Do the UFC rules really favour wrestlers?

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Rush
7/14/08 7:57:03PM
Do the UFC rules really favour wrestlers?

This is a comment I hear time and time again. At one point I actually believed it. Then I got thinking...


Most people that think UFC rules favour wrestlers will probably comment on the octagon itself. How it is big with no ropes to slip between and no corners to favour the strikers.

However, there some major advantages that strikers have.

1) They start each round standing up. A round can end with the wrestler on top, yet they both start standing up the next round.

2) A fighter has the discretion to bring the fight up to stand-up mode, but not the other way around. i.e. gone are the days where a grappler can lie on the canvas and call the fighter down.


I tried to factor in the limited striking when one or both fighters are on the ground, but thought that it did not benefit either striker or grappler.

All in all I say that the rules are pretty even.

What do you guys think?
big_timmy
7/14/08 8:11:05PM
I think its more suited to strikers, but not by much. Like you said, you can call a fighter up, but not down.

And a not well trained wrestler will just lay there, eg Koscheck when he first started. But if this happens, a good ref will see that there is no action, and call the fighters to stand. If a striker is strong enough to hold the wrestler in the one position, even from the bottom, then the ref is sgonna stand them up, and the advantage once again goes to the striker, but thats just as much skill of the striker than the rules giving them the advantage.

As for the cage being good for the wrestlers, it works more for the strikers. Needless to say Chuck finishing Tito wouldnt have been so spectacular if they were leaning on ropes. If you get stuck on the cage against a good striker, i cant think of anywhere worse to be in the world.
SmileR
7/14/08 8:11:12PM
I defiantly think it favors grapplers for sure but I wouldn't say it just favors wrestlers. The fact that there are no corners is a major factor for strikers and the chain fence only really adds advantage to grapplers. Grapplers can push their opponent up against the fence and drag them down with where as strikers can't pin their opponent in a corner and beat the crap out of them.

In a way I do believe the octagon slightly favors grapplers but the name of the game is mixed martial arts so all the fighters should have at least some grappling knowledge. Worst comes to worst use it like Chuck and climb up the cage to get back to your feet!
seanfu
7/14/08 11:20:34PM
cagefighting will always favor wrestlers. Takedowns, clinches, top position (head to fence) elbows, all favor wrestlers specifically.

BJJ guys have a better time in a ring where if on their back their head is safe from cranking sideways against a fence and the pace of a ringfight in general.

Strikers don't really belong in a cage simply because there is always an easy enersha cage takedown and for some reason I can't ever tell the movement is much different when on the feet.

Also, look at cage vs ring, in the cage, fighters make one mistake and can be done, such as a takedown or tight ko. The ring seems to be a little more of a looser environment and produces more open style fighters. More room for error.

If nothing else just look at the track record for wrestlers since the days of BJJ loosing its mystery. That alone should say all it needs to. Matt Hughes (granted he learned submissions) went an entire career without really needing to learn striking and was dominant until just recently. Chucky was a high level wrestler. Jens was as well (high school level though) Timmy's just big.

A significant number of top strikers had wrestling backgrounds.

The ground control top position scoring is anything but compensated by standups.

The only arguement that could throw all I stated out the window would be the arguement that MMA ihas become a new pro wrestling for all that collegiate talent that wants competition and top level strikers don't want to lean the ground game. Boxers hardly have any motive to take a paycut and kickboxers take a huge risk in their careers.

That would be all I could say to go along with you.
RMFG_187
7/15/08 3:54:55AM
IMO no, i think its an even playing field, but I can understand the argument that it is. The rules favor Strikers in the stand ups, and breaking up the clinch. But the way bouts are scored do favor Wrestlers too. We have seen way too many fights where a fighter does the "lay n pray" and win the fight because of Octogon Control. IMO If u take down an opponent, u should stay active.

Rules are ok, just the way points are awarded to wrestlers for TD's and Octagon Control needs to be changed. They should find out how much everything is worth. Like how a TD compares to a well landed combo, or Sub attempt compared to GnP, so that if a wrestler gets a TD, but is out worked on the bottom, we can really find out who should win a round. ( a bit confusing, but just imagine a strike counts for a certain amount of points, and a TD counts for another amount of points) dunno im a bit drunk right now so ill read it tomorro and see if I made sense

BTW a little off topic but I just remembered. Do ya'll think they should have compustats like they have in Boxing? (its where they count strikes thrown and landed, and the
Rush
7/15/08 9:44:33AM

Posted by seanfu

Also, look at cage vs ring, in the cage, fighters make one mistake and can be done, such as a takedown or tight ko. The ring seems to be a little more of a looser environment and produces more open style fighters. More room for error.
.




What do you mean by more room for error? The ring is a smaller area.
AchillesHeel
7/15/08 10:52:45AM

Posted by Rush

Most people that think UFC rules favour wrestlers will probably comment on the octagon itself.


Actually, that wasn't the first thing that came to my mind. The "10-Point Must" scoring system and the judges who employ it are the biggest question mark for me.

The three biggest points of contention seem to be:

1. Does the scoring system count takedowns too heavily? Everyone who saw Penn-vs-GSP probably recalls Penn knocking the crap out of St. Pierre for the first round and then getting taken down repeatedly for the next ten minutes.

2. How does the scoring system count failed submission attempts? With (kick)boxing, you can give a guy a point for landing a punch, even if the punch doesn't inflict a lot of damage. In the latter sense, the punch "failed", but it's understood that the cumulative effect of many punches can make a difference, even if any individual blow didn't "do" anything. What about submission attempts? Is escaping a submission worth a point? Merely attempting a submission can't be enough, just as you don't get a point for throwing a punch, it has to land.

3. Does having top position on the ground count as "Octagon control"? For a wrestler, it does, but a BJJ fighter might be perfectly fine fighting from his back. I often tell friends who don't know MMA that if Fighter A is on top and Fighter B is on his back, the fight is even-Steven (Penn-vs-St. Pierre or Hughes-vs-Penn are good examples). However, a scoring system can't vary based on whether an individual fighter is a wrestler or a BJJ fighter. Look at GSP-vs-Koscheck. We knew that GSP was controlling that fight, but how did we know?
Rush
7/15/08 11:26:07AM
(1) I posted an article a long long time ago where an MMA judge explained how scoring is done. In a nutshell, if most of the round is on the ground, then ground control and takedowns will carry more weight than stand-up.

(2) this I don't know and agree that it tough to gauge. One thing to add to what you were saying is that is a failed submission attempt due to the aggressor's poor skills or is it a testimant to good defence of the defender?

(3) I think so, see blurb about article in (1)



Though I agree that the scoring system has to be changed. Because it is based on boxing one could make the arguement that it favours stand-up fighters, but if that is the case, it is not by much.
AchillesHeel
7/15/08 11:52:25AM

Posted by Rush

(1) I posted an article a long long time ago where an MMA judge explained how scoring is done. In a nutshell, if most of the round is on the ground, then ground control and takedowns will carry more weight than stand-up.

(2) this I don't know and agree that it tough to gauge. One thing to add to what you were saying is that is a failed submission attempt due to the aggressor's poor skills or is it a testimant to good defence of the defender?

(3) I think so, see blurb about article in (1)


So it sounds like the answer is "yes, UFC rules favor wrestlers."

Judging submission attempts against submission defense is a bit like evaluating a pitcher against a hitter in baseball. It's a "zero sum" equation where the truly decisive outcomes (a home run or a strikeout) aren't the norm. Knowing whether a hitter hit a "good" pitch or the pitcher made a mistake mostly comes down to being familiar with the game. Fortunately for baseball, the winners aren't declared by the judges.
Rush
7/15/08 12:05:15PM

Posted by AchillesHeel

So it sounds like the answer is "yes, UFC rules favor wrestlers."

Judging submission attempts against submission defense is a bit like evaluating a pitcher against a hitter in baseball. It's a "zero sum" equation where the truly decisive outcomes (a home run or a strikeout) aren't the norm. Knowing whether a hitter hit a "good" pitch or the pitcher made a mistake mostly comes down to being familiar with the game. Fortunately for baseball, the winners aren't declared by the judges.




I wouldn't say that. How did you reach that conclusion?


As for the "zero sum" equation. I think it is largely circumstantial and that even experienced judges can't really tell a lot of the time. Look at these guys that go for half assed guillotines. Some guys can sub with arm in and most can't. Does that mean that all fighters that try to choke with an arm in get credit for the sub attempt?

The same thing happens with striking. You know how many times I see a fighter throw knees, and hear Rogan and the crowd going ooh and ahh as if they were connecting, yet the guy is only kneeing the forearm of the opponent? Many many times. I don't know how the judges score those, but IMO they shouldn't be given credit for blocked strikes (unless that is all the fight is composed of - then it would be an issue of aggression)

As for the baseball analogy (I'm not a fan of baseball) I always thought of judging a pitcher's and hitter's ability was mutually exclusive. A pitcher striking guys out gets credit and a hitter not hitting well is "just not hitting well"

roadking95th
7/15/08 1:56:21PM
I think the rules are pretty even for both. The one point I feel that needs to be made is this:

A great striker needs on shot and he gets to start in his position at the start of each round.

The BJJ practitioner has it a little harder in that he has to get the fight to the ground, but once there he can finish it with one move.

The wrestler has to control the entire match to win.

All in all, I say the rules are pretty darn good. I would like to see knees allowed to downed opponents.

AchillesHeel
7/15/08 1:59:42PM

Posted by Rush

I wouldn't say that. How did you reach that conclusion?


Because wrestlers as a group have far superior takedowns, takedown defense, and position control than BJJ fighters. If a takedown scores a point, and having top position scores a point, that naturally favors the wrestler.

Also, if you "split the difference" and award points equally for attempting and escaping submissions, then a BJJ guy is barely breaking even. Personally, I'd like to see a rule against awarding any points for escaping a submission attempt. Judges would then only need to decide whether or not to award a point for the submission attempt. A submission attempt would therefore be a point for the guy who threw it, or no point at all, just like a punch or a kick. It's entirely possible that some judges actually do it this way; I'd like to see it be the acknowledged standard.


Posted by Rush

As for the "zero sum" equation. I think it is largely circumstantial and that even experienced judges can't really tell a lot of the time. Look at these guys that go for half assed guillotines. Some guys can sub with arm in and most can't. Does that mean that all fighters that try to choke with an arm in get credit for the sub attempt?


Maybe you could declare that attempting a guillotine with an arm in is automatically a sub-standard submission attempt, and therefore not worth a point. If it happens to work anyway, then great. In baseball, you don't have to throw pitches in the Strike Zone. If you can goad a hitter into swinging at a bad pitch, then you're The Man, but it doesn't mean it wasn't a bad pitch. If the hitter doesn't swing at it, the umpire is obliged to call it a Ball.


Posted by Rush

The same thing happens with striking. You know how many times I see a fighter throw knees, and hear Rogan and the crowd going ooh and ahh as if they were connecting, yet the guy is only kneeing the forearm of the opponent? Many many times. I don't know how the judges score those, but IMO they shouldn't be given credit for blocked strikes (unless that is all the fight is composed of - then it would be an issue of aggression)


I agree. A strike needs to land to be worth a point.


Posted by Rush

As for the baseball analogy (I'm not a fan of baseball) I always thought of judging a pitcher's and hitter's ability was mutually exclusive.


Well, you try to separate their performances, but because every action - every pitch - is in fact an interaction between two people, a combination of two actions, it's sometimes hard to tell what's what.

Complicating matters is the fact that the result of the interaction - whether the hitter hits the ball or not - isn't always conclusive, partly because there are degrees of success. There's a pitcher for the Red Sox who throws what's called a "knuckle ball." A knuckle ball travels extremely slowly and in some ways is easier to hit than a fastball. However, players describe hitting a good knuckleball as "hitting a wet sponge" - you smash it as hard as you can, and it plops off your bat and rolls accommodatingly to an infielder who throws you out.

From one perspective, the hitter "defeated" the pitcher: He smashed the pitch. Yet, the pitcher did exactly what he was trying to do - get the hitter out. MMA is like a pitcher-hitter matchup, but without the rest of the game to tell us whether the hitter succeeded or not (whether he reached first base or not). If you isolate the hitter and the pitcher, the only decisive results are a strikeout (the pitcher won) or a home run (the batter won). Everything else is inconclusive.
Rush
7/15/08 2:25:40PM

Posted by AchillesHeel

Because wrestlers as a group have far superior takedowns, takedown defense, and position control than BJJ fighters. If a takedown scores a point, and having top position scores a point, that naturally favors the wrestler.

Also, if you "split the difference" and award points equally for attempting and escaping submissions, then a BJJ guy is barely breaking even. Personally, I'd like to see a rule against awarding any points for escaping a submission attempt. Judges would then only need to decide whether or not to award a point for the submission attempt. A submission attempt would therefore be a point for the guy who threw it, or no point at all, just like a punch or a kick. It's entirely possible that some judges actually do it this way; I'd like to see it be the acknowledged standard.




Ah I see what you are saying here. I'm not one to support awarding points for attempted subs because it is even more subjective than striking. To me a number of sub attempts that see are no different than throwing a air jab to fake out your opponent. I can look like I am going for a kimura even though I have no chance in hell to secure it.

Where I stand is that ground control and aggression is equal to stand up control and aggression, which do not favour either, and really only go into the "aggression points" that are awarded.

I'm not really sure how the judges score it right now. Though the "trying to finish a fight" point in Pride would definitely fit your description of getting points for sub attempts. All in all it's a tough call.
Pookie
7/15/08 2:44:46PM
Yes, wrestlers can win a fight while inflicting little to no damage just by being on top of a guy.
If this is what wins you the fihgt, something is very wrong in the system.
Its not so much favored over strikers per say, but definitely favored over Bjj guys. Top position wins fights when in reality they may not be the ones controlling the action.
AchillesHeel
7/15/08 2:45:26PM

Posted by Rush

Ah I see what you are saying here. I'm not one to support awarding points for attempted subs because it is even more subjective than striking. To me a number of sub attempts that see are no different than throwing a air jab to fake out your opponent. I can look like I am going for a kimura even though I have no chance in hell to secure it.


Right, and this is where the judges' fluency in BJJ is a potentially decisive issue. If they can't tell the difference between a "real" submission attempt and a dumb one, they can't possibly be relied upon to award a point when one is warranted. Wrestling in MMA is much easier to score. In fact, you don't even need to know anything about wrestling, because takedowns and who's on top are both obvious.


Posted by Rush

Where I stand is that ground control and aggression is equal to stand up control and aggression, which do not favour either, and really only go into the "aggression points" that are awarded.


I suppose you could get away from awarding points for individual actions altogether. I think that's how the Pride FC scoring system worked, iirc.


Posted by Rush

I'm not really sure how the judges score it right now. Though the "trying to finish a fight" point in Pride would definitely fit your description of getting points for sub attempts. All in all it's a tough call.


"Trying to finish the fight" could serve that purpose, yes, so long as it was evenly applied to the standup part of a fight. For example, I think Rampage would have defeated Forrest Griffin under PRIDE rules, because his punches were thrown with bad intentions, while Forrest was trying to score points (and that's not taking anything away from Forrest, I think he played it smart).
Rush
7/15/08 3:04:08PM

Posted by AchillesHeel

Wrestling in MMA is much easier to score. In fact, you don't even need to know anything about wrestling, because takedowns and who's on top are both obvious.



Yeah, but because it is easier to score than BJJ, does that mean the "rules" of scoring favour wrestlers over strikers? I mean, to get points on the ground you have to get there first. The rounds always start standing up and a striker can always call up a guy on the groud.
AchillesHeel
7/15/08 3:16:12PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by AchillesHeel

Wrestling in MMA is much easier to score. In fact, you don't even need to know anything about wrestling, because takedowns and who's on top are both obvious.



Yeah, but because it is easier to score than BJJ, does that mean the "rules" of scoring favour wrestlers over strikers?


I think so, yes.


Posted by Rush

I mean, to get points on the ground you have to get there first. The rounds always start standing up and a striker can always call up a guy on the groud.


Right. And wrestlers tend to be much better at takedowns, and have better takedown defense, than anybody else.
Rush
7/15/08 3:34:34PM

Posted by AchillesHeel

Right. And wrestlers tend to be much better at takedowns, and have better takedown defense, than anybody else.




Well, isn't that kind of factoring in the abilities, and/or making assumptions about their abilities, into the equation?

I was thinking in terms of pure rules rather than if one type of fighter can exploit a rule or not. I tried not to talk about the limitations of striking on the ground because I didn't want to say/think that either striker or grappler was better at striking on the ground.
AchillesHeel
7/15/08 3:40:24PM

Posted by Rush

Well, isn't that kind of factoring in the abilities, and/or making assumptions about their abilities, into the equation?

I was thinking in terms of pure rules rather than if one type of fighter can exploit a rule or not.


I guess I don't understand the distinction.
Pookie
7/15/08 3:47:34PM

Posted by Rush

I was thinking in terms of pure rules rather than if one type of fighter can exploit a rule or not.



Wrestlers can exploit the rules better than any other arch-type of fighter... isnt this the question of the thread?
Rush
7/15/08 3:52:33PM
Not really, but it turns out that it might be a factor, which is why this turned out to be a better discussion than I thought.

What I meant by the original question was whether the current rules favoured the style of wrestling, rather than whether wrestlers could exploit the rules more effectively.

I see a distinction, but I can understand why others may not.
zephead
7/15/08 4:25:33PM
In a ring, the striker can cut off the ring and get his opponet "stuck" in the corner and tee off. But then again, will the bigger space in a ring, the striker, if he has decent foot work, can play the angles when the wrestler goes in for the shot or takedown, i.e. Chuck. The cage allows the grappler to clinch and control his opponet alot better.


Strikers have to adapt to the cage. I also think the cage forces you to be a all around MMA fighter. You saw what Wandy did when he came to America, started training with Randy. You have to learn take down defense. I also think the clinch game is going to come into play big time.

I rewatched the Jason MacDonald/Chris Leban fight and the Coutre/Gonzaga fight. MacDonald used the cage and kept leaning on Leban, forcing him to carry the weight and fight to stop the takedown. As the fight went on Leban started to get really tired. Finally MacDonald got him down and choked him out. Randy kept Gonzaga up against the cage and and just beat him down. Neither one would have happened in the ring.

I think it gives a slight advantage to wrestlers, but then again Chuck had no problem against Tito 2X, Randy 2X, Babalu 2X. He took out Horn once.
seanfu
7/15/08 5:26:07PM

Posted by zephead


I think it gives a slight advantage to wrestlers, but then again Chuck had no problem against Tito 2X, Randy 2X, Babalu 2X. He took out Horn once.



Chuck is a pretty good wrestler. People forget that one.
Rush
7/15/08 6:00:34PM

Posted by zephead


I rewatched the Jason MacDonald/Chris Leban fight and the Coutre/Gonzaga fight. MacDonald used the cage and kept leaning on Leban, forcing him to carry the weight and fight to stop the takedown. As the fight went on Leban started to get really tired. Finally MacDonald got him down and choked him out. Randy kept Gonzaga up against the cage and and just beat him down. Neither one would have happened in the ring.



Another good example would be Cote and Grove.

I also didn't want to talk about cage work because I don't think the clinch necessarily favours a wrestler/grappler. Anderson Silva showed us that.
zephead
7/15/08 7:11:59PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by zephead


I rewatched the Jason MacDonald/Chris Leban fight and the Coutre/Gonzaga fight. MacDonald used the cage and kept leaning on Leban, forcing him to carry the weight and fight to stop the takedown. As the fight went on Leban started to get really tired. Finally MacDonald got him down and choked him out. Randy kept Gonzaga up against the cage and and just beat him down. Neither one would have happened in the ring.



Another good example would be Cote and Grove.

I also didn't want to talk about cage work because I don't think the clinch necessarily favours a wrestler/grappler. Anderson Silva showed us that.




I understand not wanting to talk about it, but when comparing the cage to a ring, you have to. Can't do it in a ring, fighters will fall through. But the Greco wrestlers use the clinch game.
AchillesHeel
7/16/08 10:25:23AM

Posted by zephead

But then again, will the bigger space in a ring, the striker, if he has decent foot work, can play the angles[...]


Everything I've heard/read is that the Octagon is bigger than the usual ring.
Rush
7/16/08 11:03:47AM

Posted by AchillesHeel


Posted by zephead

But then again, will the bigger space in a ring, the striker, if he has decent foot work, can play the angles[...]


Everything I've heard/read is that the Octagon is bigger than the usual ring.




Yeah, that's what I've heard.
zephead
7/16/08 3:37:27PM

Posted by AchillesHeel


Posted by zephead

But then again, will the bigger space in a ring, the striker, if he has decent foot work, can play the angles[...]


Everything I've heard/read is that the Octagon is bigger than the usual ring.




Yes it is. But if you know what you're doing, you can control the size of the ring and play the angels. Watch Chuck closely. He is considered a counter puncher, but he gets you where you have to make a committment, you either have to shoot or exchange. Notice how many of his KO's are next to the cage and not in the center of it?

Even though he counterpunches and doesn't really come after you, he forces the issue. It's like he's trapping you against the cage. That stops you takedown attempt and forces you to throw a punch that he sidesteps and plays the angle
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