UFC 148: Not the Article You’re Expecting

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Boxing, Fandom, Kick-Boxing, MMA, UFC
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The main event for UFC 148 was possibly the biggest fight in the history of the sport, but I don’t feel like I need to say anymore about Anderson Silva v. Chael Sonnen than what I said on the post-fight Fight Fans Radio episode. Instead, I want to focus on something else that’s been bugging me. In the fight between John Alessio and Shane Roller, Roller used his wrestling background to full effect, maintaining dominance on the ground on route to a clear-cut decision victory. During the fight, Alessio asked with a frustrated yell, “Do you wanna fight me or do you wanna ride me?” He was, of course, referring to the fact that, with time running out in the third round, Roller had Alessio pinned to the mat, peppering Alessio with punches, and giving Alessio no opportunity for a lucky punch that would allow him to steal a victory. For that, Alessio was angry (or at least was pretending to be angry in order to get the fight he wanted). What bothers me is that many so-called fans of Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) were also angry.

MMA Is Not Boxing

There’s nothing wrong with boxing. The sport, that is. The industry of boxing is corrupt. The sport, however, is fantastic, as is kickboxing. MMA is also fantastic. That’s my opinion. You’re free to disagree. You’re free to say, “Boxing is great, but MMA sucks.” (I’m looking at you, Jim Lampley.) If that’s your honest assessment, you’re entitled to your opinion and shouldn’t be watching MMA. It seems, however, that many MMA viewers aren’t fans. Whenever the fight goes to the ground in an unspectacular fashion, we hear a chorus of boos. Sometimes a submission specialist will get a grace period – a few seconds during which the impatient fans give him a chance to pull off a quick submission – but it doesn’t take long for those fans to turn on him, even if the submission specialist is constantly working for a submission.

Exactly what do you expect a wrestler or submission specialist to do? Why would they ever choose to slug it out with a slugger? If they do, they’re stupid and deserve to be gone from the UFC!

You shouldn’t blame a lion for roaring, and you shouldn’t blame a wrestler for wrestling.

Am I Missing the Point?

In the fight between Mike Easton and Ivan Menjivar, the fans were booing despite it being a purely stand-up, all-striking affair. Is it really a hatred of grappling, or is it merely impatience (e.g., no one was bleeding yet)? On my political blog, I’ve certainly acknowledged that my fellow Americans are, on the whole, an impatient bunch of spoiled brats, so that certainly applies. It doesn’t matter, though, because rarely do we see a ground-and-pound fight gradually lead to a tap by the “pounded” fighter. In other words, wrestling by its nature is always going to trigger a negative response from these fans, so that fan is always going to hate the wrestling aspect of the game; therefore, that fan shouldn’t be watching MMA.

Get over It

As I see it, these fans are channeling (in the Ghost Hunters sense of the word) the frustration the non-wrestler feels at being completely overwhelmed with no chance to win the round (or the fight). Well, then he should learn wrestling, and those fans should either learn to deal with it or watch another sport. It’s mixed martial arts. That means it’s a mixture of several martial arts, and everyone engaged in it must be, at least to some extent, capable of at least being passable in all areas of the fight game. If you want to boo someone, make sure you’re booing the guy who hasn’t learned to wrestle but insists on being in this sport anyway. He’s the reason it’s staying on the ground.

If that isn’t a fight you’re willing to watch every now and then, stop watching. Clearly, MMA isn’t for you. There are plenty of one-dimensional boxing and kickboxing matches that are better suited to your entertainment needs.

Follow me @MMADork
Follow the Ultimate Fighting Championship @ufc
Follow Shane Roller @shaneroller
Follow John Alessio@johnalessio79
Follow Mike Easton @mikeeastonmma
Follow Ivan Menjivar @ivanmenjivar

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