2.28.2008

Anticipation

Most people who know me in real life know that I'm a pretty big fan of MMA (mixed martial arts) and the UFC (that's Ultimate Fighting Championship) in particular. I used to enjoy boxing years ago but it always struck me as a half-sport and, in light of my MMA knowledge, its actually more like a third or quarter sport in the overall category of pugilistics.

Why?

Because boxers stand in front of each and throw punches. There are no kicks, there are no elbows, there are no takedowns, there are no grapples, there are no submissions and there are no muay thai clinches.

I heard some idiot on the radio the other day saying that any MMA fighter who stepped into a boxing ring would get pwned by a decent boxer. Which is utter and complete bullshit. I'm not saying all MMA fighters could stand in with a boxer but I am saying that many MMA fighters could have easily become top-ranked boxers. The same does not hold true for many boxers. If a boxer steps into the octagon against a decent MMA (i.e. fighting MMA style) fighter, he will get his ass handed to him nearly everytime.

MMA stands for mixed martial arts. That means more than one discipline is required to compete. Most fighters train in at least three areas, striking, grappling and submissions. And to be a top fighter they need to be excellent in at least one of those disciplines and usually two.

What's all this leading up to? UFC 82 on Saturday Night. The main bout of the evening is a monster, Anderson "Spider" Silva against Dan "Hollywood" Henderson to unify the UFC and PRIDE light heavyweight titles. Silva has buzz-sawed through any and all competitors put before him including an astonishing total ass-kicking of then-champ Rich "Ace" Franklin. Silva is tall and lean but very, very strong and has incredible precision with his strikes and clinches where his knees are incredibly dangerous. Henderson is a PRIDE champ who held both the Light Heavy and Heavyweight belts simultaneously. He's tough as nails, a superb Olympic wrestler who can also stand and bang with almost anyone. He's also never been knocked out in a fight.

It should be a war and I'm looking forward to watching it. The other fights on the card are also pretty good too. Especially Herring vs. Kongo, Sakara vs. Leben and, most especially, Fitch vs Wilson.

I hope the UFC can get their ducks in a row because there's been an awful lot of pissed off fighters in their corral who gripe about being underpaid and under-respected by Dana White (the UFC's president and chief promoter) and the brothers (whose name is escaping me at the moment). The news about the signing of Bud Light as a major sponsor for the next three years is a very good sign though and I hope the additional money trickles down to the fighters.

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