2/07/2010 11:28am, #1
UFC 109: Elbows on the Ground, Elbows on the Ground, Lookin' like a fool...
As most of you know, I'm not the type who'd normally argue for making MMA's ruleset more restrictive. Heck, I'm the guy who when watching the scene from 300 where they held the baby over the cliff, for a brief moment, caught myself actually pondering whether or not that approach would be good for society. (Yeah, yeah, eugenics is EEEEVIL, blah blah blah Nazis, etc.)
So the point stands; I don't get squeamish over blood, nor do I believe that the human body (especially that of a highly trained athlete) is such a fragile thing that it needs to be swaddled in bubble-wrap and a bicycle helmet before leaving the house let alone entering The Octagon(™ Zuffa/Chuck Norris).
But as I was watching last night's fight between Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt, seeing the guy who was clearly winning leaking all over the guy who was, except for the whole "bleeding" thing, being mugged, I had a bit of an epiphany:
"It'd be a goddamn shame if Marquardt won this fight due to the cut".
And that's why I'm now flirting with the opinion that elbows should be restricted. It'd not because of the blood, or the injury; it's because a MMA fight should be won by the better fighter, and not the guy with the pokey-est body parts. If winning by a cut were intended to be a strategy, why bother having the fighters wear gloves? Why not allow headbutts? After all, elbows have more potential to open cuts than both headbutts and bareknuckle punches.
Now before all of you boney
motherfmotorscooters out there, and Kenny Florian, get indignant at the thought of having your ability to turn your opponents into the Kool-Aid Man taken away, I said I was just "flirting" with the idea. I've got no plans on talking to any commissions about this, organizing letter writing campaigns involving envelopes filled with elbow macaroni, or standing outside the NSAC office waving a "Don't Bleed on Me" flag.
But we, as competitors, officials, and fans of MMA need to consider the important question in all of this: "is it ok if the better man loses the fight due to an injury?" Really ask yourself that, as someone who cares about the sport and not a particular fighter. Was it cool when Mark Coleman "won" his fight over Shogun because Shogun squrimed out of a takedown attempt and hurt himself? Did you enjoy seeing Coleman (and Baroni) up on the Pride ring ropes with their arms raised as if he'd actually defeated the guy?
The rules in MMA exist to serve two purposes:
- To protect the competitors from severe injury where possible
- To ensure the better fighter wins
And when it comes to elbows, there happens to be a fairly huge gap in which those criteria are not being met.
I honestly don't know where I'm going with this article; like most of what I write, it's stream-of-consciousness with little revision as I go along. And it's kind of weird to be writing a piece without a clear point to make one way or another. Still, it's something we, as a community should be discussing.
2/07/2010 11:43am, #2
Agreed. As a coach of fighters it pains me to see my fighters lose to some trivial thing as a cut. I have had to stop a few of my guys fights due to such an instance. While we are squeamish about soccer kicks and head stomps we continue to allow elbows.
It does not go into the legitimacy of the technique. Elbows work they can KTFO of your opponent but in more instances they just open up a "goat's vagina". The rules of MMA are still in their infancy and it will not be long before they have the data to support rule changes and make the sport better for the fighters and fans.Judo is only gentle for the guy on top.
2/07/2010 11:50am, #3
Have we seen anyone KO'd with an elbow recently? I can remember dozens of cuts due to elbows, but not a single KO.
It is Sunday morning after all, but still.
2/07/2010 11:57am, #4
2/07/2010 12:02pm, #5
Naa, plus it'd let people squirm out of armbars/etc a lot easier.
2/07/2010 12:05pm, #6
2/07/2010 12:05pm, #7
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
2/07/2010 12:06pm, #8
I get where you're coming from, but cuts come from other sources besides elbows, ya know, whether it be from punches or BJ Penn's shin. Cuts like those end the fight as well.
Yeah, yeah, I know, elbows cut more easily. And perhaps more often than not, the fighter doing the elbowing is deliberately looking to end the fight via cut. But elbows on the ground are a legitimate technique, if we're trying to be "As Real As It Gets TM"
In the Sonnen fight, I don't think Chael was in any danger of having the fight stopped, but in cases where there is a safety issue and blood is diminishing a fighter's vision, maybe stop the fight and award a NC. De-incentivize cutting as a way to win.
Rudy Reyes > Bear Grylls
2/07/2010 12:06pm, #9
I hate the idea of MMA rules sliding down the slippery slope towards two guys in inflatable sumo suits hitting each other with pillows.
So perhaps if we take out elbows we can bring back... erm... I don't know - soccer kicks to the head?
2/07/2010 12:10pm, #10