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Lack of Mastery What Boxing Fans Knock about Other Fighting Sports

by Al Alvir

MMA, as well as all forms of kickboxing, have found little acceptance from the boxing public, and the reason for the divide has been recently toiled over by experts, over and again.  Besides the cultural divide that adds to the boxing-mma discord – poverty versus prosperity, individuality versus class structure, way of life versus self-defense – boxing people seem to just not respect how everyone else boxes.

That sounds fair enough.  But mma fans argue that their sport is more exciting, produces more knockouts, and provides better match-ups.

“MMA?  Better match-ups my [expletive],” historian Arthur O’Toole angrily explains with distinct sarcasm. “They get knocked-out because they don’t know the game they’re playing.  They seem great rolling around, but just because Mayweather doesn’t fight Pacquiao, it doesn’t mean mma has better match-ups.  Who wants to watch guys who don’t know what they’re doing trying to box?”  It depends what school of thought you come from when you explore what makes up a better match-up.  If you like a fast pace with the unambiguous game plan precursors in lieu of the intensive strategy of championship boxing, mma appears to make better match-ups, especially when those fights don’t go the distance.

Wilson Lee of SAFO Group says that “people want the immediate satisfaction of mma; short fights, hardly any pawn moves standing up, and mma is easy to understand on the feet.”  The less nuanced mma is exactly what makes some people love it and others hate it.  Lee added, “Besides the fanfare and clichéd effect of mma, and its feigned hardcore imaging, I guess it just doesn’t live up to boxing even in that skill-set [of punching].”

It’s not to dare and say that boxers are superior to other stand-up fighters or that a top Muay Thai kickboxing fighter would never beat a top boxer in a duel of skills; Muay Thai is a fantastically devastating art with many more tools at their disposal than boxers – 6 more limbs and a head butt.  And an mma fighter simply beats a boxer on the ground.  But the argument that O’Toole, for one, makes is that boxing at its best is so much more intricate than any other stand up fighting at its best.  “When these [other martial arts guys] use all these moves, it’s practically always complete stupidity that gets one guy beat.  He gets hit with some retarded haymaker that he showed for 4 rounds or some stupid jumping trick,” O’Toole explained. “They suck at what they do, how the hell am I gonna wanna watch them employ someone else’s art like boxing.”  This notion that fundamentals is lacking in the muddled composition of mma, and even kickboxing, may be as much in your face obvious as it is pervasive to the fighters’ understanding of any detail about strategy and technique.

Not all fighters – even the best – are going to know how to do all moves in most sports.  There are too many moves even in a single discipline of boxing, and there are too many styles of fighting.  There can be a slick pocket fighter like Pernell Whitaker, a stick-and-mover like Muhammad Ali, a workman like JC Chavez, or a stalker like Mike Tyson.  And within those styles are innumerable attributes and signatures and variations.  But all boxers start with only the fundamentals, then they are expected to build their own style of their own constitution.  The problem is that outside of boxing there is a class structure by which fads and imitation rule.  You have practicing fighters learning in groups in settings that don’t address their individual demands.  What works for one fighter is adopted by all, even when inappropriate in style.  “Even in baseball camps, you have a bunch of kids reviewing and practicing the same moves as everyone else,” said Eric Morrissey, an amateur pitcher who recently started boxing training. “But no one gets the particular attention they need.  That structure just never works.”  Like baseball, this problem causes the identities of many mma fighters, besides a few elite ones, to become a confounded mess of borrowed go-to moves that lack the application of any technical process.  Their game plans prove to be overly simple.  O’Toole cites that “mma at its best is just as good as mediocre amateur boxing” and many objective pros on all sides may agree.  I’d say that top stand-up in the mma, to be generous, is more at the level of semi-finalists in USA Boxing amateur tournaments.  They seem like robots with all the poorest habits.

In regards to the more advanced facets of boxing skills, in mma there are so many options that the fighters seem to perceive that they don’t  really need to set-up any brilliant traps.  How often is there what is called “the game within the game” in mma that isn’t obvious even to a confounded viewer or commentator?  At best, and it really is not so impressive, the strategy of mma is almost always “box the wrestler, wrestle the boxer.”  Boxing people argue that mma fighters’ stand-up fundamentals are so poor the majority of the time that deciphering habits in mma is as simple as noticing that one guy holds his hand low:  It’s as though mma trainers can deduce, “His rear hand is a little low so you can throw 5 overhands back to back, and hope for 20% accuracy and a knockout.”  I joke, but to boxing people, they can see mma is that bad without exaggeration.  The material fact is that good strategy at a high level of any sport is not cookie-cutter game plan just as it is not mystery work or mindless trial and error.  “Styles make fights,” so there is great individual application for every top fight, moves and subtleties that are very hard to pick-up on and take months of training aside from instinct.  For a boxing trainer, it takes a quarter of a lifetime to be able to notice the little things that mean so much.  But the intrigue of a masterful competition can only be accomplished when all the details of pure fundamentals are met by both fighters.  Then and only then can good strategy be extracted in stand-up fighting.  It’s less about applying a new move than it is about setting-up the move.

The greatest boxing trainers – like Cus D’Amato, Eddie Futch, Chickie Ferrara to name legends – are masters of psychology, body language, the mechanics of pain, illusions, and historical perspective.  And the fighter applies what his trainer communicates to him; the great fighter takes all he is showed and improvises.  It becomes brutal jazz at its best.  There is an old truism that “a great boxer is a great liar in the ring.  He makes you think one thing and puts you to sleep with the other.”  And good boxing consists of every variation of all those things mentioned.  But it’s not guesswork.  And it’s not just simple science.

Fundamentals are not only about form and the physics of technique.  The surface of basic boxing is even more complex than average fight fans may think.  Because boxing is so much about timing, it’s the “when” that matters more than anything.  Situational knowledge that can be applied through “between round” instruction or on a whim’s command seem to be absent from most “world-class” mma stand-up.  And proper fundamentals – even after a beginning fighter learns how to throw perfect punches and movement – means finding the right distance and following the basic conventions before the subtleties (i.e.. don’t start with a hook to the body from the outside, don’t reach over the jab when you throw a 2, throw touches until the time is right, throw straight punches when opponents have good hooks, scatter the jab, move then punch, punch then move, slip to the back foot is safer, and the list goes on – still, the margin between great amateurs and top professionals is enormous).  Many of these basic kind of things, mma guys and kickboxing coaches don’t seem to communicate to their fighters.  It’s as though they treat these simple practices as advanced boxing, if they treat it at all.  I, personally, have never heard any of those mma coaches even touch upon any simple boxing conventions on the line of those listed.  I never heard any valuable tips besides the most obvious throughout my years in martial arts gyms.  The things everyone hears in even the lamest McDojo atmospheres are tips to “keep your other hand up when you’re punching” or to “turn your fist over on the hook” or to “keep your chin down, shoulder and eyes up” or “to stay on your toes.”  Do seasoned practitioners ever get the more strategic basics outside the boxing gym?

The claims that stance and distance are different in mma and boxing is a convenient lie that helps bolster the image of other fighting arts.  The fundamental boxing stance should be exactly the same for Muay Thai and mma.  Distance, too, doesn’t change from fundamental boxing mechanics to other arts.  One boxing trainer sarcastically said, “you should neither reach nor be too close…  That’s the art of distance.”   And boxers are not conventionally taught to stand linear to their opponents – that’s a myth.  Boxers are not even taught to be in a crouch.  The only thing that changes is that boxers have the luxury to stray from the fundamentals – e.g. turning sideways like a Floyd Mayweather Jr. with his shoulder roll, constantly attacking from a crouch like Mike Tyson.  There is also an added necessity of having to be aware of other weapons in other arts which makes the need to be fundamentally sound arguably more important.  Yet mma is littered with fighters who continue trying to discover how to punch.  Fedor Emelianenko tells people to bend their wrists, flexing their fists slightly and to always make a fist – a laughable non-boxing fundamental (although some fighters turn their hands slightly to match the angles).  Bas Rutten used to say that not turning the fist over was the proper way to punch.  If the whole sport of mma ignored the mumbo-jumbo and focused on the nuance of action of fundamental boxing, maybe the mma fighters would be better in the boxing range.

Other combat sports athletes may compensate for their lack of decent leveled boxing skills by never being in the pocket, because they don’t have to be.  They usually have to be stronger or more in shape to win in mma especially (in regards to stand-up), almost never smarter.  All fighters seem to love to talk about it being a chess match and a science, but the only arts that can claim that legitimately are Jiu-Jitsu and boxing – everything else is strength and attrition based.  Even world-class kickboxing is made up of kicking and brawling, and when the brawling gets too intense, they start kicking more.  There are inside games in Muay Thai, but again, it’s more physique than intelligence.  In boxing, Freddie Roach pointed out, “It’s not the mistakes that the other guy makes I care about, but I’m trying to pick apart all the habits… not whether he’s fast or slow.”  This makes sense in the world of elite skills because mistakes there are more restricted and not as handily exposed as they are in low level fighting; they’re not so loud and obvious and countered so easily.  You have to, then, attack habits, even good ones.

When mma fighters adopt a new move or a “cool technique,” it is often overused to the point that it becomes insultingly predictable.  The fact that those moves still work proves that the quality should be insulting to a schooled audience not fooled by the hoopla of the UFC.  From Dan Henderson’s KO of Michael Bisping to Jake Shield’s left Thai kicks against Jean St. Pierre, the nuance is virtually absent from stand-up fighting in mma.  For all the few boxing talents like BJ Penn, GSP, Anderson Silva, and Junior Dos Santos, you have a bunch of empty handed hacks.  And if anyone thinks that Frankie Edgar running from BJ Penn was top-notch boxing, I’d agree only if it were the novice quarter-finals of the New York Daily News Golden Gloves, not main event pay-per-view (even in the amateurs, experts like to rule those points wins as robberies of the nature of amateur boxing).  The hand-skills of Muay Thai fighters to K1 kickboxers are also outrageously low-level from boxers’s perspectives.  Shannon Briggs alluded to the mma and K1 fighters he trained with and fought against (in his brief stint at K1) as being like beginners with their hands.  But the argument is that they are different sports.  But they box because boxing is a major part of every combat sport.  Perhaps, it is just not good enough.

In mma, the bout structure exacerbates the problem.  Long-term damage to the body in mma (punches, knees, kicks) is almost a non-issue because the fights are so short (11 minutes less action than in championship boxing bouts (18 minutes less including breaks), 15 minutes less action in seasoned non-title boxing bouts (22 minutes including breaks)).  If a body shot has any affect on a fight in mma, it usually is immediate.  And studies have shown that a greater elapsed time in sports including breaks adds to the mental toll of rigorous physical exercise; in other words, getting it over quicker by having fewer breaks is easier because “sportsmen find ways to take rests on the playing field when they are given fewer rest periods.”  In boxing, the longer bout duration, shorter round duration, and more rest periods have made for more strategic and competitive fights.  Before timed rounds were incorporated into boxing over a century ago, fighters would create their own lulls in activity which made for boring, drawn out fights.  “Hug fests,” they were called even then.  Sound familiar?  Even Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock II was a half-hour survival fest – in retrospect, it was not at all that exciting.  In ancient Greece, boxers developed cauliflower ears from avoiding the grueling punching battles, and incentives to make action were often matters of life and death after the fight.  If the rounds were a little shorter in mma, maybe we wouldn’t see in-shape guys flailing and buying time or just lying on top of people.

Rest plays into strategy.  5 round UFC championship bouts often appear to have a clear winner whom the tides seldom change against by the conclusion of the fights.  The winner is often consistent with who is winning in rounds 2 or 3, and it often only changes with a lucky punch or a desperate submission – seldom is it controlled strategy.  If one guy expends himself, it is usually due to bad pacing or being out of shape.  The championship round drama evident in boxing is ever missing in the current mma format.  The less prevalent midsection punching slowing down the other fighters typically does not happen.  Only leg kicks show that cumulative effect, but leg kicks are more easily defended than body-blows, as evidenced in today’s mma.  Of course there are some extenuating reasons that make the games different, but arguing that boxing doesn’t translate into mma is reprehensible merely for the fact that mma fighters try to do everything I mention (and even bobbing and weaving, which I haven’t mentioned, is more common in mma today by the better fighters); the majority just do it so poorly.  Perhaps nine 4 minute rounds would be a good compromise for championship mma.  The 5 and 7 rounds suggested by Dana White may just add more of the same low quality fighting.

It can safely be said that in mma, their ignorance counts on viewers’ ignorance to propel their sport at every outing.  On one mma site, closing the distance was discussed, but not a single bullet matched sound boxing (that’s where I read that an overhand is used to close distance – but that is called lunging in boxing).  When Kenny Florian said in the postfight wrap-up of GSP vs. Jake Shields that the fight was a great example of strategy and top level stand-up, my company and I were floored (figuratively, of course).  St. Pierre, who is a great fighter and who mentioned, by the way, that he didn’t know boxing before he met Freddie Roach, fought a terrible fight and practically had only one eye.  The fight was a bore of anticipation, a tragedy of stagnancy.  Thank Jake Shields, however, for that.

It should delight fight fans who want mma to excel “righteously” that people like George St. Pierre are trying to evolve the sport and take every facet of it to a level that is acceptable on every one of its playing fields.  Frank Shamrock is one of the first mma practitioners to comment on mma’s lack of growth.  “MMA has progressed very little in the last 10 years.  The weakness in mma is punching and it has been like that since 1999,” Shamrock explained on Inside MMA.  “Boxing is the hardest, most finite sport to learn.  [It’s about] timing.  Punching is the fastest, easiest way to mash somebody.”  For now, whenever mma exhibits a high level of mastery in the stand-up, one guy is usually humiliatingly outclassed.  Otherwise, it’s usually a tough man contest in which they trade blows without a semblance of science.

In time, perhaps we’ll witness great mma stand-up like we have consistently witnessed great boxing for many decades – literally great boxing.  Until then, would anyone care to see Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao wrestle each other?

Well, besides their wives?


editorial by Garrett “The MMA Purist” Morris

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no MMA.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there an MMA?


Editor’s Response:

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe anything except what they see. Once things used to be so simple when WWE seemed almost real and sports celebrities were only good at sports, and maybe that’s how things should have stayed. They feel lost like so many of us in a landscape dominated by the Dana White’s of the world where marketing and backstabbing antics took the place of legitimacy ranking. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is an MMA (mixed martial arts). It exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. It lies in the heart of everyman woman and child, that singular spark of violence you focus as competitors in your games at school to the spelling bee’s you study so heard to pass. You do this for yourself and not for others. It is the same drive that the police must take with him as he protects your corner. Or the far off and away soldier who stands in world you could not imagine, but does so knowing he does so to protect what he holds dear, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no MMA. Then that would mean no more older siblings protecting you from the neighborhood bully, No friends to comfort you or to help when a challenge needs to be surpassed. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believing in MMA! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen in the world. What is MMA? MMA is not an intense and evolving combat sport different from what any martial artists who trained in two arts has done. MMA is a competition between adversaries in interdisciplinary forms of fighting. It does not conclude on jiu-jitsu, judo, wrestling, or whatever.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virgina, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No MMA? Thank God! It lives, and it lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. in a world where fighting is defined only by the contestants with no adherence to a false commission – approved gloves, time limits and rounds in which falling on your own back is considered a takedown, where an acceptable defense against an opponent requires you lay your self open to homoerotic devices.  No head-butting or kicking to the downed opponent. No knees to the head of a downed opponent. No downward point of the elbow strikes. No strikes to the spine or the back of the head. No groin or throat strikes. All of that is pure hokum. ‘Better to arm-wrestle with kicks and call it what you may. You and your friends must be brave. Shout ,“No!” Virginia, mma is real! It is what is practiced in barroom brawls. At soccer games. After the Source awards. Don’t let anyone ever define it or you. Violence is universal and fighting is in your heart. Embrace it so when your time comes and you are tested, you will shout, “I am here and I am ready!

*A turducken is a dish consisting of a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The word turducken is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken or hen. The thoracic cavity of the chicken/game hen and the rest of the gaps are stuffed, sometimes with a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture or sausage meat, although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird.

What Makes MMA Gay?

Commentary by Garrett “The MMA Purist” Morris

Something needs to be done in the mma fighting sports, especially UFC, for the sake of being true to real combat.  Real combat is almost always fun to watch.  It seems like ages since we had the original ground and pound – bare-knuckles, head-butts, north-south position knees, and soccer kicks to the head of a downed opponent (the last two are still allowed in Japan).  Even the savvy Jiu-Jitsu submission fighters needed to be privy to these tactics.  And before viewers needed to be spared by the “sprawl and brawl,” it wasn’t absolutely and ridiculously boring to watch two sweaty men rolling around on the mat.  Hey, it wasn’t even gay back then.  It was fighting.

Now we have the ubiquitous “shoot and poop,” “clinch and flinch,” “lay and gay,” or the “score and bore.”  These matches, hardly what one should call a fight, consist of at least one guy who wants to stay out of the danger range of fighting, as he hugs his opponent while maintaining control.  It’s the fight which one guy spends a whole round trying to pass the missionary; you’ve seen it a million times.  Such tactics are best for Greco-roman wrestlers who jockey for position and win fights because the other guy doesn’t want to play fight or doesn’t know how to.  The wrestlers shoot in, score impotent takedowns, and hope to win on those points.  In UFC 69, Heath Herring lost a match and said, “I didn’t come to wrestle, I came to fight.  If you want to say he won, he just won a wrestling match…”  Of course, we lifelong martial arts enthusiasts recognize the great importance, effectiveness, and art of groundfighting—but I will argue against it for the sake of the reader.

Obsessive ground-fighting is simply not realistic or primal anymore.  To enjoy these Score and Bore matches, you have to be one of three:  (1) Biased, as you root for one of the fighters not objectifying the entertainment factor of the bout, (2) A wrestling fan who likes to watch the idiosyncrasies of positioning, or (3) Ignorant to fighting (you might think that a takedown is electrifying or that a hammer fist is powerful).

If someone got excited from some of these takedowns, I think it would be warranted to presume he is not a fighter.  It may look dominant when one sees a player bring someone on the mat.  To an average viewer, maybe it looks as though those little hammer punches are doing real damage in someone’s guard.  These bystanders who cheer dull shoots are the same ones who “ooh” and “ahh” when they see one good jab land in a boxing match.  But if you’ve ever been a fighter, you should be able to distinguish a set-up from a finishing move in which a submission, a knock-out, a slam on occasion, and a pummeling (not the wrestling move) are the ultimate goals.  And these goals are rarely pursued in the Score and Bore.  And pummeling is the best with head-butts and knees to the head.  Hell, Randy Couture may have been greater if the UFC rules hadn’t changed.  Conversely, maybe he wouldn’t even have won anything.  Bas Rutten has even cited that he would not even want to bother fighting without the head-butt tool that assisted in making him successful.  And in the Extreme FC contest Frank Shamrock could have been awarded a beautiful Gracie stomping if he was not disqualified.  Shamrock, along with many bewildered viewers, mistook the signing of the bout as signing to fight.

The point is that violence is what makes fights more real… tactical violence at its best, but violent.  Without violent intentions, there would be no initiative to fight for anything in life – self-defense, revenge, money, land, etc.  And today’s Score and Bore couldn’t hold a candlestick to the real combat Ground and Pound of the early days.

I don’t care to know where the cliché holding a candlestick comes from, but here I would go with the pun in which I think it signifies hot wax, romantic lighting, and a really gay wrestler pretending to want to fight.


MMA became celebrated among martial arts enthusiasts in the mid 1990’s because it became a platform for us to see and prove what systems worked.  The days of “martially” unearned colored belts began to find its way into where it belonged, pre-adolescents and obsolescence.  Before the head-banging and chest pounding, the majority of the UFC fan-base was a small group of true aficionados.  Now, it has expanded its base to the everyday sport fan, superficial and ignorant as he may be.

Mma fighting has an over-abundance of coddled participants and posturing fans.  There is a fabricated toughness, much like a hybrid of professional wrestling and the NFL, in which the fans assume the celebrity of their idols.  MMA is make believe and role-playing like linebackers painting their faces and screaming impossible intimidations at opponents.  It’s bush league fight sport; even the celebrations in mma are so rehearsed and excited unlike true professionals.  The jubilation of mma fighters when they win is comparable to first time boxing amateurs.  The culture of mma remains an enigma.  Why these fans love to pretend they’re wild and crazy must be linked to the intimacy of the sports’ physical contact and players’ levels of testosterone – hockey and boxing don’t seem to affect fans quite this way.  (It sounds like I am charging mma for its latent homosexuality of the sport, but that is only a coincidence, inherent or not.)

I blame the state of mma on a dilution of violence.  Violence would keep everyone honest, unable to attack the sport’s genuineness.  Now, every pansy with a little nerve thinks he can learn some shoot-fighting.  The fact that many of the mma fighters have shticks probably has something to do with attracting all the non-fighters to participate in the sport.  These people like mma because of its lack of high quality; they, in turn, imagine themselves in there flailing away, and rightfully so.  Rather than under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, mma has little application of science everywhere on the mat except for in the grappling range.  It’s ironic how most of these guys I speak about, many of whom are well-off suburbanites, enter the fight sport without humbly going through the ranks.  Get into a few scraps, lose some, win some, learn to fight standing up (believe it or not, boxing and kick-boxing are even more dangerous sports even by statistics of injuries/deaths), and find the science.  Fight dozens of amateur bouts.  Win a long string of over 20 professional fights.  Then maybe fight for a top 10 ranking – if the skills are worth it.After all, fighters should learn to stand before they can Waltz.

The abundance of outspoken fans, as seen in venues across the country, are ignorant to the sport.  They don’t know the least about the regimens, techniques, and strategies of mma fights.  They are new to the sport, and they don’t read about martial arts.  Most of them have not ever sparred.  And of the many who like to portray themselves being from the school of hard knocks, they most definitely had never fought anybody who was good.  These people don’t know martial arts, and I fear that they will never care to.  Others may take up mma fighting, join the cast of the spoiled frat-brother Ultimate Fighter participants, learn to be a little tough, but the rest of us know that “he may fight, but he’s not real.”  Why hardened people from the inner-city don’t take a liking to mma over boxing is a whole other topic to be addressed.

It becomes apparent that the new rules of the array of mma organizations (the least of all, Pride) are harming martial arts as a whole and limiting its reach.  They are diluting the art of fighting and making it a tattooed lie.  When the average guy who knows what a fight is like witnesses the UFC, he thinks that he can take the punishment and if he cannot, he would just tap like everyone else – he may be wrong about being able to take the punishment but it goes to show that the sport doesn’t represent itself right.  The sport is just not as respectable as it could be.  On the contrary, when you see Anderson Silva or Fedor Emelianenko fight, you respect the idea that this is “tough stuff.”  Unfortunately, they are two of the few exceptions in the world of mma.

People can see what makes MMA gay.

The spectacle that has become of mma has so many superficial aspects that lend to the homoerotic argument against it.  Its whole production is a show irrelevant to the action of the fights.  From the exaggerated expressions of the commentators, UFC’s Bruce Buffer’s sudden head jerk turn when he announces the fighters in his conjured voice-up, pretentious heavy metal theme music, referee and fighter gimmicks, post fight signature moves, to the body image pitch that mma uses to sell – there’s just so much innuendo. Fighters seem to all have “look at me” tattoos and sculpt their bodies so they can flex.  Their shorts are even used for branding.  This pop-main-streaming hurts the sport.  And it makes it unappealing for pure sportsmen.  And just because mma may be inherently gay, it absolutely does not mean that all the participants are gay.  It simply has more of the gay appeal than necessary.  Dana White, among others, is using it to prostitute the sport.

This whole look and culture of mma detracts talent from the fighter pool.  They already have fewer people competing for the passion to fight than for the glamour and glitz that is promised.  Some really soft suburban kids are already saturating the sport as their decisions to pursue Hollywood fame get nixed by the flip of the coin.  And the cream doesn’t always rise to the top.  Good talent gets turned off like good fans do.  Real fighters don’t fight for the fame; they fight to test themselves and win.

Let’s explore the slippery-slope of mma intimacy.  Imagine for a moment that a new mma move created by a top fighter used the immobilization of the head from the north-south position.  This “facial mount” incorporated the use of putting the groin over the face of a supine opponent.  In that position, the fighter found that thrusting his groin/cup into the jaw of his opponent distracts him and makes him expose his arm, so he is put into an arm bar.  What if fighters start putting their mouths over their opponents’ faces to take their air and suffocate them.  At what point would mma people recognize that there are gay aspects of mma?  An openly gay person in the guard wrapping his legs around an opponent – is that gay?  What does mma being gay mean?

Any expert behavioralist will acknowledge the sexual imagery in mma as another healthy outlet for males, gay or hetero, to express their sexual needs.  There is an eroticism that is accepted in mma, reflective of the psyche of fans and practitioners.  And for all mma’s chest puffing and macho exploits, the sport may be exhibiting what boxing people hate about most sports: denial.  It is the root of everything fake, from unnecessary tradition (redundant) to hiding in a closet.  The sport’s denial is why people charge it and fault it for being gay.  If it stopped selling a lie, the rumbles wouldn’t matter.

Besides the arguably inherently intimate mma ground-fighting, is the culture hoarding a bunch of “wish-I-were” tough guy, arm-chair jockey, chest-bumping, ass patting dorks who suddenly think they are world-beaters?  Perhaps it’s true that these followers are being bred everyday at a gym near you.  Some people argue that mma is cashing in on this idol worship dynamic.  The notion that many of the fans now involved in the sport are wanna-bees whose lives are encompassed by their heroes – whether it’s Royce Gracie this, Chuck Liddell that, my sensei this, my sensei that – is becoming more and more ubiquitous in mma.

When I was a kid, I pondered whether Wolverine of the X-men would beat other superheroes like Batman, so I can relate to the mma God-worship of their heroes.  When I wore a Wolverine costume one Halloween, I imagined borrowing his adamantine skeleton.  Go into any martial art school, and for some seemingly inexplicable reason, you have a few fully grown adult groupies who listen and believe everything their teacher says.  Beyond that, they idolize their teachers.  Those are the people who start believing that their instructor could beat everyone and will pass the power down to them.  The culture of mma is spreading this masturbation of the ego to the masses.

MMA is becoming more like the XFL or the WWE.  The mma fan goes beyond the appreciation of a fighter’s technique.  A fighter’s haircut, t-shirts, catch-phrases, and other gimmicks are bought by most of these fans.  When an mma fighter wins before the distance, he runs around, jumps, and acts like a maniac who can’t believe what had happened.  What boxer conducts himself after a fight like he really got lucky?  Even Roy Jones never seemed to have had rehearsed his post fight antics – even his annoying moves at least were authentic.

Ultimately, many of the mma fans join gyms and care more about their idols than the art of fighting.  “MMA is less like thoroughbred horse-racing, on its surface, than all fighting sports should be,” one boxing fan mentioned at UFC 71.  “The genuineness is being tapped out by the marketing and the half-ass fighters,” he said, “so they should use Fedor as a prototype.  Skip the enzone celebrations.”  The man made a good point as to site how the gimmicks of the athletes surpass their substance, yet those fighters still manage to make money.  There are just too many bad fighters.  Ignorant fans and irresponsible owners may be to blame.

The sport needs to recognize that toughness cannot be feigned in the long run and, though all the fighters might actually be tough, it takes away from “tough” when they walk around pretending to be.

When you sell a farce, you sell out – in more ways than one.  And the loser ends up being the “quality” of the sport.


I offer the surface of solutions to the MMA bore:

1.  Referee discretion.  Incorporating a time-limit on the mat works in most occasions, but, in fairness to action ground fighting, this can be hurtful to the sport, especially for certain fighters.  Moreover, it may give weaker fighters the time to Score and Bore while they lay in safety.  In such a situation, the referee would be given the liberty to stand-up the players almost immediately.  Referees would be trained to assess the inaction of a fight in order to make instant decisions to bring the fight to the feet.

2.  Purse deductions or fines.  If a fighter[s] is not exhibiting intent to finish a fight or engage, standing or grounded, an outside official or the referee would be able to halt the action giving one of several flags that indicate purse deductions or fine amounts.  Recognize, however, that it takes two fighters to make action.

3.  If possible, reinstate the north-south knees, downward elbows, and head-butts.  Knee cushions and elbow cushions may be considered.  Because without any of the three weapons, an mma fight hardly resembles real fighting anymore.

12 More Reasons You Should Hate MMA, Too

rogan2by A O’Toole

In summary, you should hate MMA because of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). So the list goes:

  1. Joe Rogan.  He just has no good criticisms.  Who would have anything worth saying with a mouth full of meat and bung-hole?
  2. BS Scoring.  I’ve been in a bunch of brawls and one on ones, and if a guy was leaning on someone’s hip against a fence it didn’t mean he was winning.  Cage control and ground control is moot when nobody’s submitting and nobody is getting pummeled.
  3. Bruce Buffer.  What a hack, underachieving half-brother desperately chasing the shadow of Micheal Buffer, a real announcer.  The snapping, exaggerated, trying too hard, circus introductions are so apropos for this WWE showcase.
  4. The best fighter in the world is in Strikeforce.  Fedor is the boss.
  5. The limiting rules.  It used to be the limited rules, but that’s when the UFC was realistic.
  6. The lies. The UFC is a hype machine fooling millions of people that these guys are really elite.  It’s not refined enough yet, so there are plenty of bums among the good guys.  The UFC promotes for idiot fans and a lot of punks.  The cheap heavy metal music is proof enough.   The mediocre is sold as spectacular.  Roy Jones wouldn’t have been fooled that Forrest Griffin was a main event fighter.  Even most of the bums Roy fought had proven records, not 16-6.
  7. Dana White.  What a jerk.  He is like a Nazi.  He cares nothing about the growth of mma.  He matches up guys against their best interest and he makes judgments to ban people for mishaps that are irrelevant to fighting.  That’s business, but it doesn’t actually help the sport.  His tyranny allows him to criticize Anderson Silva for not being exciting – Silva’s job, as a legitimate sportsman, is to win and that is it.  He’ll whine and pout like a spoiled, bratty college kid who didn’t get to max-out mommy’s credit card.  And fighters have to prove themselves to him?  Check the TUF series in which he asks for fighters to sacrifice their dignity and to “beg the best” for a shot.  White needs checks and balances to offset his idiocy.  Fighters need personal representation and not to sign their potential careers away to a circus act that is the UFC.
  8. Joe Rogan. Did I mention that he is a cheerleading groupie who sucks-off all the fighters?
  9. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).  What a bunch of coddled, upper-middle class hicks who think they’re tough because their high schools each had 500 or so kids who they were tougher than.  Anyone could try out for TUF, get lucky, and show up on the UFC.  Where is the humility that is born from really being a fighter and knowing that there is always someone tougher than you are?
  10. Football-like paint on the face hyped ring walks.  Any fighter knows to stay calmer than these psyched up morons.  You don’t have to psyche yourself up, you’re in a fight.
  11. There is only one Anderson Silva. It’s not his fault crap competition is making him think he could box Roy Jones.
  12. Soft chins. Wow, I don’t want to hear the small glove argument.  When you have guys getting knocked out with jabs, a la Kimbo Slice, you know there is a huge problem with the weeding out of chumps in mma.  When a boxer realizes his chin is as weak as some mma guys, he doesn’t even turn amateur.

* The ideas expressed in submitted articles are not necessarily the views of ShootaFairOne.com