Though kicks to the head of a grounded opponent were considered legal during the co-main event this past Friday at ONE FC’s "Pride Of A Nation" pay-per-view (PPV) between former UFC heavyweight champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, the fight was ruled a "no contest" when Arlovski soccer kicked at Silvia’s head after leveling him with a hard right because the referee had not given Arlovski the "open attack" signal.
You know, the "open attack" signal.
The signal invented by ONE FC to ensure that fighters only kick a grounded opponent in the head after the referee has granted permission, then kick the guy in the skull all you want!
Before fans could delve into the ridiculousness of this bizarre and little-known stipulation, ONE FC announced on Sunday that they were adopting full PRIDE rules for soccer kicks, no more "open attack" signal required. Unfortunately for Arlovski, the "no contest" ruling still stands. Which has invited the question: Should there be a fifth fight between Sylvia and Arlovski at ONE FC 6?
The question should be: who "invited" this question in the first place?
Despite the evolution of mixed martial arts (MMA) into a sport of elite athleticism and dynamic techniques, there’s always room for a good ole’ fashioned slugfest. But c’mon, not when it’s a 36-year-old fighter who has enough trouble doing plyo jumps and push-ups with his knees off the ground, let alone fighting a seasoned opponent who just smashed him into oblivion via fist and foot. While the "no contest" ruling will survive as the technical record, the reality of the outcome is what the fans will remember.
Even the idea that a fourth bout resolution was required in the first place was a bit faulty: Sylvia had defeated Arlovski two out of three times at UFC 51, 59, and 61 over a handful of years ago with a lackluster, tedious pace for five rounds in the third fight that left no one begging for more from the "Maine-iac" and "Pitbull."
Rubber matches should be reserved for the perfect storms when high stakes and complimentary styles collide, whether it’s for a championship title (GSP v. Hughes), legend status (Ortiz v. Griffin), or action-packed fireworks (Stout v. Fisher).
And those examples are only three-fight rubber matches.
Who knows how epic the circumstances would have to be to truly deserve a five-fight rubber match?