Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dana White and the Myth of the Fighter

Watching fights on tv has become a bit tedious. All I see is kickboxing with takedowns (not many good takedowns at that) - but mostly kickboxing. I would rather watch a K-1 type show for that.
Why is this happening?
Entertainment for the masses, that's why. Most people don't know that much about fighting, and what they do know comes from watching the guys on tv and listening to the commentary. Sadly, what they learn is the Dana White version of what it means to be a fighter.
He puts on a good show, but the aim has more to do with entertainment than fighting well.

I knew it was over when the ref pulled Jeremy Horn off of Frank Shamrock all those years ago, using the excuse that he wasn't getting the job done fast enough. Mount used to mean something in the fight game. Now it's just another place to throw punches from. The clinch used to be a place to transition to the ground, or to reorganize the fight if someone was a good striker and you didn't want to trade with them. Now it's a place to "stay busy" (translation: throw punches or haphazardly attempt to take the guy down even if it's not the right time to try that, so the ref doesn't give your striking friend a free restart).
Striking, striking, striking.
Strike from the guard, strike from the mount, strike from side control (the geniuses on tv call it "side mount"), strike from the back (but never behind the ear line, you might hurt someone). Maybe he wouldn't have turned his back so easily if he could get hurt.

The only innovation I see is when they find another way to strike when they should be grappling. It is amazing to see what happens when you change the rules of real fighting for the sake of the guy in the 20th row who's too far away to see anything but strikes, or to make blood thirsty fans of the big knock out happy. When I see a guy walk to the mike and say he wants to "put on a good show", I feel sad. When I see guys say "I want to thank the fans, you are the important ones, none of this would happen without you", I feel disgusted.
Newsflash: there have been Warriors of all types on the path for thousands of years without the help of "the fans". The fans should feel honored to watch two men struggle in combat, they should watch with humility. The fighters should try to win.
That is all.
If the fans are entertained, so be it. If not, so what.


  1. Excellent points Dartanian. It drives me crazy when the ref says "keep working", when you can plainly see both fighters are working like crazy to try to improve their own position or counter their opponent from improving theirs.

    Many of the fans are yahoos who boo during a tactical struggle that they wouldn't understand even if they weren't drunk.

  2. I think I'm coming around to point of view on this.

  3. Its almost like we are reverting back to Roman days when the "fans" would watch anything to see blood. Well said D.