| || |
02-24-2013, 09:24 PM
Status: Leben 'em dead and maimed
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: BC, Canada
| | Avoiding the UFC ax, by any means necessary
Avoiding the UFC ax, by any means necessary | News
Very little of what UFC President Dana White says on the topic of hirings and firings goes unnoticed by his fighters, particularly those further down on the fight cards. |
If the boss says he plans to cut 100 fighters in the coming weeks and months, and if he's using the next few events to figure out who stays and who goes, you can bet his employees will be fighting like their jobs depend on it. The question is, what does that mean, exactly? The answer may not be as simple as White makes it out to be, and a lot may depend on the fighter and the situation.
For instance, take Nah-Shon Burrell, the Strikeforce import who opened the show at Saturday's UFC 157 event in a welterweight bout against Yuri Villefort. Burrell came in with one strike against him, having missed weight by nearly five pounds on Friday afternoon. Knowing how the UFC tends to frown on overweight fighters – especially when they're newcomers on the prelims – Burrell knew he had to do something to get himself back in his employer's good graces.
"That was a given," Burrell told MMAjunkie.com (wwww.mmajunkie.com) following his decision victory. "After missing weight like that, you've got to come in and perform. ... My thing was, go in there and do my job like I know I can, and I'll stick around."
Fortunately for Burrell, he did. His back-and-forth battle with Villefort got the crowd's attention early and held it throughout all three rounds, with Burrell eventually getting the nod from the judges over the bloody and battered Brazilian. The performance probably saved Burrell's job, but it wasn't without risk. There were times in the fight in which he seemed so busy trying to make something interesting happen that he gave up easy takedowns he might otherwise have been able to stop. Had Villefort been of a mind to hold him there rather than working for one submission attempt after another, the outcome might have been very different.
That strategy usually isn't popular with the fans or the UFC brass, but it is dependable. At times, maybe it's even necessary. Just take a look at Brendan Schaub. He came into his fight with Lavar Johnson riding a two-fight losing streak. If he didn't consider himself one loss from the unemployment line, he probably should have. So is it any wonder that the increasingly knockout-prone Schaub approached his fight with the hard-hitting Johnson like it was a potential disaster to be survived? After three rounds of takedowns and cautious top control, he got his hand raised to a chorus of boos, but at least he stopped the losing skid. He might not have won many fans, but at least he still has a job.
This is the double-edged sword of the pressure to perform in the UFC. Exciting fights keep you employed, but if you're too eager to put on a show, you risk making yourself easy prey for an opponent who's willing to win at any costs. You could see it in Johnson, who ended up flinging leather at Schaub with increasing desperation, and in the process only making it easier for Schaub to plant him on his back and smother him in sweat. If your opponent is more willing than you are to bring on the boos in exchange for a safe victory, it puts him at a certain advantage.
It's hard to have an exciting fight all by yourself. Dennis Bermudez and Matt Grice earned "Fight of the Night" honors on the prelims, but they did it as a joint effort. That's the kind of back-and-forth brawl in which, according to the UFC president, "there's no loser." Grice dropped Bermudez. Bermudez pummeled Grice. Both seemed about as concerned with safety as they were with keeping the blood on the inside of their bodies, which is to say not at all.
"When you turn on your TV set or you put down your money and you buy a ticket, that's what you expect to show up and see," White said at the post-fight press conference. "As a fight fan, those are the kind of fights you want to watch. And those are the kind of fights, guys won't get cut. It's pretty easy, pretty simple."
Maybe it seems that way from the outside. But for fighters trying to balance the need to win with the mandate to entertain, there's a more complex calculus at work. Some fighters are desperate for an exciting fight that will put some bonus money in their pockets. Others just want to remain conscious and not lose. Sometimes you can't afford to go out and get in a brawl. Other times you can't afford not to. You have to know not only where you are, but also what the man across from you is thinking.
Just go out and put on an exciting fight, people say. As if it's that easy. As if that's not what everyone would like to do. The trouble is, no one wants to lose. Not if it means taking home half as much money and adding another L to the ledger.
As Grice put it after Bermudez took the decision in their bonus-worthy fight, "I'm stoked to get the 'Fight of the Night,' but I'd give it back for the [win] any day."
White: Fight like Grice, you won't get cut http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/news...-wont-get-cut/
"When these guys came (backstage) after their fight, obviously [Grice] was really upset," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I said, 'That's one of those fights where there's no loser. There is no loser in that fight.'
"When you turn on your TV set and you put down your money or you buy a ticket, that's what you expect to show up and see. As a fight fan, those are the kind of fights you want to watch. And those are the kind of fights where guys won't get cut. It's pretty easy – pretty simple."
Bermudez and Grice's back-and-forth, bloody and brutal affair provided thrilling entertainment on the FX-televised portion of the preliminary card. And that's precisely why fighters such as Grice won't lose roster spots, and that's why every event won't necessarily see a round of contract terminations, White said.
"Listen, the cut thing, when I told you guys we were over 100, that's an absolute fact," he said. "Me and (matchmaker) Joe Silva were talking about this tonight. There's going to be a night where we put on a card where there's going to be 15 guys we cut. And then there's going to be a night where we put on a card where we don't cut any of the losers."
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Last edited by Cat--Smasher; 02-24-2013 at 09:31 PM.
02-25-2013, 06:59 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Agree with what most is being said here. If people are actually worried that one loss could get you cut, you are going to see a lot of elusive style fights and lay n pray types as well. THis doesn't send a good message to the fighters.
Favorite Fights: Jonny Bones Jones, Wandy, Hendo, Cain, Matt Hughes, Melvin.
Most disliked fighters: Michael Bisping, Spankie Edgar, Alistair Overeem, Anderson Silva, Tim Sylvia, Chuck Liddell
Last edited by FedortheCan; 02-25-2013 at 07:17 AM.
| || |
Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests) |
All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:17 PM.
Quick Member Login
Top 5 Latest Threads
Latest MMA News