It is happening slowly but surely in the sport we all know and love. As Mixed Martial Arts becomes more and more about sport, and less about actually fighting, it is becoming something entirely separate from what it once was. There are many factors leading into this theory, and the subject itself is very controversial as it is debated furiously on MMA forums all over the internet. I think it is time that we stop making excuses for fighters. It isn’t the competition getting harder that is causing less finishes, because the fighters are going into the octagon more focused on not losing than they are on finishing. Of course this is not most fighters, and some fighters like Cheal Sonnen just don’t have that much finishing power to begin with. Other fighters like Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck and John Fitch simply do not have any intention of finishing the fight. These fighters are more focused on exploiting the wrestling biased rules to win decisions and extend their win streak. This would be perfectly acceptable if this sport was as large as football or soccer, but it’s not, and they are actually hurting the sport.
MMA and more specifically UFC was at its pinnacle around UFC 100. This is where the sport really took a turn and was seen as a professional sport, as opposed to a sideshow. Around this time, a ton of fighters realized if they just fight safe and insure themselves the decision, they will keep their jobs and continue to work their way up the division. What they don’t realize is, this sport is slowly dying. We are losing public interest, and the average viewer is just getting sick and bored of watching these fighters cuddle their way to decisions. If they keep winning this way, they soon will not have a job to win for. Fortunately there is still a large amount of fighters willing to submit guys or put on a show, but when they realize that other fighters are more successful with a lay and pray strategy, they just might convert. Just look at Clay Guida. He was an animal and one of the absolute most loved fighters in the UFC by the fans. Once he took up a strategy of fighting safely to decisions, everybody started booing him before he even got to the cage. Safe decision fighters are killing this sport, and we can only hope this is just a phase in MMA’s short history.