The Fundamental Flaws of Mixed Martial Arts
Don't let the name of this thread fool you. This is not a MMA bashing thread or anything like that. My intention with this topic is to discuss a few glaring flaws I have seen in mixed martial arts competition and training and hopefully we'll get some good discussion going on how this could be changed/fixed or, for those who disagree, why it shouldn't.
These are some fundamental flaws I have noticed in MMA training and competition:
The advent of time limits has completely changed the game.
Before time limits, the point of any MMA (or vale tudo, at that time) match was to win by knockout or by submission. There were no time limits and no judges. Also, there were no rounds. It is pretty common that we see fighters very nearly defeated with a submission hold, but who manage to stall just long enough for the round to end. At the beginning of the following round, the fighters return to a standing position in the middle of the ring. Granted, today's fighters are conditioned very well and most of them can fight for long periods of time without giving up a submission or an opportunity for a knockout. While imposing a time limit has lessened the chances of serious injury to the fighters and made sure matches didn't go on forever, the breaking up of rounds has made it possible for some fighters to use stalling and turtling to their advantage.
"Technical Knockouts" are not always knockouts.
Don't get me wrong, here. I don't think these fighters should be put in more danger than they already are. For the most part, MMA is actually safer right now than professional boxing. We'll probably never see a Moo Duk Kim incident in MMA. However, I think that those who are proponents of the realism of MMA will have to agree that there is really no telling what would have or could have happened after the referee stops the fight. While it is a safe bet that the fighter who was claimed the victor would pummel his opponent into sleepyland, it is also entirely possible for a significantly rocked fighter to regain his composure. The main flaw here is that it falls under the referee's discretion, and sometimes referees make bad calls.
If you go to a standing/down guard position in a real fight, you're retarded.
It is not uncommon in some MMA organizations for a fighter to drop to his back or remain on his back while his opponent is standing up after escaping from a bad position. The fighter on the ground then uses his legs to push, kick and annoy the other fighter. This position has almost no chance whatsoever of any kind of payoff in the ring, and the only reason fighters get away with it is because said organizations prohibit the stomping of the face while an opponent is on his back. In a situation in which this is allowed, the man on his back is going to be stomped all over the goddamn place.
Fighters train grappling, striking and clinching separately and get stuck in "modes."
I have seen far too many MMA/NHB fights in which a fighter in the dominant position fails to take advantage of an opportunity to strike his opponent because he is caught in "grappling mode." On the other side of that same coin, fighters also get KOed because they get stuck in "striking mode" against someone who they have no business standing up with. Alot of MMA gyms don't train that transition. They practice boxing for awhile, then take off the gloves and practice grappling, usually from the knees, and then they practice clinch techniques and some more boxing or muay thai at the end of the training session. This is a pretty common routine. Shootfighters who are successful in MMA are usually successful because shootfighters train for all ranges of combat collectively.
Just about any MMA fight can be won with two key elements.
Few would argue that a well timed takedown followed immediately by a ground and pound would end most MMA fights by submission or TKO relatively quickly. A fighter on his back can try to strike upward, but has little to know power. The fighter on top can easily ignore his punches and pound him into the mat. This is the very same strategy some idiot you get into a fight with at the bar would employ, he just wouldn't be as good at it. Because fighters get stuck in "modes" they often miss the opportunity to end the fight quickly this way.
Way too many wild punches.
I will stand by that I have yet to see a really good boxer in MMA. Every time I see two fighters duke it out in an MMA ring, I see two guys who are supposed to be skilled martial artists just swinging at each other. These guys train in boxing every day, but when they step in the ring they're throwing haymakers. It just doesn't seem right. Every once in a great while you'll see a right cross KO a guy, but more often than not the fighters are just wailing on each other with very little science or technique involved. These guys need to learn to keep their heads after getting hit.
Stagnant conservation of the Status Quo
There are some very specific guidelines as to what should be present in a MMA ring. What this is producing today is alot of fighters who are carbon copies of one another. Nearly every fighter in PRIDE is a wrestler or Jiu Jitsu player with some striking ability, and nearly every fighter in UFC is a big puncher who knows just enough grappling to not get trounced by a good grappler. This makes the sport stagnate, and it sends the message that innovation is a bad thing. In a few years it's going to be a guy who gets in the ring and does something totally out of the realm, like capoeira or *gasp* open hand strikes that is going to change the face of MMA. If this does not happen, the sport will never grow and the art form of MMA will stagnate and die. Even Cro-Cop with his high KO kicks sent a message: innovators dominate MMA and there are far too few innovators.
Again, I urge you to bear in mind here that I'm not trying to put down MMA. In a quest for evolving our martial arts it is a step in the right direction. I'm a big fan of MMA and it has influenced my own concept of martial arts tremendously. In a situation in which I feel physically threatened I am far more likely to use a combination of boxing punches, wrestling takedowns and jiu jitsu ground work than I am to use straight up traditional JJ techniques. However, if we are going to evolve our arts and our combat sports, we have to address the weaknesses of MMA as well as its strengths.