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Friday, 04/20/2012, 09:06 am

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Stop Fitching and Fitchery in MMA Now!


By Lewis Mckeever:
This is not an article set out to condemn UFC welterweight grinder Jon Fitch, but rather, a tool to vent my growing frustration and concerns with Fitch’s widespread smothering fighting style, otherwise known as “Fitching”.

Jon Fitch is renowned for his grapple heavy, “take no risks” approach to mixed martial arts. Jon strives to take his opponents down as quickly as possible and to pin them to the ground for as long as possible, with no real emphasis or sense of urgency on working for a stoppage. Fitch has been using his suffocating style to clock up most of his UFC career victories, with a whopping nine of thirteen wins spanning the three round duration. This has netted Jon quite the reputation amongst the MMA community. With his signature style spreading like wildfire across the MMA landscape, the term “Fitching” was coined.

My problem doesn’t lie with grappling or wrestling, I have an admiration for a plethora of wrestlers and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu specialists in mixed martial arts, my gripe is with those who specifically use their grappling prowess to stall and merely run down the clock. Initiate take down attempt, successfully complete take down, remain in opponents guard with head buried firmly into chest and hands clasped around waist, fend off opponents submission attempts and engage with pitter patter hammer fists every so often to give the illusion of activity. Follow said instructions for fifteen/twenty five minutes of bout duration. Congratulations, you have successfully managed to “Fitch” your way to victory.

“Fitching” isn’t just an art tied in exclusively to the ground game however, oh no, it can also serve as a great tool for pinning opponents up against the cage for large chunks of time. Take note of the contest between Nik Lentz and Andre Winner at UFC 118, as Lentz demonstrated a mesmerizing display of “Fitchery” for a solid fifteen minutes. If you prefer to see fighters “Fitched” into oblivion on the ground however, Josh Thomson vs. KJ Noons at the recent “Strikeforce: Tate vs Rousey” event may be your cup of tea.

The largest criticism I and many other fans have with stalling in MMA, is that it simply results in incredibly dull and lacklustre affairs. Not only is it mind numbingly boring to watch, but there is very little technique on display to applaud and approve of. As mentioned earlier, there are various grapplers competing in mixed martial arts that I have an enormous amount of respect for. Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, Shinya Aoki, BJ Penn, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz in their hay days, Mark Coleman, the Diaz brothers….The list goes on. These are all primary examples of fighters who employ their grappling skills in an aggressive manner in an effort to finish the fight and make a real statement.

I’ve lost count of the casual MMA friends I have lost over the years due to “lay and pray” performances plaguing live UFC events. I’m an incredibly passionate MMA fan, but I can’t simply ignore the negative effects stalling inflicts upon the casual fan base. The fact of the matter is, it’s bad for business and with the increasing number fighters all employing similar risk free game plans, I believe a drastic plan of action ought to be enforced in the near future.

The fault isn’t necessarily down to the fighters, but rather, the current judging criteria, overwhelming emphasis on take downs and the rules. Now, I am somewhat of a Pride fan boy, but it’s incredibly difficult to deny the level of excitement generated throughout most of Pride’s history. There was little stalling on display, as fighters were cautioned with yellow cards which resulted in a 10 per cent deduction of their earnings for the night. Knees to the head of grounded opponents and soccer kicks and stomps were also permitted, which ultimately led to more knock outs and finishes. Fights were also not judged per individual round, but rather, victors were decided on their performance throughout the entire fight. It’s also important to note that Pride utilised a traditional ring as opposed to a cage, which greatly reduced the amount of stalling up against the ropes.

I’m not suggesting that the UFC or other American MMA organisations should simply swallow up the Pride rule set and look to incorporate changes immediately, but to really evaluate the contrasting rule set and judging criteria in correlation with the current influx of stalling and “Fitchery” present in MMA.

If changes are not progressively made in the future, then we may all be as good as “Fitched”.

comments

37 Comments to Stop Fitching and Fitchery in MMA Now!

  1. Jay says:

    I think its simple….. If you can’t wrestle in modern MMA then you deserve to be stuck on your back for three rounds or five. Or at least learn to sweep or sub fighters complain about it rather than working more on avoiding it !

    • chris says:

      Doesn’t change the fact that it has the potential to ruin the sport. Wrestling is valuable, but holding a guy down in full guard certainly shouldnt garner as many points as submission attempts (especially ones that truly threaten to end the fight).

      • Mike says:

        I agree, the judging really needs an overhaul. The best example I can give of someone getting screwed because of how judges look at this style would be Martin Kampmann vs Jake Shields. Where Kampmann had numerous submission attempts, and was constantly working to finish the fight, while Shields just got the top position every now and again, and by some miracle(for him) got gifted the decision. The only time I’ve ever felt disgusted by this style.

        • Roscoe10 says:

          I think another good example was guida vs pettis pettis was constantly working for subs whie guida just flipped his hair to appear that he was remaining active.

        • A.James says:

          Yeah. I lost respect for Guida after that.

    • Not You says:

      +1 if you want guys to stand and trade K-1 and boxing is that way. If you want to watch points earned for subs GQ and ADCC are that way. It’s funny how there is so mention of “strike and bike”. That is equally damaging to the sport.

    • T-D says:

      Exactly Jay, thanks for some intellegence for once. Honestly if u want to be a great MMA guy learn to get off your back, and I bet u this lawrence guy praises other fighters who do the same thing ( like GSP, rashad, or brock ect.) If u want to just see ppl get knocked the fuck out all the time go streetfight and save us all the trouble… There’s also a reason they don’t let kneeing a downed opponent or head stomps any more and that’s due to the fact that its a mainstream sport now ( something pride couldn’t achieve ) and head injuries are an insurance risk

      • Joe Blow says:

        Pride wasn’t a mainstream sport? What does this sentence even mean?!

        • legoohasad says:

          +1, Now what PRIDE could achieve is a 100,000+ live attending audience filled with nothing but respect for true warriors who are BOTH their to engage in a fight…. that being said i love the UFC a lot more minus the lay and pray technique but sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad or learn to sweep, sub, or get the F up otherwise im sure their are wrestling seminars every weekend on how to stop the takedown lol just my words of wisdom ^__^

    • ajay says:

      exactly, you never hear wrestlers complaining on how the strikers dont wanna go to the ground. EVOLVE, kos, D. henderson, J hendricks are all pure wrestlers who learn to strike and have become knockout artists. when are they strikers gonna to the same? or are they just gonna get held down the whole fight. believe me when i say i wanna see guyz stand up to, but im on the other side on this one. when i watch a fight and see fitch do his thing i get mad at the guy on the bottom. wtf ……he knew what was comming and still cant stop it. cmon guyz. its a two way street.

      • Xaninho says:

        Fitch is also a massive weight cutter, he’s huge compared to his opponents.

        And it’s a two way street if the wrestler tries to follow up on the take down with some techniques. If he’s simply not fighting the ref needs to stand them up. Inactivity should be penalized.

    • GET RID OF FITCH (forever) says:

      Jon “Lay N Pray” Fitch is the scurge of MMA plain and simple. Yes having a 25 pound weight advantage on most of your opponents and being the best weigt cutter in MMA helps him lay on people and eeek out borinbg ass decisions but it is doing more damage to the sport than most people realize. Noone wants to watch lay n pray

  2. Frank.E says:

    I agree almost 100% the fitching/stalling has got to be controlled I think the responsibility should be givin to the reff like in the Pride days, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring back the kick/knee head strikes to a grounded fighter, especially the soccer kicks to the head, it’s to dangerous to the fighter and new fans, casual fans, and the ones trying to hold MMA back will be screaming that it’s to brutal especially to be aired on network tv.

  3. Thom says:

    to me its a 2 way street.. not going for the finish and just waiting for rounds to end is not a way of fighting i like, but then again, if the other fighter can’t do anything about it then he is as much to blame.. I don’t like GSP but look what he did to Fitch, or Hendricks.. Besides, it’s good to have a couple of boring fighters to hate on. Also, i wouldn’t call this news.

  4. Xaninho says:

    The refs should stand the fighters up earlier. Fitching is nothing more than a display of inactivity. The refs just need to stand them up when they should.

    I have nothing against grappling, as long as the grappling is a part of a fighting style, not just a way to avoid the fight and wait for the bell. Point deduction for inactivity is what such fighter deserves, but since the judges get hard-ons from pointless takedowns it’s the fitcher who gets the reward and the win.

  5. jbeamazing says:

    wrestling is mma but point fighters like this lame give wrestling a bad name Frankie wrestles and its not hard to watch but when Fitch does it I’d rather watch fat Albert take a shit

  6. Mike McMack says:

    If fighters are fighting to win then we as fans can expect a good effort but when fighters fight to “not lose” like Fitch does every time then it makes for boring fights. I hate the “lay and pray” as much as anyone but it all comes down to the philosophy each fighter has going into the cage.

    Unfortunately MMA has guys like Greg Jackson who teach their fighters to fight safe, look at what he did to Condit in his fight with Diaz. I can’t really say I blame fighters for wanting to fight safe for their own long term health but when it all comes down to it MMA like any other sport is broadcast for entertainment purposes. The safe fight philosophy isn’t entertaining and if MMA keeps going in that direction we’re not going to see it grow the way it should.

  7. pdub says:

    if you can’t wrestle, don’t do mma.

  8. Train the trainer says:

    Fitch fights to win because saying he fights not to lose really is the same thing. His style sucks from an entertainment stand point but again I go back to people looking at the other guy who cant stop Fitch and his lay and prey game plan.

    • Xaninho says:

      It shouldn’t even be an issue for a fighter to stop that non-fighting crap. Refs need to stand the inactive LnP pussies up sooner. Problem solved!

      • ajay says:

        i never heard a ground guy after getting knocked out say ” oh he didnt want to go to the ground” seems to me the stand up guys are doing all the complaining.

        • Xaninho says:

          No the fans who like to see a mixed martial arts fight instead of one guy humping the other for 3 or 5 rounds.

        • KIDD433 says:

          ur wrong there AJAY.people PAYING to see the fights are doing the complaining

  9. Dick Diaz says:

    your first paragraph contradicts itself…. you are a fucking dumbass.

  10. James says:

    Fitching sounds like the name for some kind of horrific gay sex act.

  11. ajay says:

    if somebody can hold you down for 15-25 minutes, tough crap, go work on your wrestling, or join k-1.

    • Xaninho says:

      If the one on top can’t finish the fight or at least score some real points instead of the pitter patter crap he should lose. Being on top is not winning a fight. Being on top and trying submissions or substantial ground n pound is.

      There’s nothing against a good ground game. But Fitching isn’t a game cause there is no winner at the end. No matter how many bullshit wrestling minded judges decisions are given to the L n P guy.

  12. zach says:

    I can respect that the person “fitching” is obviously skilled, still though it is boring but if thats the only way i could win a fight I’d do it too.

  13. Fcuk fitch says:

    Hopefully the refs wise up and stand em up. Lay and pray fighters always say I’m looking to lay down some viscous ground and pound (fitchery). GET THE FITCHERS OUTTA HERE.

  14. dude, seriously. says:

    Lewis, your articles are fucking boring dude. If you don’t like elite wrestlers, go watch boxing or street fighting. Dickhead.

  15. Mxkxknsksnsij says:

    Okay, I am a grappler…that being said, I CANNOT STAND the ‘Fitching’ style. I have a Jiu-Jitsu base, if I train for a fight for months, and I go out and ‘Fitch’ because that’s the easiest way to win, then I need to rethink my training. If I train for months and I can’t go out there and be a MIXED martial artist, then I shouldn’t be out there…

  16. KIDD433 says:

    Faster stand ups from refs would fix this problem.it would force some of these wrestlers to actually learn how to fight. After all its Ultimate FIGHTING Championship! NOT Ultimate GRAPPLING Championship!

  17. KIDD433 says:

    does anyone out there think these fights were entertaining?
    RASHAD EVANS VS THIAGO SILVA
    JON FITCH VS THIAGO ALVES
    CHRIS WEIDMAN VS ALESSIO SAKARA
    JOSH KOSCHECK VS PAUL DALEY
    GSP VS DAN HARDY
    i sure as fuck didnt.and i paid for everyone of these fights!

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