MMA athletes Rory MacDonald and Jake Shields took some time to compete in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu promotion Metamoris this past weekend. Some may call it a risky and unnecessary move as MacDonald waits for his title shot against the winner of Hendricks vs. Lawler. Whether it’s professional athletes in the olympics or cross-promotion in combat sports, lending athletes to outside competition is always a hotly contested move.
According to foxsports.com, Rory MacDonald commented on the near-armbar submission finish JT Torres caught him in:
“My arm hurts” “But it was going to break before I would ever tap.”
A statement like that is more than enough to rattle the cages of the UFC brass. However, it does confront the reality that lending fighters to Metamoris could result in injury. Both Rory’s title contention and Shields’ career in WSOF are vulnerable to injury sustained in what is ultimately an unnecessary contest.
While the possibility of sustaining an injury in another promotion like Metamoris is discouraging, having a UFC title contender on the card adds excitement. Everyone’s seen Rory and Shields throw leather in the cage, but how are they on the mat? Even though a fighter might choose a broken arm over a tap, injuries can be sustained any time during training. Whether it’s a Metamoris competition or ground game drilling, there’s always a risk of injury for combat sports athletes.
The call is ultimately up to the organization. The exposure and talent showcase of a promotion’s fighter has to be weighed against the possibility of injury. Even if the competitor is not concerned about an injury like Rory claimed to be, it would be a costly loss to the UFC. The last thing they need is another announcement that another event has to be postponed or an opponent has to be replaced due to injury.
Do you think lending fighters to a promotion like Metamoris is worth it? Do the risks outweigh the rewards?