Many martial artists and fans of MMA have been part of or heard discussions like these in the past, yet it seems we continually run into the same frustrating scenarios with certain bouts on the card for various events in UFC and other organizations.
There is always something to be said for the art and beauty of perfect form as well as a disciplined approach to combat. However, in a real fight, how much does perfection matter when you are really just fighting for your survival? This brings another topic to the surface, what is survival in the world of MMA?
In the ring it seems fairly straight forward… Survival is winning the fight. You progress through the ranks and ultimately achieve a championship victory. However, when you take a step back you see that winning a fight isn’t the same as winning a fan base, and when you talk about survival in life, ultimately a professional fighter needs to cultivate their fan base in order to maintain interest and hopefully garner sponsorships. Even if someone isn’t a champion yet, if they put on a very entertaining fight (sloppy or skilled) then fans will follow and with that will come brands eager to pay to sponsor and advertise through the popular athlete.
Now we’ve discussed some basic tenants of business in promotions and maintaining a fan base. However, to the more traditional martial artists, the question of technique and skill comes into play. Art vs. action… The very term Martial Art, implies something more sophisticated than simply throwing hay-makers at someone till they drop to the ground. However, the fact of the matter is fans of the sport pay to see action in the ring. Lately we have seen many bouts (Machida vs. Henderson for example) play out like a very tedious chess match with neither player willing to make a move for fear of sacrificing their strategic advantage in the game.
This careful, and somewhat tedious strategic approach may win you fights but it won’t necessarily win you fans. Ultimately, whether the fighter fights for some personal motive or to be an entertainer and celebrity the unavoidable truth is that in sport there is an element of entertainment. Imagine watching a soccer match where everyone refused to kick the ball for fear of losing ground on the field, or a baseball game where each person at bat refused to swing for fear of a strike.
When we look at Martial Arts in an academic realm… the class room, the dojo, etc. We can appreciate it for it’s beauty in form and the art of perfecting technique. However, when we look at Martial Arts in competition, fans undoubtably want to see something entertaining. The only question remaining is, are the athletes paying attention to the fans reactions, or are they simply focused on winning each bout with the least amount of risk?
At SciFighting we wish all competitors good luck in their pursuits and we also wish them to achieve there goals safely. As fans of the sport we also would like to see more variety, initiative and activity in competitions.
To our readers, please let us know how you feel!