On new and casual MMA fans.

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AchillesHeel
2/16/07 5:07:28PM
I've seen lots of people complain about UFC fans and crowds (not just on this forum, all over the place), because they don't understand the sport very well yet. Booing at UFC events is rampant, and I agree that it's annoying as Hell.

However, I think it's over-simplistic to say that UFC fans simply don't like or appreciate ground-fighting. I find that new and casual UFC fans really like takedowns, the bigger the better, and really dig Ye Olde Ground n' Pound. They even like submissions when they appear close to, or result in, a tapout. Choke-holds always seem to get a rise from the crowd; rear naked chokes are a big fan favorite, and I think people are learning to appreciate a good triangle.

The tactical battle that can happen on the ground sometimes goes over people's heads because they don't see the dangerous potential of this or that. I sometimes have to explain to people not only what a "Kimura" is, but why it sucks to get caught in one (this usually involves demonstrating it on them ). And I think we can all admit that the struggle for balance and leverage in jiu-jitsu and wrestling can be nearly invisible sometimes. Those of us who have experienced those sports may have an advantage (I think this is true for all sports actually - I watch the sports today that I played as a kid).

My fear regarding the UFC and its fans is that the referees, judges, and fight promoters will pay too much attention to the new and casual fan, rather than letting them educate themselves by watching the fights. I don't mind a new fan wondering what the frack Jason MacDonald is doing while Chris Leben punches him in the head, but it worries me when this carries over to the people making the decisions. The decision to not air the Lister-Marquardt fight was a bad omen on a number of levels.
hippysmacker
2/16/07 5:18:20PM
I wouldn't say it's just UFC fans either. Most new fans to MMA don't have the technical knowledge to appreciate some of the finer point's of grappling. Just give them time. I understand your fears. I share them, and I don't think they are groundless. However, it's better to help educate new fans than to flame them. I'm not in anyway specifically targeting you or anyone with this observation.It's just something I've observed throughout the longtime , diehard, MMA community. As Aceprone posted a while back, Japanese fan's come from a culture rich in warrior tradition's, where their heroes are samurais. In America, western gunslinger's are as much heroes too us as anyone in our history . It will help our sport in the long run to just be patient and help educate IMO.
Jeffanori-Gomi
2/16/07 5:24:00PM
I never really understood why K1 hasnt become huge in the US as it is elsewhere.

People love standup battles and K1 is good for that, but Im guessing the USA's boxing market would outshadow the K1 market.?? Your thoughts?

I think if the UFC implemented a rule system similar to PRIDE. ie card system, knee strikes to the head, the new fanbase would appreciate the ground game more because there would be a reduction of weak takedowns due to being able to defend by kneeing to the face. We would then see more standup orientated matches IMO

your thoughts

hippysmacker
2/16/07 5:26:15PM

Posted by Jeffanori-Gomi

I never really understood why K1 hasnt become huge in the US as it is elsewhere.

People love standup battles and K1 is good for that, but Im guessing the USA's boxing market would outshadow the K1 market.?? Your thoughts?

I think if the UFC implemented a rule system similar to PRIDE. ie card system, knee strikes to the head, the new fanbase would appreciate the ground game more because there would be a reduction of weak takedowns due to being able to defend by kneeing to the face. We would then see more standup orientated matches IMO

your thoughts





completely. I hope to never see footstomps/soccer kicks , but kness onthe ground make afight more exciting and punish the LnP to me.
AchillesHeel
2/16/07 5:30:47PM

Posted by hippysmacker

[...]it's better to help educate new fans than to flame them. [...]It will help our sport in the long run to just be patient and help educate IMO.


Precisely.


Posted by Jeffanori-Gomi

I never really understood why K1 hasnt become huge in the US as it is elsewhere.


Marketing and accessibility. K-1 simply isn't on the radar here.


I think if the UFC implemented a rule system similar to PRIDE. ie card system, knee strikes to the head, the new fanbase would appreciate the ground game more because there would be a reduction of weak takedowns due to being able to defend by kneeing to the face. We would then see more standup orientated matches IMO

Some people think that allowing knees to the head of a downed opponent would discourage some stalling. Whether it's true or not might be moot; I don't foresee the sanctioning bodies changing their minds on that one.
Svartorm
2/16/07 5:46:21PM
Unfortunetly, you're probably right, although if UFC gets even bigger, they might have a little bit of say with the athletic commisions about that sort of thing. Realistically a knee to the head on the ground isn't that much more dangerous than an elbow.
redmist
2/16/07 6:58:40PM
Let's be honest here, the people who get drunk and boo don't want to be educated. They want to see "ultimate fighters" knocking hell out of each other. they don't visit sites like this for intelligent debate about the sport or search for videos of gogoplatas and anaconda chokes. They just want to turn up, drink, and chant "usa" if the opposition is foreign.

unfortunately this has effected things in the ufc. we don't get to see some fighters, even though they are close to recieving title shots (marquardt). and even fighters we've looked forward to seeing in the ufc for a while (machida). We also have fighters apologizing to the booing masses for daring to play to their strengths and keep the fight on the ground. I think going to the ground will eventually be rendered pointless because bjj guys won't have time to work for a position before they're stood up. But that's the price we might pay for the growing popularity.

hope i'm wrong and sorry to be so cynical.
hippysmacker
2/16/07 7:22:52PM

Posted by redmist

Let's be honest here, the people who get drunk and boo don't want to be educated. They want to see "ultimate fighters" knocking hell out of each other. they don't visit sites like this for intelligent debate about the sport or search for videos of gogoplatas and anaconda chokes. They just want to turn up, drink, and chant "usa" if the opposition is foreign.

unfortunately this has effected things in the ufc. we don't get to see some fighters, even though they are close to recieving title shots (marquardt). and even fighters we've looked forward to seeing in the ufc for a while (machida). We also have fighters apologizing to the booing masses for daring to play to their strengths and keep the fight on the ground. I think going to the ground will eventually be rendered pointless because bjj guys won't have time to work for a position before they're stood up. But that's the price we might pay for the growing popularity.

hope i'm wrong and sorry to be so cynical.



I hope your wrong too. Your point is valid, but seriously how many diehads can afford to go to the UFC. It's become the new " in thing" for celebrities and people with excess money to blow.Also, since the majority have been in Vegas, unless you live close it's a big inconvenience and expense. I would much rather watch it in myhouse with 15-20 people who I knoe are into it anyway . Drunken people always ruin anything IMO. Baseball, football, MMA etc. They are always just rowdy and overbearing. I still think eventually more and more peole will become educated and this will diminish appreciatively.
Reignofterror
2/16/07 8:24:16PM
It's honestly pathetic and in my opinion disgusting how casual fans view the sport. Many of them merely hope for the authlete to get hurt, and many pay for blood. Violence is the X-Factor for many new comers to the sport, and that may have been what drove them away from boxing if they were a fan, was the fact that now we can punch,knee,elbow, and kick...but little do they care about the ground game unless someone gets pummeled.

Once it hits the canvas little respect is given for some of the grappling clinics that are put on by fighters (Griffin vs Edgar for example). Wrestling and Juijitsu is an art which deserves much more appreciation then it is given, and for fans that want to see a stand up brawl then why not watch K-1 Kickboxing, mixed martial arts isn't exactly you're cup of tea. Unfortunetly, to the grapplers dismay it seems that referees are as well not giving the time needed on the ground which often results in immediate stand-up unless fighters are immediately engaged. For those that have practiced Juijitsu realise that it takes time for submisssion holds to be locked in place and positioning is everything, as well as mental concentration. The ground holds as much of a physical battle as mental and it does take brains to attain victory on the ground which many people new to mixed martial arts fail to understand.

Mixed Martial Arts is a sport not a human cock-fight and for those that fail to realise that these athletes are professionally trained fighters, who train, diet, and work just as hard if not harder then football, basketball, and baseball players. Don't boo the ground game, and don't boo a stand up fight that doesn't look like Bonnar vs Griffin 1, MMA is an aggressive sport, yet still very tactical, and it seems the tactical part always goes unappreciated.
MrGreeny
2/16/07 8:32:17PM
I think, the drunken audience at the UFC events knows too few about MMA... This mfkrs (sorry that i call them like that but they deserve it after forcing a legend in MMA like Rampage apologise after a good fight) should watch more Pros vs. Joes ;) like the video where Frank Shamrock chokes some DJ and in like 5 seconds the DJ is sleeping... The crowd doesn't apreciate the strenght of the fighters...
dstlvb
2/16/07 8:54:03PM
There are many valid points that have been brought up in this discussion. The booing in the ground game is a little hit and miss. If i remember correctly the Griffen/Edgar fight wasnt booed very much. That was a match with incredible action on the ground and lots of transistions. I love the ground game as much as the rest, but a lot of these fighters do not push the action on the ground. Even from the top position. A good example would be Herman/ Grove, lots of action. Now the grappling wasnt world class but they pushed the action. A happy medium can be found

I belive this is due to the makeup of most of the UFC fighters. In my personal opinion the TUF type fighters are being mishandled. The key to these fighters is getting them in and training full time to fight. A comparison might be the NBA. Wjile the players have gotten younger, people complain about the lack of fundementals. If you look at a fighter like Nog or even Fedor(non bjj guy) he pushes the action no matter where he is at. Most of the young fighters havnt learned that yet.

One more thing to consider is the rapid growth of the sport has taken many by surprise. I belive Dana and MMA in general are all trying to catch up. I think we need to give the UFC and Dana a little more time to see where they are going to take MMA. The NFL has succesfully blended the old and the new, the hardcore and the casual.
ac_gi
2/17/07 12:12:45AM

Posted by CtOlaf

...like the video where Frank Shamrock chokes some DJ and in like 5 seconds the DJ is sleeping...



Do you mean Joe Rogan?
ac_gi
2/17/07 12:25:28AM
Fans are fans. I enjoy watching fights were there are fans of all aspects of MMA. To me an educated MMA fan base makes the fights that much more exciting. It's almost like having a good announcer.

There is not much the UFC can do to prevent grappling. They have a large, almost circular cage that benefits the striker. The rules are in place, it is up to the mixed martial artist to implement their game plan, and not worry about the boo'ing.
ac_gi
2/17/07 12:28:53AM
The reason strikers are more successful is because they are generally the more talented. I've trained in Kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu... you can teach someone to apply an armbar like (insert ground specialist here), you can't teach someone to throw a powerful punch with precision and accuracy like Chuck. There is a reason that strikers and GnP guys are ruling MMA.

The striker learns submission and takedown defense, then lets the bombs fly.

Let the flaming begin
hippysmacker
2/17/07 12:34:13AM

Posted by ac_gi

The reason strikers are more successful is because they are generally the more talented. I've trained in Kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu... you can teach someone to apply an armbar like (insert ground specialist here), you can't teach someone to throw a powerful punch with precision and accuracy like Chuck. There is a reason that strikers and GnP guys are ruling MMA.

The striker learns submission and takedown defense, then lets the bombs fly.

Let the flaming begin



No reason to flame anyone,I just disagree. I beleive you can teach someone how to throw a powerful punch. It's all in the rotation of your hips, feet, and getting your whole body in on the punch. Chuck himself has said despite his previous martial arts training Hackleman taught him how to get a lot more power in his punches
ac_gi
2/17/07 12:41:53AM

Posted by hippysmacker


Posted by ac_gi

The reason strikers are more successful is because they are generally the more talented. I've trained in Kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu... you can teach someone to apply an armbar like (insert ground specialist here), you can't teach someone to throw a powerful punch with precision and accuracy like Chuck. There is a reason that strikers and GnP guys are ruling MMA.

The striker learns submission and takedown defense, then lets the bombs fly.

Let the flaming begin



No reason to flame anyone,I just disagree.



I guess I'm still in Sherdog mode!
hippysmacker
2/17/07 12:49:19AM
LOL, they say it takes 90 days to break a bad habit
ac_gi
2/17/07 12:55:50AM

Posted by ac_gi

... I've trained in Kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu...


Clarification,
I, in no way think I'm a no-it-all. First and foremost I'm a fan and wannabe.
JunCTion
2/17/07 1:20:42AM

Posted by hippysmacker

I wouldn't say it's just UFC fans either. Most new fans to MMA don't have the technical knowledge to appreciate some of the finer point's of grappling. Just give them time. I understand your fears. I share them, and I don't think they are groundless. However, it's better to help educate new fans than to flame them. I'm not in anyway specifically targeting you or anyone with this observation.It's just something I've observed throughout the longtime , diehard, MMA community. As Aceprone posted a while back, Japanese fan's come from a culture rich in warrior tradition's, where their heroes are samurais. In America, western gunslinger's are as much heroes too us as anyone in our history . It will help our sport in the long run to just be patient and help educate IMO.



ufc is what i saw first and i liked the strikers and saw a lot more fights with striker against striker and that was entertaining to me. when i saw a ground agaist striker fight i wasn't thrilled cause a lot of ground guys that can't strike seem to stall. but when i started watching pride they had a lot of grappler against grappler fights and that opened my eyes (plus pride not letting them stall). watching the gracies, sakuraba, newton, etc. and the things they do on the ground were awsome (my favorite at the time being Renzo / Newton) i understand that a lot of people say styles make fights and dana likes to put on a lot of style / style fights to see which one prevails and it's ok naw that i understand more (but still wish they had the yellow card for stalling) but i really do like the fights with striker / striker & grappler / grappler. i did used to hate ground fighting but now i love it.
Svartorm
2/17/07 3:09:51AM

Posted by ac_gi

The reason strikers are more successful is because they are generally the more talented.



I disagree on that, but bare with me, as this might take a second and I'm kind of drunk right now.

Combat is more or less universal, in that it has two fundimentals, those being offense and defense. This applies to both large scale warfare and single combat, and in both situations, there will be a dominate force. After the advent of rifles, warfare switched to being defensive, as it became too difficult to attack entrenched troops without taking a disproportionate number of casualties. This became ever worse when the machinegun was invented, and it primarily why WW1 was so bloody. WW2 saw the tank come into play heavily, and the advent of better artillary, which changed warfare back to being offensive. The advent of new weapons and tactics will eventually change this back again.

MMA is similar in that new styles and weapons are invented all the time, and it changes the way fights are conducted. The reason strikers are dominating right now is because takedown defense is faster than actual takedowns. Its too difficult for groundfighters to get excellent strikers with excellent takedown defense on the ground, and those guys are winning right now. I think the next logical step to swing things back towards the grapplers is for guys with great clinch fighting and takedowns from clinch to come in and be able to impose their will.

Once again, if this makes no sense, its because I'm drunk.
hippysmacker
2/17/07 3:20:40AM
Good post. Randy was the best at the clinch and takedown. However, I fear he has lost a step. It's the exact reason I think Lindland( who's style is very similiar) will beat A. Silva if they ever fight. Hendo seems to have gotten in his head that he is a standup fighter a lot lately, which is why I think he lost to Misaki. Being able to strike is not the same as being a striker in my book. It's also why Hughes got dismantled so badly IMO. GSP might have beat him anyway, but to only go for 2 takedown's when your clearly losing on the feet was ludicrous to me.
Svartorm
2/17/07 3:24:09AM
I agree about Hendo. He did a lot better when he was a great wrestler with a killer right hand, as opposed to standing with people he really shouldn't. Thats why I think hes going to be stopped by Wandy. He'll try to stand with him when he should be more concerned with takedowns and GnP.
aceprone
2/17/07 3:32:05AM

Posted by Svartorm


Posted by ac_gi

The reason strikers are more successful is because they are generally the more talented.



I disagree on that, but bare with me, as this might take a second and I'm kind of drunk right now.

Combat is more or less universal, in that it has two fundimentals, those being offense and defense. This applies to both large scale warfare and single combat, and in both situations, there will be a dominate force. After the advent of rifles, warfare switched to being defensive, as it became too difficult to attack entrenched troops without taking a disproportionate number of casualties. This became ever worse when the machinegun was invented, and it primarily why WW1 was so bloody. WW2 saw the tank come into play heavily, and the advent of better artillary, which changed warfare back to being offensive. The advent of new weapons and tactics will eventually change this back again.

MMA is similar in that new styles and weapons are invented all the time, and it changes the way fights are conducted. The reason strikers are dominating right now is because takedown defense is faster than actual takedowns. Its too difficult for groundfighters to get excellent strikers with excellent takedown defense on the ground, and those guys are winning right now. I think the next logical step to swing things back towards the grapplers is for guys with great clinch fighting and takedowns from clinch to come in and be able to impose their will.

Once again, if this makes no sense, its because I'm drunk.



Totally agreed. It's all in the evolution of the sport. As people start following the progression of their favorit fighters and hopefully it will also educate the public at the same time. But I do think there will always be fighters who are better at a different aspects of the game the others. I think that's natural. For instance in basketball, it's very rare when there's a player who can play any position. Even in baseball, or whatever. People will always ethier be better on the ground then standing, or vise versa. But hopefully in the future being "weaker" fighter in a different area then another fighter, will be nowhere compared to how Bisping"s stand up is better then Schafers'. But more fights in the future will have more of an connection to the lines of how Rich is compared to Anderson, on the feet or ground.
crimethinc
2/17/07 6:01:51AM
I am one of those guys who can't stand watching fights with people who aren't into MMA. Whenever I hear people complaining that fighters are just "dancing" around each other or "hugging" on the ground it seriously makes me want to fight. But as far as the casual MMA fans perception of a fight it's pretty much what's to be expected.

A lot of new fans haven't watched MMA at all much less through it's evolution through Zuffa. The only thing they know is that this is the cage-fighting that used to be banned in most states because guys would get there teeth knocked out. And in all fairness it was. The UFC is a young company and it has changed drastically in a very short time. It has become highly marketable and thanks to spike tv it sky-rocketed into the mainstream.

We can all sing to the skies about how us die-hard fans aren't elititsts. But in a sense we are. And that's not a bad thing. Anytime something that was, for lack of a better word, "underground" goes mainstream it's followers are going to take pride in that they were there before it was big. And since we've been following it for years we pretty much know the ins and outs of the sport. You ask me to describe MMA to someone who isn't a fan I will say it's a combination of various striking arts and submission wrestling arts etc. You ask a new fan to describe MMA they may just some it up like streetfighting, because that's what it used to be essentially and that's the only word they can use to describe it because they don't know what Muay Thai or Jiu-Jitsu even are.

As far as the striking vs. grappling debate, that's a cultural thing. We are a nation whose national past-time in combat sports is boxing. 10 years ago if someone says they are a professional fighter you automatically assume they mean boxer. We don't even watch real wrestling, we watch fake wrestling. To a lot of people jiu-jitsu sounds like a fighting technique in the way that ninjitsu is a fighting technique. So you can't expect someone who has no idea what grappling is much less jiu-jitsu to see a guy setting up for any type of submission and not think that they are just rolling around trying to hold each other down.

Until people understand what the "Mixed" part in MMA stands for they are always going to want to see a "fight". Which in there minds is two guys punching each other until one of them falls down. Is the fan reaction going to influence the fighters to drop one of the most dangerous weapons in the sport and start training 100% Muay Thai, no. Once the sport and it's new fans have a longer relationship people will understand the various aspects of the sport. But you can't throw someone, whose only exposure to fighting is a punching contest, in the heat of a jiu-jitsu war and expect them to know what the hell they are looking at. The people love MMA will understand and seek out more, the people who don't understand MMA will hop off to the next bandwagon that rolls by. We are at the current height of MMA popularity and this allows there to be such a thing as a casual fan, so give it time and it will all blow over.
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