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To Tourney Or Not To Tourney?Unless you have spent most of your time trying to avoid martial arts news, you have likely heard of the Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix. If you haven't, well, this article probably is not for you, but in summary it's the world's best heavyweight fighters (outside of the UFC, thanks ZUFFA) doing their best to prove they are the best at what they do, which is give me a complex because I don't weight over 265 pounds. I jest, of course. They are trying to prove they are the best fighters.
Now, the 'tournament' has drawn some feedback because, well, it's not really a tournament in the sense you expect. It takes place over a very lengthy period of time. It seems more A Really Slow Prix then Grand Prix. I worry I will not know who the best heavyweight fighter in the world (outside of the UFC, thanks ZUFFA) before society ends in 2012.
Back in the baby years of mixed martial arts, there were actual legitimate tournaments, with the fights taking place over the course of 24 hours. Granted, back in the baby years of mixed martial arts, it was also legal to land in side control and just punch your opponent in the testicles. I digress. Some people like the baby years method of mixed martial arts. Me, I just grimace a lot when I watch it. Maybe I'm not 'tuff enuff'.
At a certain point you have to think about the fighters and their well-being. Those early tournaments did not. You would have two fighters, both punch drunk or fatigued from their prior bouts, fighting each other. What's the point? Why have two tired fighters engaged in Mortal Kombat when you can wait until they're fresh and have a more interesting technical fight?
I think the early UFCs were a lot like this.
The point of these tournaments is to determine whose the best fighter. I don't care about their cardiovascular fitness. I don't think a fighter should have to expose their bodies to the rigors of several fights in one night. I don't care about who the least tired fighter in the world is. I want to know who the most skilled is.
You may argue that if a fighter can beat other fighters while he's tired, isn't he even better then someone who defeats an opponent while he's fresh? This argument is flawed at its base. Both fighters are tired. It's a zero-sum game.
I would rather the fighters have this long time to train for their next fight, mend their injuries, set up a new camp. It provides for a more interesting, exciting fight then two men who can barely stand, with arms so tired from trying to choke their opponents they can barely form a fist.
These guys are definitely okay to fight like eight more times today.
Now, if you prefer the tournament method because you like to see a lot of good fights, then yes, I'm right there with you. I want to see as many good fights as often as possible. But I can wait to see the fights, for the sake of the fighters. I want to see them last in the sport as long as they can.