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Thread: Knowing when to walk away remains a fighter's greatest challenge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Calgary, Alberta

    Default Knowing when to walk away remains a fighter's greatest challenge

    There will be many who will beg Pat Barry to retire as an active fighter. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, too.

    Both men were among the most popular mixed martial arts fighters of the last 15 years. They engaged fans with their power and their skill and their love of the sport.

    They are great athletes and terrific ambassadors, men who embody everything it means to be a professional.

    Fighting, though, is a profession with no forgiveness. When a pitcher can no longer sneak the fastball past hitters on the inside part of the plate, he can use guile to get by. And he faces no serious, long-term medical issues in doing so.

    A professional golfer who gets the yips on the putting green faces nothing other than potential embarrassment.
    Fighters who no longer have it, however, are an altogether different story. Their lives, literally at risk every time they step into a ring or a cage, are even more in jeopardy.

    Much is still to be learned about injuries to the brain, but one thing that has been established beyond a doubt is that a person with a history of concussions is more susceptible to them.

    Barry, the charismatic and frequently hilarious former UFC star, was knocked out Saturday in a Glory kickboxing event. It was the third consecutive knockout loss for Barry, following two defeats by TKO in the UFC.

    Barry left the UFC because he was a kickboxer and tired of trying to learn wrestling and grappling and those things that make one a successful MMA fighter.

    Barry was knocked out in three of his last four MMA fights and now in a kickboxing event. He's so fearless and aggressive and eager to please – to score a devastating KO himself – that he leaves himself vulnerable and regularly has been knocked silly.

    This isn't good for his long-term health, clearly. No fighting sport is "safe," and there is considerable risk involved. But part of the appeal of the sport, both for the spectators and, in a lot of cases, the competitors, is seeing them deal with that risk.

    It's why people watch others walk a tight rope with no safety net below, or why decades ago Evel Knievel became a cult figure in the U.S. by trying all sorts of risky ventures.

    A grappling match is far safer for those involved than a slugfest that ends with a violent knockout, but the public doesn't care for them nearly as much and often boos loudly when a fight hits the ground. That's frequently true even when the ground battle is captivating.

    A fighter like Barry is beloved because of his willingness to take and deliver concussive blows, consequences be damned, for the sake of entertainment. The fact that he's a clever, witty guy who doesn't take himself too seriously simply increases his appeal.

    Many of his fans will chastise anyone who urges him to retire, who dares to tell him that he's had enough.

    The same is true for fans of Nogueira, who was knocked out last month in Abu Dhabi by Roy Nelson and now has been viciously knocked out three times in his last eight bouts.

    No one can tell someone else to retire. But there is a check and balance in team sports that fails to exist in fighting. Football players who can't produce any longer are put on waivers and left to look for work. For a while, there's often someone willing to give a second, third and even fourth chance, but at the end of the day, performance forces the athlete to make career decisions.

    There's always some promoter somewhere, though, who will give a fighter another bout.

    The final act of so many fighters is not good. Superstar boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. was ducking a question on Saturday when he discussed fighter safety, but the point he made was valid and cannot be ignored.
    "The thing is this: I have a life after boxing," Mayweather said Saturday after his win over Marcos Maidana in response to a query by Yahoo Sports. "He has a life after boxing. This is already a brutal sport. Of course we're here to please the fans, but what about our health when boxing is over?

    "Half of the boxers who are in the fight game now can't articulate well. So do we care about the fighters' health? You're always asking the questions, 'Why did this guy die? Why is he in the hospital? Why did he lose all his money?' "

    The risks of fighting are great, even under the best of circumstances. But when fighters are aging and beginning to repeatedly get knocked out, the risk increases exponentially: The more knockouts, the more serious the risk in the next outing.

    Retirement or so-called farewell fights should also be outlawed, because if a fighter isn't fit to compete, then it makes no sense to go out and get kicked and punched in the head again in order to say goodbye.

    Many fight on because they have no other source of income and have no idea what else to do with their lives. Fighting is all they know.

    Neither Barry nor Nogueira will be forced to retire, no matter how much some may urge them.

    They'll have to decide that for themselves.

    Hopefully, they have the ability to assess their situations in a clear-headed, responsible manner.

    If they don't have that ability, it's already way too late.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Love to watch MMA, but they should walk away before ever stepping in the cage or ring, why risk brain damage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    The Desert.


    I didn't see the weigh-ins but that looked like the smallest I've ever seen Pat Barry. Does anyone know if he's making an attempt to LHW because I think he'd do good there. And have a less likely chance of getting KTFO.
    Favorite Fighter: JIM MILLER.
    Scariest Dude on the Planet: TYRONE SPONG.
    Other Favorites: Anderson Silva, Gegard Mousasi, Joe Lauzon, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Paul Daley, Ross Pearson, Donald Cerrone, Renan Barao, Glover Texiera, & Alistair Overeem.

    "He doesn't write his own material. Some homo in Queens living in his mother's basement in his underwear is writing Chael's material for him." - DON FRYE.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by VimyRidge View Post
    Love to watch MMA, but they should walk away before ever stepping in the cage or ring, why risk brain damage.
    Well Rich Franklin said on the Bill O'reily show that yes there is a risk of brain damage but there are very many professions in which health is put at risk everyday.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    South of the border...


    We've seen cases where the fighter's team, who is apparently looking after their well being, instead of throwing the towel, they push their guy out...
    So, who is really looking after the fighter's well being?
    The promoter is making money off their blood, so are the trainers and managers... and for some that is the sole income for their family.
    And the cold truth, is that for us fans they are nothing more than entertainers who we simply substitute with younger guys once they are done...
    Ultimately, as adults... the fighters consent to getting their brain turned into mush.

  6. #6


    Is Pat Barry really considered one of the most popular of the last 15 years?

  7. #7


    I know Barry got a lot of popularity when he put that fan in his place that was saying the fighters were pussies. Probably gained some fans when he did the "plank" after ko'ing that one fella (I didn't care for that personally though). Then of course he is a striker who is always looking for the kill so yeah he probably is one of the more popular fighters of the last 15 years.
    Legalize MMA in New York

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Inside Your Mind


    After watching Diego mumble his completely incoherent slur of a post-fight interview at 166 I couldn't help but wonder where guys like him and Wandy are going to be in 20 years. I'm guessing things will be a lot different after a few guys go the Chris Benoit route.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    In Holly Holm's Bed Room.


    here the issue's I have.

    1. anyone in the HW division can knock anyone out on any giving night. in Berry case he was winning most of the fights he lost then got choked out or KO'd. I wish pat would try LHW

    2. I worry more about guys like Diego that take a ton of damage and don't get KO'd and have several wars under their belt.
    I will be willing to bet a quick Flash KO is a lot safer for your long term health than a War. we a fighter takes a lot of hard shots for 3 or 5 rounds.

    1st Degree Black Belt American Kickboxing
    Belt: 2010 W.K.K.O U.S. Tournament Runner Up 132lbs.
    Silver Medal: 2011 W.K.A North American Tournament Runner Up 141lbs

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