The end of gladiator style?
Let’s face it. UFC runs MMA…right now anyway. If we were going to compare them to wrestling companies UFC would be WWE (not the first time the Dana White, Vince Mcmahon comparison has been made) and Bellator would be TNA. As in all cases where there’s a big and little guy, the little guy must do something creative and new to keep the audience’s attention. Something contraversial that the big guy can’t afford to do because he has too much weight. Too many eyes on him, too many sponsors, too much money to lose. He can manuuver in ways a big guy can’t. It seems that now the smaller companies have found their niche, and that niche is called the MMA tournament.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with MMA tournament let’s break it down. It usually happens in one night and for a particular weight class, for example WSOF (World Series of Fighting) will be hosting their light heavyweight tournament this friday – 11/20/15 – in Pheonix Arizona. The basic premises is that the top ranked fighters from that weight class fight each other one on one until only two competitors are left and they then fight for the title. Simple right? Wrong.
The complications with these type of tournaments is the potential for serious injury. I can only imagine what it’s like to fight one time a night nevertheless more than three. Popular on the local circuits, if any has ever seen the movie “The Fighter” knows that these things can get quite brutal. Just recently Bellator’s “King Mo” Lawler had to pull out of his championship bout on their “Dynamite” tournament due to rib injury. Besides the risk of injury some people think tournaments aren’t the best way to determine the true champion. For instance, King Mo could’ve been the best fighter on the card but because he sustained a rib injury and didn’t get the time allowed to heal, as he would have with a regular fight, the title goes to lesser fighter. It’s more about the spectacle than crowning an actual champion and is fan oriented not fighting oriented.
However, tournaments are nothing new. Japan has been having gladiator type tournament for years and with much success. Bellator and WSOF claim the Japan type tournaments are things of the past however, their tournaments are well paced, organized, and have strict rules that protect the health of their fighters.
“This isn’t like the old days, when there was very little attention given to safety,” Sefo said. “Yes, injuries can happen in the fight, yes, we could end up with an alternate fighting in the main tourney. But the chances of a night that’s memorable and fun are pretty high. You wouldn’t want to run a show like this every night, but the safeguards are in place to do our best to ensure the fighters’ safety.”
-Rey Sefo (President of WSOF)
So what’s the verdict? Should tournament style fighting be banned from MMA? I think not. While I’m not the biggest fan of tournament style fighting, (honestly it looks like those guys suffer) if people want to see it and fighters agree to do it, then party on! I would like to hope that if this style of fighting sticks around then safety measures will continue to get better and pacing times will be nailed down to a science as to give these guys a fighting chance (pun intended).
More importantly, what do you guys think of tournie style fighting? should it stay in the past, or is it back atlast?