Things Fans Should Know
Things fans should know.
In the realm of casual fandom of mixed martial arts there are many misconceptions. Hardcore fans hear them at parties, local restaurants and bars, and even in the comfort of their own homes. BJPenn.com takes a look at some of these misconceptions in the hopes of bringing them to light.
The heavyweight division is called the heavyweight division for a reason. It’s filled with big guys with bad intentions. If you have ever trained with someone in the UFC from this division, and I have with several, then you know how hard they hit. At any given moment a heavyweight can finish a fight with a crushing body blow or well placed strike to the head. They carry lots of weight, and if that weight is behind a punch or kick- it is lights out. To say someone in the heavyweight division has a glass chin is pretty much ludicrous. There are the usual suspects in these conversations like Andrei Arlovski, Brendan Schaub, and many more. A good example where this is not the case is Bellator heavyweight standout Ron Sparks. Ron hits harder than just about anyone I know. His destruction of Mark Holata at Bellator 52 showed his power, and his loss to Eric Prindle at Bellator 56 showed he was human. Prindle is a monster sized heavyweight and caught Sparks sending him to the canvas.
Sparks told me something that has stuck with me when I asked him how hard Prindle hit. He said. “Sean, at this weight class everyone hits hard. You just have to take it and keep coming. These are big guys with heavy hands and you go in to the fight knowing you could get caught”. I tend to listen to the guy in there putting it on the line rather than the guy screaming “Choke him out” and chanting “Knee” at live events. At one event I actually heard someone scream, “Tater that head”.
Have you ever heard someone say a fighter is protected or over-rated. A lot of times this happens after an upset loss or a loss to a rising star. Randy Couture is a great example. After dropping down to light heavyweight Randy beat the top three guys in the UFC in Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz, and Chuck Liddell. Randy then went on to lose to a red hot Liddell twice. Despite being written off as too old by some fans Randy won the Heavyweight Championship a short time later. Couture’s career was filled with significant wins and losses to top level fighters. Despite all of his accomplishments Randy is still not given the respect he deserves.
Couture is the furthest thing from overrated. Seriously, before Rich Franklin fought Anderson Silva for the first time he fought the best in the UFC’s middleweight division at that time. After his loss to the newly signed Silva the forums lit up with talk that he was protected by Dana White. No fighter is protected in the UFC and if a fan says that you can officially tune them out. Reading this article gives you permission to do that.
One last thing that deserves mention is how a fighter cannot finish fights. Take a look at the level of talent in the UFC and the differing styles of each fighter. Vinny Magalhaes is one of the slickest jiu jitsu practitioners around just Youtube search him if you don’t believe me. If a grappler does not finish a fight in the first round the chances of finishing a fight with a submission decreases. Sweat, blood, and fatigue set in and if your opponent has better cardio, you might be in trouble if you are hoping to end the fight via arm bar. Vinny fought Phil Davis and despite his superior ground game decided to stand and trade for most of the fight. When he truly decided to go for the takedown it was obvious that Phil, a veteran wrestler, was too sweaty and fresh to succeed. Not to mention he was prepared for Vinny. Maybe this should go in the overrated misnomer piece of this article?
The bottom line is that submissions coming late in the fight are much more difficult to lock in, and grapplers tend to get a bad rap about their inability to finish a fight. There are a few exceptions….Despite being good fighters Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, Jon Fitch, and a few others are not known to be finishers, but have a few wins by TKO or submission. Not being able to finish fights at an elite level is not an issue -winning is.
What are some things you wished casual fans understood?