It’s happening more and more often. Two fighters stand in front of each other and feel out their opponent, or they hit the mat and begin trading submission attempts. However, a slight rumbling begins across the crowd in attendance. Spectators begin booing or shouting for the referee to stand the fighters back up. It’s an interesting situation that can be having a greater impact on the sport than some people realize.
Mixed martial arts is an atmosphere that encompasses a number of fighting styles. You have those individuals who will stand in front of their opponent and throw as many punches needed to finish the fight. Then you have others who look to take the fight to the ground and lock in a joint wrenching submission maneuver. Finishing a fight is a great feeling; knowing that you pushed your opponent passed his physical limits in one way or another.
Still, many of today’s fights are going the distance. Some attribute this to the fighters being much more prepared and versed in different styles of martial arts. Fans, however, have begun to state that some fighters are not taking the risks needed to finish their opponents. Interesting, because how do these fans know what’s really needed to end the fight? I personally feel like their lack of understanding the situation plays into their disdain for such fighters as Gray Maynard, Jon Fitch, or even UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar.
Yes, it is true that these fighters do not have a high finishing percentage. Yet, between all three of them only 2 losses have been recorded in the Octagon against 36 wins. Shouldn’t the fighter’s mentality be focused on winning the fight as opposed to putting on a great show for fans? I believe it should. Winning is the only way you will continue to stay on the main stage of mixed martial arts. Yes, highlight reel slugfests with the fans screaming will keep you around for a little while, but not for too long. Lose enough fights and you will be cut just like anyone else; not to mention your health status after all the punches you have taken.
When I think of fans that are quick to boo fighters as they combat each other in the cage, I think that those fans are being unfair. Their lack of understanding about what it takes to be a fighter causes them to show disapproval. Next time you are prepared to boo a fight, take a second to think of what’s going on from the fighter’s perspective.
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