Nothing in sports has more entertainment value than a perfect left hook right on the button. Whether it’s a spinning back fist, a kick finding its way around a guy’s hands, or a knee stopping a shot dead in its tracks, everyone loves a clean and perfect knockout. The immediate gratification of a knockout means you don’t have to worry about scoring, politics, perspective, and all the other factors that go into a decision. From the standpoint of fighting promotion, it’s the perfect highlight reel material. Knockout’s are universal, absolute, and an total thrill to watch.
They are also one of the most effective ways to end fighting careers. There’s no need beat the dead horse of concussions in athletics, but the simple truth is that knock outs are an absolutely debilitating blow to a fighter’s health and ability. This isn’t a case against combat sports, professional athletics, and not against knockouts. This is a case for submissions over knockouts for the purposes of fight organizations to preserve the longevity of their athletes.
The Case For Submissions
Unlike knockouts, submission victories are not always clear and evident to people tuning in. It takes some education about grappling and why it is an arm bar or a joint lock causes someone to submit. They are not always as apparante or as clear, but what they allow for is minimal damage to fighter. This isn’t to say that submissions don’t cause injury and damage to a fighter. You can tear ligaments, break bones, and temporarily lose consciousness, but not before a fighter has a chance to forfeit the match.
In the interest of selling sports entertainment, knockouts take the cake for immediate gratification. However, both the organization and the fighter take a substantially greater loss in the long run. The list of names is endless—think about how many MMA athletes were never the same after multiple knockouts. They lose a serious amount of athleticism and cognitive ability, which comes to two conclusions. A fighter with multiple knockouts will have a shorter, less successful career. For this reason, fight promoters will suffer in the long run for not being able to sell the same amount fights.
Knockouts, like all physical damage, are part of the world of MMA. They are one of the most desired endings to a fight, but are also the most debilitating to fighters and MMA organizations in the long run.