The ground game component of mixed martial arts seems to have a polarizing effect on fans. There are die-hard wrestling and jiu-jitsu fanatics and there are those who immediately tap their toes for a referee standup. While lay and pray fighting may be a success at the decision, many fans agree that it makes for a less than entertaining competitive contest. MMA isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but with Glory’s resurgence of kickboxing, can the organization satisfy the striking demand of combat sports fans disgruntled with MMA’s ground game?
This proposition of this idea isn’t meant to say that all MMA ground game results in lay and pray fighting. There are world class wrestling and jiu-jitsu grapplers that can end a fight just as quickly as you slip up in their guard. There are ground and pound experts that will beat the sense out of their opponent just as soon as they find their way to a mounted offense. However, there are also those that take the initiative to lay and pray and succeed in the sliding scale method of judging criteria. While there are varying opinions about the fighting strategy and if it should be allowed, it is an effective means to win the fight when it comes to the judges’ scorecards.
For many fans, the payoff after the takedown is waiting for the the fists and elbows to start raining down. Ground and pound was one of the most shocking yet entertaining aspects of MMA when it first erupted onto the combat sports entertainment scene. Ground and pound still exists in modern MMA contests, but the resulting boo at lay and pray tactics indicate that many fans feel cheated from entertainment.
Lay and pray fighting doesn’t seem soley enough to make every MMA fan quit watching the sport, but with the pure striking alternative of kickboxing, Glory may have a very strong appeal. Although there isn’t the entertaining ground and pound, elbow strikes and very limited clinching, Glory could pick up where K-1 left off in satisfying combat sports fans that are more interested in striking. There is a lot of high level talent competing in a 3 3-minute round sprint to a KO finish. There’s very limited time to score by strikes in each round with no alternative.
How do you think MMA’s ground game can be improved? What ways do you think kickboxing has its own shortcomings as a combat sport?