Fans of all sports like to voice their opinion, whether it is the ownership of their chosen team, the performances given by certain players, their love and adulation for certain fighters, and sometimes their complete dislike for certain personalities in their chosen sport.
But one thing for certain, is fans will always tell you what they are thinking, and sometimes it can be a good thing, other times not so bad, and I’m going to be honest now, I have been guilty of some of this in the past, but I don’t want to seem I’m getting on my high horse here, but the thing that has annoyed me most lately, I have never been guilty off.
If you are reading this, then like me you are a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, whether it be from UFC 1, or you are a new fan, and the hype around people like Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, or even Michael Bisping got you into this glorious sport we all love.
There seems to be this trend at the minute, and if I’m honest I have noticed it mainly at UFC events, but there is a chance it could happen at other shows as well, but not that I have noticed. There seems to be a small minority of people who at MMA events, take it upon themselves to BOO whenever a fight goes to ground.
Now I’m not saying people can’t voice their opinions, and there have been instances where you just want the ref to stand the fight back up, Cormier vs Silva at UFC 200 comes to mind, but there are times when a fighter could be looking for a decent position from which to finish the fight, and all you can hear is a chorus of boo’s coming from those in attendance, and this happens for whatever reason.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that UFC 211 is this weekend, and possibly has the best card for a long time, definitely the best card of the year, and on that card, you have one of the best ground specialist fighting, in the form of Demian Maia. Maia steps back into the octagon against Jorge Masvidal, and you can guarantee that Maia will look to take the fight to the ground, as that is where he is most comfortable, and where he excels, but does that mean there will be a small contingent of the crowd in Dallas will boo as soon as this happens, let’s hope not.
From a personal standpoint, I feel whenever this happens, it is completely disrespectful to the fighters, that are putting their lives, and their careers on the line every time they step into that cage. For me there should be an appreciation for all aspects of the sport, after all it is called MIXED Martial arts.
I am not writing this to say that fans that boo are wrong, I’m just saying that sometimes it isn’t called for, yes the standup game can be exciting, just watch any Anderson Silva fight, or Lyoto Machida, and I will agree whole heartedly that that aspect of the sport can be thrilling, but also look at when the Gracie’s first made it into the UFC in the early days, bringing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the forefront, and proving by beating bigger guys that the ground game can be superior, or even watch GSP vs BJ Penn 2, that was a masterclass of the ground game by Rush, even causing Penns’ corner to throw in the towel because Pierre’s ground game was by far superior.
I even managed to speak to a few people within the sport regarding this.
Firstly I had the privilege to speak to former Victory Fighting Championship Welterweight Champion, Kassius ‘Killer Kayne’ Holdorf, by asking his take on this new trend.
“I don’t really play into the crowd much, but I think they want action, and if its on the ground they want action there as well. And if you get stuck on the bottom you have to work to get up, MMA is crazy and very hard to have a style that is unlike others, I feel there should be a stalling call for MMA.”
I also had the chance to speak to Frank Barca, who is a Black Belt in BJJ, and runs the 10th Planet gym out of Melbourne, Australia.
“Regarding the booing in the crowd, obviously it’s a couple of things. Number 1, obviously people might be a striking fan, so when the fight hits the ground, there’s booing, they want the fight to be standing, like real men want to fight, according to them.
The second reason, they might be wrestling fans, where they want to see the guy box, kick, box, take them down and get back up again, they want to see the fight on the feet. They like the excitement of the takedown, but once it hits the ground the boo’s come. So the lack of education, obviously either they are fans of striking, or fans of wrestling or like striking and wrestling and are not big fans of the ground game, because they plain and simply don’t get it, they don’t understand.
So instead of looking at it like a science and a strategy, they are like, ‘look at these two homo’s, lying all over each other, get up, let him up, fight like a real man.’ So basically just being uneducated or just being fans of the other two disciplines of MMA.”
Both make valid points, and I do believe that Frank has hit the nail on the head, is it a lack of education, and fans just need to be educated to all aspects of MMA, or it could simply be that they are not fans of the ground game at all, but on the other side, you don’t get fans of the ground game booing whenever a fight is standing.
Next time hopefully we will look at UFC 211, and whether any instances happen, and get the words of more people involved in this sport we love.