don't you think critics will start questioning the UFCif Fitch keeps getting passed up on for flashier fighters with lower pre requisites ?.
The most comprehensive top ten rankings for each weight class are formed by USAtoday and SBnation. As you can see the UFC fighters are the best per class as they usually fill or rank atop each weight class. You will not find stiffer competition outside the UFC. I find these rankings to be subjective and opinionated and they are opinions of course. The UFC might want to look at a top ten based on UFC fighters in that weight class. How high would you rank a Michael Bisping or Shane Carwin in a top ten?
Another hot button issue is fighter pay as many out cried when UFC 137 co-main eventer Matt Mitrione took home $10,000 dollars. 'Meathead' didn't win nor did he give a very inspired performance against Kongo. Now most athletic commissions publish the fighter purses but that doesn't include a Dana White 'thank you' bonus. The UFC pays their guys on most occasions what they truly deserve. If you pack a house, sell pay per views and bring revenue you will be rewarded handsomely. The UFC gives you an opportunity to flourish nothing is guaranteed.as life, it is what you make of it.
Here's the problem.
Media pundits and fans think some of these guys are being underpaid in comparison. Most boxing cards as an entirety do suck and are filled with filler. You do not see three meaningful fights ever on a card. Plus the buyrates are much higher when Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in comparison even when GSP or Lesnar fight.
Dana White is right, that most of the undercard talent are not even paid near what non-main eventers in the UFC are paid if they are on the main card. Now the UFC is making big money to the point they could pay their fighters more but greed ruins people.
Tito Ortiz didn;t like his paydays and soon that turned ugly between Otiz and White. Randy Couture left the UFC after he was upset Chuck Liddell was making more money then he was. Imagine if top stars Anderson Silva, Georges St.Pierre and Brock Lesnar made $10 million dollars while co-main eventer s made around $100,000.
That would lead to huge issues.
Thes sort of issues have plagued boxing for years now and recently it showed how ugly it was. Top ranked boxer Timothy Bradley turned down a fight with champion Amir Khan citing his $1.3M pay day was too low to risk losing to a fighter of Khan's caliber. He said if he lost to a guy like Khan it would ruin his shot fighting Manny Pacquiao for $7.5M. All that says to me is "i'm not going to win either bout or care if i win as long a si get the money".
Get out of boxing, Mr.Bradley
I fear the UFC and their paydays which i find quite fair on a fighter to fighter basis to be fair, Pundits will rip the UFC anew one every time it is released. You sign on the dotted line and folks, Meathead didn't even win his season of "The Ultimate Fighter" nor has he beaten anyone in the top 5.
Brock Lesnar,Nick Diaz and Chael Sonnen are three of the most colorful personalities in the UFC and they are GOOD for the sport. At UFC 116 we saw Lesnar make comments about beer sponsors and getting ontop of his wife. That was all fun and games that I myself found to be quite funny. The UFC and Bud Light clearly didn't as Lesnar had to apologize.
Nick Diaz has been at press conferences and he flipped off a legend in Frank Shamrock. It was brilliant as it was deemed classless. That moment set the tone for the showdown and it worked as many of my friends wanted to see if Diaz could back up his bravado.
Chael Sonnen has spent close to two years calling out Anderson Silva and even after getting beat by the champion he made his point at UFC 136. "Anderson Silva you absolutely SUCK!" and what did the Houston crwod do in reaction? cheer.The late Joe Frazier and Ali fought three times why can't they? Frazier beat Ali the first time did he dodge Ali? hell no. Now if Sonnen loses again the case for a third fight is settled but why not one more time? the first fight was a classic.and i'm sure a second tilt will be.
Imagine if the UFC started gag-ordering their fighters and we lose the personalities? The UFC was built upon the different personalities like the 'cold methodic' Royce Gracie, the 'raging' Ken Shamrock, the 'bar stool warrior' in Tank Abbott and the 'no shit stache' of both Dan Severn and Don Frye. Do we want everyone to be as boring as most NHLers who show no glimpse of character in front of the camera? i know i don't. The UFCwould be a lot more boring with the variety of characters and if these post fight interviews all got boring because its now 'mainstream' i'd be saddened.
Well Maniacs' that concludes this, comment below!