I have been watching as UFC 203 arrives. And I am sad.
I normally would be keen on any upcoming UFC event. I’d be anticipating.
But not any more. I fear the death of a great sport is imminent. Or perhaps it has passed and I am trying to hang on?
When I first started following the MMA scene I saw something way cool and kinda special. The early MMA scene was not modernised enough to do more than crown a single winner of a tournament. modern weight classes didn’t make sense then. It was art from and technique that mattered. Not size.
And there were so many art forms and techniques.
The BJJ I saw practiced by the Gracie Clan in the 90s rocked me. My younger brother was then training with in the Gracie Gym in NYC and he tried to explain to me what was what. But I struggled. My background is mainly wrestling with Tae Kwon Do. To consider that you lie on your back and wrestle from your back was not something I could grasp. Tae Kwon Do taught some chokes so I got that, but the back-fighting i struggled with.
Of course the very first UFC events were rather Medieval. But a dude weighing less than 200lbs/ 90kgs starting beating everyone. He’d often take a couple of hours but once he grabbed an opponant he’d hangon like a snake and eventually wear them down and choke them out.
Royce Gracie pretty much put the world of MMA and the commercial UFC on the map. http://roycegracie.com/
UFC #1 was held in 1993. It was a one day, tournament. WInner of the day took home fifty grand.
As I look at the card, now knowing who was who, it was a pretty decent card…Gracie had three matches that day. Art Jimmerson was a boxer. It took 2 minutes for Gracie to submit him. Ken Shamrock, of course, is a natural badass but this match started the famous Gracie Shamrock feud. Gracie got hold of and choked Shamrock out in less than a second. Shamrock never forgave him. The final saw Gordeau, a Savat/ kick boxer, submit in under 2 minutes. And the world was rocked by BJJ.
UFC 2 gives us an interesting picture of how fast people learn… Gracie had a harder time this round…
With twice as many entrants Gracie had 4 bouts for about 9 minutes total. His first bout lasted 5 minutes. Why? because Ichihara knew Ju Jitsu.
Eventually the UFC concept became the modern system of organised weight classes. everyone now adays trains, at least a bit, in Ju Jitsu. The modern MMA skill set hold no new secrets. No one is coming out and doing things “differently”.
I see it kinda like the pro boxing scene… Everyone knows the same moves and grooves. Its how good your technique and cardio is that decides the finish.
BJ Penn was a great all round MMA competitor. He was one of the last that was into the skill vs skill, not weight class. And his foundation was BJJ. Machita, GSP, Matt Huges, Cotoure, Andreson Silva… and many other, came into the sport with a skill… either wrestling, or karate, or mui tai… and learned the other skills required to compete.
And the Events Were Fantastic. Eventually… there was a time there that UFC got lost, got confused and there were too many promotions to watch. But then, The Modern UFC was conceived. The Ultimate Fighter TV show made it very real…
Remember Griffith v Bonner in the first UFC Championship? What a fight.
That was a decade ago. And, for over 10 years, I have looked forward to each successive event.
Not any more.
I am still pissed off by UFC 200. Its the last UFC I shall ever pay for. We watched it on the big screen on the Sports Bar. My first grip is that Jones got bounced for being juiced. The super-jiuced-Leznar v Hunt match was a sad joke. It was a side show. I should have then realised the sport was dead.
But I tried to watch 201 and 202. But couldnotstandit!!!
Too much of a mix of BS pro boxing hype and money with pro wrestling match rigging and story line selling.
And I Cannot take IT anyMore!!!!
SO I mourn the death of a great sport.