Dana White Meeting Resistance on Teammate vs Teammate Fights in the UFC

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emfleek
8/19/09 8:29:45AM
Dana White talked to CBS Sports and touched on the controversial teammate vs teammate point, Anderson Silva disagrees:

"It has nothing to do with friendship," White said. "It's about seeing who's the best."

Silva has been ultra-successful in his two forays to the 205-pound weight class. Neither of his two opponents -- Forrest Griffin or James Irvin -- made it past the opening round. To White, Silva's winning streak makes the fight inevitable.

STORY
State_Champ
8/19/09 8:52:43AM
It's unfortunate that the fans will not get to see certain fights because of friendships....

(I think Anderson's winning streak would come to an end if he fought Lyoto.)
DCRage
8/19/09 9:01:35AM
Nate Marquardt was on Pro MMA Radio this past Monday and he came right out and said they (teammate vs. teammate fights) will never happen. Pretty soon push will come to shove and it's gonna come to "take it or leave it", meaning you fight your teammate or you fight elsewhere.
Nightmare27
8/19/09 9:40:04AM
I dont blame anybody who wouldnt want to fight against a teammate. Not only for what it does to the fighters personally but that kind of thing could actually tear apart a team or gym. Coaches and training partners are forced to choose also. The whole thing is bogus. There is so many fights that they could put together insted of Silva vs Machida. I for one hope that it never comes down to it.
Darnok
8/19/09 10:15:52AM
I would fight my own brother. And kick his *ss.
Menard_StC
8/19/09 10:28:48AM
I don't want to see teammate vs. teammate. Chances are one of BOTH will not fight to the best of thier abilities...

Forcing guys to fight thier friends will just lead to BS like worked fights, guys taking dives, etc... not to mention guys who train with each other know everything about thier games.


What happens when training camp starts? Who leaves to train elsewhere? How is that decided? Will it negatively effect the guy who suddenly needs a new camp?
FlashyG
8/19/09 10:48:16AM
I support fighters not fighting teammates in all circumstances other than title fights.

If you ever turned down a title shot being offered because you wont fight a teammate, as an org owner I'd cut you immediately.

Are we going to get to the point where only 1 guy from each camp can be in an org? As camps like Greg Jacksons, Extreme Couture, and American Top Team get bigger there becomes fewer and fewer fights to be made without putting 2 teammates in there together.
KaibaThedon
8/19/09 2:41:52PM
I don't like the thought of having to fight your team mates...

I don't think its fair, and as previously stated, it could tear your team/gym apart.

If it comes to 'fight your team mate, or fight somewhere else' and they choose to fight somewhere else, now you just lost some premium fighters for nothing.
Jackelope
8/19/09 3:08:37PM
Really? He's meeting resistance? Go figure

Some of you guys are right on in your assessment of why teammate vs. teammate is a bad idea. Other guys must not have a clue about what it is like to put in hours and hours of effort alongside guys and then have to be asked to fight those same guys. You're talking about threatening the very fabric of what makes a team. How is that cool?

People say they'd fight their own brother or kick their own mom's ass. OK, that's fine. That's you. Why should everyone else have to conform to your standards? Maybe some people value their relationships greater, or seek a different kind of motivation than you do when taking a fight? There's a million factors at play here. To insult their "manly" nature by promoting your own willingness to fight those whom you care about does nothing for many people. (Myself obviously included)

Not that it really matters to the UFC who is running a completely successful business, but I've been steadily losing my interest in MMA as the respect and tradition disappears. When fights become about bottom lines, $ signs and brutality that's when I'm out. For right now I'm still proud of people like Wanderlei Silva, Jon Fitch, Demian Maia, Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva who fight for more than those two things. Respect, honor, tradition, loyalty- These are a large portion of what it means to be a martial artist. The sport has come so far and has become so refined both in technique and the ruleset. Do we really want to go back to the days when bar brawlers and tough guys ran the sport? If so, I'm out.
scobac
8/19/09 5:43:52PM
Im split down the middle on this. First off it should be training partner vs. training partner not teammate, this isnt M1 challenge or the IFL. Look at it from the ufc's point of view they are in the game to make this a great sport and do anything to achieve that goal and they know as should the fighters that this IS NOT a team sport. They just want to put together the best fights possible to further help the sport grow it is not thier fault so and so happen to train together, again this IS NOT a team sport. Dont get me wrong I would be torn about fighting someone im close to but that would be my problem not the promotions and I would have to suffer If I chose not to. Lets not forget that this isnt a street fight it is infact a sport and when you step into the cage your mind set should be it is a "match" not a fight in the sense that there is something personal, remember thats what makes it sport not "**** fighting". There are plenty of guys on different football, hockey, baseball, basketball teams that are friends and yet they go head to head in competition. If guys are getting close to where they might have to fight one another I think whoever is focused and determined to further their career should choose a different gym, I for one would be in it for myself because I know when I step into that cage to throw hands noone is going to help me but myself and the "teammate" concept goes right out the window.
bigbubbano23
8/19/09 6:10:08PM
some things we just are not supose to know
whardin19
8/19/09 6:37:35PM
I'm split on this also. I can see friends don't want to fight friends. Especially since the train together.

But, there athletes that get paid really well to give us entertainment. I think eventually its going to come down to you fight each other or fight elsewhere. I'm pretty sure if it comes to that there going to fight each other. There not going to lose there big paycheck because of it.
EliasG
8/19/09 7:31:33PM
Teams have fragility in the sense that every DUDE in the gym can be on a "team" in an individual sport when they know that the other guy has their best interest at heart and will help him---and he'll help back. If you have super competitive guys fighting each other, it's different.

That said, I think that it is very possible that the brazilian attitude may be very different than the American due to culture. I would fight my own friend and training partner---even though they would know my tells, my weak areas, my strengths, dislikes, discomfort areas, etc... because to me competition is just that. I'm not emotional about competition other than an extreme desire to win. When it's done I can let it go. Some guys can't and that is bad for teamwork, training, and friendships.

I would like to see Vitali v. Vladimir in a fight. I would like to see Lyoto v. Silva or Diaz v. Shields but it's THEIR choice. Who am I to demand that of a fighter if they don't feel comfortable with that or they are out there fighting tentatively so as not to hurt their friend? Can't see it.
Bumpy
8/19/09 8:07:12PM

Posted by scobac

Im split down the middle on this. First off it should be training partner vs. training partner not teammate, this isnt M1 challenge or the IFL. Look at it from the ufc's point of view they are in the game to make this a great sport and do anything to achieve that goal and they know as should the fighters that this IS NOT a team sport. They just want to put together the best fights possible to further help the sport grow it is not thier fault so and so happen to train together, again this IS NOT a team sport. Dont get me wrong I would be torn about fighting someone im close to but that would be my problem not the promotions and I would have to suffer If I chose not to. Lets not forget that this isnt a street fight it is infact a sport and when you step into the cage your mind set should be it is a "match" not a fight in the sense that there is something personal, remember thats what makes it sport not "**** fighting". There are plenty of guys on different football, hockey, baseball, basketball teams that are friends and yet they go head to head in competition. If guys are getting close to where they might have to fight one another I think whoever is focused and determined to further their career should choose a different gym, I for one would be in it for myself because I know when I step into that cage to throw hands noone is going to help me but myself and the "teammate" concept goes right out the window.



That is the way I see it, its not a team sport. Its just you and the guy standing in front of you when you enter the cage. The only real problem here should be the training camp issue and not have any thing to do with, its my friend, or teammate.
scobac
8/19/09 9:27:12PM
Individual sports

I hate to say it but maybe fights should be presented like they are in boxing to avoid this garbage. boxing has alot wrong but alot right, would explain how they stood the test of time. this is a very tough issue to debate.
Rush
8/19/09 10:21:53PM
From my own personal opinion, I would fight a friend and/or training partner. It's not about being macho or tough, but rather being a professional. I have put in years of blood, sweat and tears with a few friends and training and we all understand that there is nothing personal about it. I hate losing more than I like winning. That being said, I would rather lose to a good friend than an enemy.

Now, one could say that by fighting a friend/training partner, and beating them, you are taking food off their table (figuratively speaking). That is true to an extent, but the door swings both ways. Both fighters have an opportunity to win the fight, so I consider it a mutually accepted risk.

Regarding the UFC and friends fighting friends. I am indifferent towards the issue. These guys are supposed to be professionals and they have to be willing to accept the consequences of their decisions to not take certain fights. It's their choice and I respect that.These guys are supposed to be professional athletes and they need to decide what is more important to them in their careers.
postman
8/20/09 12:16:37AM

Posted by Bumpy


Posted by scobac

Im split down the middle on this. First off it should be training partner vs. training partner not teammate, this isnt M1 challenge or the IFL. Look at it from the ufc's point of view they are in the game to make this a great sport and do anything to achieve that goal and they know as should the fighters that this IS NOT a team sport. They just want to put together the best fights possible to further help the sport grow it is not thier fault so and so happen to train together, again this IS NOT a team sport. Dont get me wrong I would be torn about fighting someone im close to but that would be my problem not the promotions and I would have to suffer If I chose not to. Lets not forget that this isnt a street fight it is infact a sport and when you step into the cage your mind set should be it is a "match" not a fight in the sense that there is something personal, remember thats what makes it sport not "**** fighting". There are plenty of guys on different football, hockey, baseball, basketball teams that are friends and yet they go head to head in competition. If guys are getting close to where they might have to fight one another I think whoever is focused and determined to further their career should choose a different gym, I for one would be in it for myself because I know when I step into that cage to throw hands noone is going to help me but myself and the "teammate" concept goes right out the window.



That is the way I see it, its not a team sport. Its just you and the guy standing in front of you when you enter the cage. The only real problem here should be the training camp issue and not have any thing to do with, its my friend, or teammate.




I couldn't disagree more! While game time is one on one, What it takes to get there especially to the UFC it takes a team effort. You don't just go train at the local fitness center by yourself and walk into the cage. You need a good team to pick you up when you fall push you when you don't want pushed and so on. You need good coaches to teach you proper technieque, you need good sparring partners to perfect what you have learned. When someone from our gym fights we all celebrate his win or losing effort together because he knows as much as we do with out the other we couldn't do it.

I guess If you have a close "Family" style team your going to have a different oponion then someone who dosn't train and watches as a fan of the sport.
Jackelope
8/20/09 12:50:23AM
Gotta say I'm surprised at the amount of pro-teammate fights opinions there are. I respect all of your opinions, but I'm just .. at somewhat of a loss for words. I feel like the whole point is being missed. Then again, if you're pro teammate fights that must be how you feel about the way I'm seeing it.

I will say this, though- MMA IS a team sport. Anybody who has ever wrestled or been on an MMA team will know what I'm getting at. In wrestling, it's just you and your opponent out there on the mat, but you know you've got your whole team behind you when you get out there. Those guys 2 up and 2 down in weight from you make you the wrestler you are. When you're riding the momentum of success from guys who had a bout before you, it's hard to deny that it is a team sport. The same goes for guys from the same gym competing in these big organizations. Just look at the support Greg Jackson's guys give each other. Every time one of them has a big fight you'll see another Greg Jackson team member out there in the audience rooting them on. This goes for many other gyms as well. The Nog brothers are always in each others corner. Ryan Bader and CB Dolloway always corner for each other. The list goes on and on.

I would say golf is not a team sport. In golf you can practice and match your scores against previous cards from the same course. In MMA you WILL NOT reach the top level without training partners. You can train on a dummy and a heavy bag all day long, but they're never going to make you great. Just as I would say that playing against a teammate in basketball or football is not nearly the same thing as fighting against a teammate in MMA. Especially in an organization where 2 losses in a row is enough to get you kicked out.
EliasG
8/20/09 1:07:49AM
You know that is a very interesting point. I've never thought of it from that perspective. In boxing I never had that sense that it mattered. In fact, if I was brought in for "work" for another heavyweight I didn't care much about the other fighter and I even bruised the ribs of one fighter and didn't really care and wasn't asked back to the camp. But in wrestling it is just different, those guys ARE your teammates. You help them, they help you, you cheer them on, they cheer you on, they get on you, help you make weight, etc... That's a very good point.
Rush
8/20/09 4:27:55PM

Posted by Jackelope

Other guys must not have a clue about what it is like to put in hours and hours of effort alongside guys and then have to be asked to fight those same guys. You're talking about threatening the very fabric of what makes a team. How is that cool?


Not that it really matters to the UFC who is running a completely successful business, but I've been steadily losing my interest in MMA as the respect and tradition disappears. When fights become about bottom lines, $ signs and brutality that's when I'm out. For right now I'm still proud of people like Wanderlei Silva, Jon Fitch, Demian Maia, Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva who fight for more than those two things. Respect, honor, tradition, loyalty- These are a large portion of what it means to be a martial artist. The sport has come so far and has become so refined both in technique and the ruleset. Do we really want to go back to the days when bar brawlers and tough guys ran the sport? If so, I'm out.





Can I ask you (or anyone else that wants to chime in), if two team members have to fight each other, obviously one has to lose. I can't see how this alone will tear the fabric that holds the team together, unless of course the fabric was weak to begin with. If two guys can become friends after fighting, why couldn't two guys remain friends after fighting?

Respect, honor, tradition, loyalty. How are any of these things lost when two team members fight each other for the chance to better their careers? What would be the better option? Leave the team and train elsewhere so one could have a "clear conscience" when the day comes any they need to fight an ex-team member? Leaving a team would pretty much violate any of those virtues. One can still fight a friend and retain those virtues, if not, then I would question the integrity of the person/relationship before I would question the situation. If both guys agree, there is nothing back-stabbing about it.

If beating a team member means taking food from their family, I am sure something can be arranged so that both fighters split a win bonus equally or dispense with the win bonus altogether.

IMO, if one wants fighters to be truly professional, they need to dispense with the emotion associated with fighting.

Wolfenstein
8/20/09 7:10:30PM
This is a battle Dana can't win, and the sooner he realizes it, the better of he'll be. The number of guys who won't fight their own training partners is a very high percentage, and most of the guys who won't fight partners are top of the food chain guys like Anderson Silva, Lyoto, Koscheck, Fitch, GSP--etc. We're talking about huge elite camps here like Black House, ATT, AKA--these guys aren't going to fight each other, and you're not going to cut your best guys.

Anyways when training partners actually do fight, more often than not it's a really boring fight. They both negate each other because they know their strengths and weaknesses.
Jackelope
8/20/09 7:46:24PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by Jackelope

Other guys must not have a clue about what it is like to put in hours and hours of effort alongside guys and then have to be asked to fight those same guys. You're talking about threatening the very fabric of what makes a team. How is that cool?


Not that it really matters to the UFC who is running a completely successful business, but I've been steadily losing my interest in MMA as the respect and tradition disappears. When fights become about bottom lines, $ signs and brutality that's when I'm out. For right now I'm still proud of people like Wanderlei Silva, Jon Fitch, Demian Maia, Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva who fight for more than those two things. Respect, honor, tradition, loyalty- These are a large portion of what it means to be a martial artist. The sport has come so far and has become so refined both in technique and the ruleset. Do we really want to go back to the days when bar brawlers and tough guys ran the sport? If so, I'm out.





Can I ask you (or anyone else that wants to chime in), if two team members have to fight each other, obviously one has to lose. I can't see how this alone will tear the fabric that holds the team together, unless of course the fabric was weak to begin with. If two guys can become friends after fighting, why couldn't two guys remain friends after fighting?

Respect, honor, tradition, loyalty. How are any of these things lost when two team members fight each other for the chance to better their careers? What would be the better option? Leave the team and train elsewhere so one could have a "clear conscience" when the day comes any they need to fight an ex-team member? Leaving a team would pretty much violate any of those virtues. One can still fight a friend and retain those virtues, if not, then I would question the integrity of the person/relationship before I would question the situation. If both guys agree, there is nothing back-stabbing about it.

If beating a team member means taking food from their family, I am sure something can be arranged so that both fighters split a win bonus equally or dispense with the win bonus altogether.

IMO, if one wants fighters to be truly professional, they need to dispense with the emotion associated with fighting.




Again, I think the main issue at hand here is what people consider "professional" where this sport is concerned. I consider it more professional to decline a fight with a teammate than I do to take a fight with a teammate. We can load it down with rules til the cows come home- the bottom line is that this sport is about two men FIGHTING. Depending on your definition of that, you may or may not see it from my point of view now.

The way it will tear a team apart starts long before the fight actually takes place. Most guys prefer to keep their training mostly in-camp. When the trainers are asked to choose between two different fighters from their own camp then you start to see the favoritism card being played. Or at least it's more than likely going to be viewed that way by the guy who doesn't secure the coaching of his team's staff. We've already seen examples of how this affects guys on TUF. Guys have had to use another team for cornermen and they're not happy about it. That's only after training with coaches for a couple of weeks. Think if you'd been training at a place for years upon years and this happens.

I know you know martial arts and the history of them, so I'm not going to lay out all the reasons why fighting teachers and training partners violates tradition, honor and respect. I'm certain with enough effort you can dig through traditional martial arts history to find plenty of examples when teachers fought their own students, but as far as martial arts history goes these stories are less glorified than the stories of when students or teachers deferred when given the chance to prove they're better than their teacher and/or training partner. Some people probably read that and think it's all nonsense, but a lot of other people value these traditions and take them very seriously.

You say "if both guys agree" but clearly you're missing the point if you think that's the case. Both guys aren't in agreement that they should fight. So that nullifies that whole argument right there. If one wanted the fight and the other didn't then it would be a COMPLETELY different situation and I'd be leaning a lot more toward your side. As I would imagine the disagreeing party would and subsequently the fight would eventually happen.

As for the win bonus- Clearly doing away with the win bonus all together would be a bad idea no matter how you cut it. Splitting the win bonus might be one thing, but what about when a fighter takes a loss against his training partner, then takes a loss to someone else, and is cut because of the 2 losses in a row? How does the guy who beat him feel knowing that he's 50% of the reason his training partner is now out of a job?

I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how this could be a bad idea. I'm not going to sit here and argue it, though. What it comes down to is a choice- a matter of FREE WILL - exercised by these professional athletes, and I am absolutely 100% against the stripping of free will from anyone in nearly any circumstance. Especially when they're attempting to exercise that free will as part of a noble cause. A show of respect to their teammates. You can say "contracts this, contracts that" but here is another contract fact for you- Fighters are signed to contracts with the UFC, yes, but for each individual fight under that contract that the fighter takes he has to sign another contract that is exclusive to that one fight in particular. Until Dana and the UFC starts implementing contracts that allow them to cut a fighter's hand off and sign the paper in his own blood then my guess is that he will run into problems with teammates fighting each other.

Again, you've got your opinions and I've got mine. I'm all about free will. If you want to fight your buddy and training partner then fair game.. I'm all for you doing it and I'll support you every step of the way for your right to do so. However, if you don't want to and your training partner doesn't want to, then I'm going to be just as much in your corner fighting for your right to turn that fight down.
Rush
8/20/09 9:07:56PM

Posted by Jackelope

Again, you've got your opinions and I've got mine. I'm all about free will. If you want to fight your buddy and training partner then fair game.. I'm all for you doing it and I'll support you every step of the way for your right to do so. However, if you don't want to and your training partner doesn't want to, then I'm going to be just as much in your corner fighting for your right to turn that fight down.




Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying they should be forced to fight each other, but they need to be able to accept the fact there will be consequences. Consequences such as, if you're not fighting the top fighters you will never be a top contender, you will not get payed as a top contender, etc. Keep in mind that I am not referring to team mates fighting each other when there are other options, but there are times where something has to be done.

Similar to your example of the winning fighter being responsible for for 50% of his team mate getting let go. I don't buy this as a legitimate reason to not fight a team mate. The same guy could just as easily lose to two fighters that have nothing to do with his camp. These guys are competitors. Why should they be shielded from top competition in their division? If their goal is not to hold a title, why are they even competing at this level?

Likewise, as in the case with the UFC WW division, by not fighting your training parter you can be contributing to the stagnation of the division rankings, which I can imagine will affect fighter pay (why would the UFC continue to pay Jon Fitch big bucks to fight chumps?). Dana White could just as easily say that in situations like this, that nobody gets a title shot if a number one contender cannot be firmly established. In that case neither fighter's career progresses.

For example, this winner of Swick-Kampmann gets a title shot is complete BS IMO. What has either guy done in the WW division to be considered top contenders? Martin has only fought twice at WW and both guys haven't really beat anyone significant in the WW division. I have seen nothing from these guys at WW to suggest they would have a chance with GSP.

But I digress.

Getting back to the topic, I don't think one can use the "values" and actions of traditional martial artists from history. For most of history martial arts was about learning the art of war, not competition. They had the connection within their dojo built for many reasons, but outside of fighting battles, the only reason for fighting within or between dojos was for ego (which I agree is not a legitimate reason for fighting a buddy) This is professional competition. These guys are doing this as a career and it must be treated as such. This isn't Akira Kawasaki challenging the head student of the dojo because he wants to be number one.



Both fighters and camps need to understand that if you have multiple fighters in a single weight division of a single organization, there are going to be problems. As for coaches playing favorites... this can happen when more than one fighter from the camp are fighting on the same night. Corner men? A respectable coach would find neutral substitutes and not pick favorites. Most of the problems associated with training (to me) end up as faults of the people not the a problem with the situation.

I have over a decade of TMA training and understand what you are saying Jackelope, but I also strongly believe the a lot of the elements of TMA do not apply with professional fighters. The fact that they are doing this for a living means that they have to treat it like a job.If you draw a parallel to the business world, two people from the same company (friends) can compete for a promotion. Should both of these guys not apply for the promotion? Would anyone consider it dishonourable for these guys to compete for the new job?


Anyhoo, I'm not arguing to antagonize you or anything. I just think this is a good discussion to have. And good discussions have been rare on the boards for a while.
Jackelope
8/20/09 9:28:20PM
Well, I appreciate that.

If I can be so bold as to make an assumption- you're training with your friends and amongst small gyms, right? (I believe I've heard you make mention of this in the past) As someone who trains at a respected camp with plenty of fighters on the UFC's roster, I can give you a more first hand impression of what I'm getting at. Like I've maintained- each fighter and each fight is a different story. However, a "neutral substitute" does not work when you're in an MMA fight. You want your coach and your friends in your corner. You don't want a "neutral substitute". Sure, the coach could abstain from coaching either guy, but that in and of itself is an argument for why this is a bad idea. Why should guys be forced to take a fight with cornermen whom they aren't familiar with? When I say forced we obviously both agree that nobody is holding a gun to these guys' heads. However, I think it is a bullying tactic to hold a contract to their head. So to speak.

Besides, people are talking like this is a serious problem. Can you honestly give me one legitimate example where two team mates MUST fight each other in order to sort out "rankings"? Obviously if one guy holds the belt and the guy directly below him is his teammate and #1 contender this could cause a problem. However, this is where the #1 contender who knows he's hurting his career makes the choice and shows his loyalty. That is the respect and tradition I'm talking about. He knows perfectly well what's at stake. He doesn't need some guy on an internet message board telling him what he's giving up. He knows damn well better than you, I, or Dana White what kind of an opportunity he's passing up on. That is his choice.

Besides, the main crux of this whole deal is the Machida/Silva fight. Are you telling me there are NO other contenders at 185 or 205 for either of these guys to fight? Even at 170 you have guys like Swick and Fitch who won't fight each other. That's fine- you've still got Alves, Koscheck and a thousand other guys at 170. It's not like we're in dire circumstances here.

One last thing- "Shielded" from competition is a complete misuse of words IMO. These guys aren't "shielded" from fighting their teammates. They're simply making a choice not to fight their teammates. It's not as though they're afraid of their teammates and that is why they won't fight them. That is an insult to the fighters IMO. It is a decision based on friendship, loyalty, and respect. Also- of course the guys could lose to any other 2 fighters. If two basketball players are going for the same rebound does that mean they should fight amongst each other to get the ball? No, you're a team, and you work together to do what is best for the team. If one guy is on pace to set a rebounding record, then I would let him have the rebound because I respect and love him as my team mate and want to see him succeed. I don't want to do anything to get in the way of his success.

Let's not act like this is some huge problem. We're talking about dozens of fighters from different schools clamoring for the top. Not 5 guys from the same school crowding the top.
Rush
8/20/09 10:25:38PM

Regarding my training, yes, other than aikido I have pretty much exclusively trained in clubs that were small enough that we were all a family. We did everything together and most of us were good friends (still are). There were times we had some really hard fights in class (almost MMA calibre with respect to the rules) and we were still able to be just as close and support each other in the end. That is why I look at this differently than you do.

I am not arguing about Machida and Silva, in fact I didn't even read the article posted in this thread. I certainly agree that there is no reason these two should fight. That is asinine. However, just prior to when Kosheck got KOed by Thiago, there was a real problem in the WW division where there most of the guys considered to be in the top 5 have not fought one another. Considering that 3 of them were from AKA, I consider that to be a problem. Obviously it is a different issue now because Koscheck had a set-back, but can one honestly put legitimacy in the WW top contenders if all of them got to the top 5 without fighting other guys in the top 10? This is what I was referring to as being shielded. I am not saying they are afraid, but getting a title shot fighting a fighter ranked out of the top ten because you don't want to fight your team mates in the top ten is being shielded in my eyes. That is special treatment and it shouldn't happen. One can think of a hypothetical fight camp that attempts to stack a division with their fighters. If those fighters are top 10 guys, you reach the problem of a lot of your top 10 not fighting each other.

I think the basketball example is not a good one. One can call MMA a team sport all they want, but IMO it's not. It requires team training, but once the fighter gets into the octagon to fight, the only ones that can ultimately win/lose the fight are him and his opponent. In a real team sport it is possible to not even play and still win the game (perfect example are back-up goalies in hockey). You can't recapitulate that in MMA. Do you think these team mates in the Olympics not give 100% to win, even when competing head to head? I don't care if my team mate is in his last race or not, I am giving it 100% or I wouldn't even be competing.

Like I said, I support the fighters having the choice, but I don't think that they should get special treatment to circumvent the situation. That is not fair to the other fighters in the organization. Of course these situations are also expected to be a rarity at the moment, but as successful camps start growing, it could become a more widespread problem.
Jackelope
8/20/09 11:03:41PM
When I drew the comparison to a large camp I was trying to illustrate a point you pretty much made. Every day in the gym during a training camp you go at it 75-80% (often times 90% when you get tagged pretty good) with full MMA rules and 4oz gloves. These guys are fighting each other every single day. We're talking literally day in and day out giving each other bloody noses and bruised ribs. At the end of practice they are definitely able to keep it friendly and closer than ever. However, there is still a difference between training with that kind of intensity and actually having a bout against one another. Maybe it's something that is hard to understand, but clearly I'm on to something here if all these professional fighters are refusing to fight one another. Like I said from the beginning- the fans that are demanding these guys to fight don't have near as much at stake as the fighters themselves. I'd like to think (and know for a fact) that they know what is on the line when these situations present themselves, and I support their free will to make a decision one way or another 100%.

Now, without naming specific names, I can tell you about two fighters that are pretty well known that have trained together in the past. One is at one camp, and the other is at one down the road that is friendly with the others' camp. These two are perfectly friendly with one another and have helped teach techniques to each other. It is very likely that in the near future they will be faced against one another for the championship belt of the organization they fight in. Both fighters have already addressed the issue in interviews and said they are more than willing to do it. Clearly you have two guys here who know what is at stake and are willing to go toe 2 toe. Again, this is a decision I support and it shows that when something has to be sorted out these guys know how to use proper judgment to make good career decisions. Read that as: There is no problem that Zuffa needs to step in and take care of in order to sort out the rankings.

When you have a guy who heads an organization stepping up onto a microphone and insinuating that he wants to make a RULE where guys MUST fight each other, that is when I have a problem with it. That is taking away fighters' free will, and that is something I won't support. When you have fans demanding that two guys fight each other, that is also something I don't support.

Obviously you're not doing that, and you're respecting their freedom to choose, but I have to question those that insult their decisions and talk about fighting their brother for a shot at the belt. Does that mean they covet their career or the belt more than they covet their relationship with their brother? No? Well then what does it mean? Does that mean these people think they and their brother could still be cool after duking it out for the belt? Maybe. Like I said... perhaps I'm just different from these people. I don't personally desire to put a fist into my own brother's face with the malicious intent of knocking him out stamped upon my knuckles. No matter what is on the line. I consider my training partners my brothers, and I don't think anybody (fan or promoter) has the right to force me to inflict harm upon him.

I know that sounds contradictory considering that I just mentioned how we give each other bloody noses and bruised ribs every day, but that is just something I can't explain. It's OK to train with one another with the intention of helping each other get better, but IMO it is not OK to have a full on fight with one another. I believe if it comes to that it is mine and my training partner's right to choose.

joshryanshepherd
8/21/09 12:07:42AM
You guys are writing way to much! I bet you two made some great points and i would love to read it all but i cant force myself to.

All i have to say is that Dana is always saying the LHW & the WW Div's are completely staked, so why do the 2 or 3 teammates at welterweight have to fight and whats up with Dana MAKING Anderson Move to LHW to fight for the Title? if GSP doesnt wanna fight at MW against Nate im sure Dana wont make him.

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