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Smiling fighters are more likely to lose (study)

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Bubbles

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The day before mixed martial artists compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), they pose with each other in a staged face-off. A new study has analysed photographs taken at dozens of these pre-fight encounters and found that competitors who smile are more likely to lose the match the next day (pdf via author website).

Michael Kraus and Teh-Way David Chen recruited four coders (blind to the aims of the study) to assess the presence of smiles, and smile intensity, in photographs taken of 152 fighters in 76 face-offs. Fighter smiles were mostly "non-Duchenne", with little or no crinkling around the eyes. Data on the fights was then obtained from official UFC statistics. The researchers wanted to test the idea that in this context, smiles are an involuntary signal of submission and lack of aggression, just as teeth baring is in the animal kingdom.

Consistent with the researchers' predictions, fighters who smiled more intensely prior to a fight were more likely to lose, to be knocked down in the clash, to be hit more times, and to be wrestled to the ground by their opponent (statistically speaking, the effect sizes here were small to medium). On the other hand, fighters with neutral facial expressions pre-match were more likely to excel and dominate in the fight the next day, including being more likely to win by knock-out or submission.

link

full research report here

Last edited 3/25/13 8:51PM server time by bubbles
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Post #1   3/25/13 8:49:06PM   

hotrodttt

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Fedor is a good example of this theory, didn't lost for a good amount of years.

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Post #2   3/25/13 11:12:23PM   

BelXavier420

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I have always thought fighters look nervous when they are smiling ridiculously.

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Post #3   3/25/13 11:25:46PM   

infestructure

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Posted by BelXavier420

I have always thought fighters look nervous when they are smiling ridiculously.



Agree, with the exception of Matt Mitrione's goofy grin. He's just mental

Post #4   3/26/13 5:27:19AM   

bootyclause

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Its interesting. Sounds true enough but you cant generalize. Social sciences are falsely called "science" when really they are more about educated guessing.

Post #5   3/26/13 6:13:54AM   

SmileR

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Posted by infestructure


Posted by BelXavier420

I have always thought fighters look nervous when they are smiling ridiculously.



Agree, with the exception of Matt Mitrione's goofy grin. He's just mental



I'd throw Matt Riddle in there too. He's always smiling an built up a pretty good win streak. Although he is always high so maybe its just from that.

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Post #6   3/26/13 9:41:00AM   

airkerma

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Very interesting. Never been a huge fan of guys smiling in the cage either, like when they get cracked and then crack a smile. They seem to go down pretty soon after that.

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Post #7   3/26/13 10:38:44AM   

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This is horrible news for Sam Alvey.

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Post #8   3/26/13 10:55:38AM   

jae_1833

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What an odd but intersting thing to notice, never thought much about it.

Post #9   3/26/13 11:29:23AM   

Boo_Radley21

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Leonard Garcia is a smiley bastard

Post #10   3/26/13 12:16:10PM   

Poor_Franklin

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Wanderlei used to be angry as shit in Pride & then comes to the UFC & smiles all the damn time. still love the guy, but wish i could see him mean-mug the guy across the cage. maybe that plastic surgery wont allow him to

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Post #11   3/26/13 6:02:37PM   

frizzzlecake

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I always had a jerk smirk when batting during high school baseball and my sophomore year I got beaned on average once a game, so I think there's some truth to this. Ain't nobody want to see a smile during competition.

Post #12   3/27/13 12:12:44AM