Does Fighting for Entertainment in MMA Ruin Careers?

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIFebruary 10, 2012

picture courtesy of
picture courtesy of

Successful strategy and entertaining fights are rarely heard in the same sentence when it comes to MMA. There may be exciting finishes, and there may even be some wars every once in a while.

At the top level, however, most fighters aren't that undisciplined. Some choose to let themselves get a little unruly with their techniques.

Leonard Garcia, Chan Sung Jung and even Chris Leben are all examples of fighters who have abandoned strategy at times just to have "fun" in a fight.

While a lot of fans get behind these fighters and enjoy their style of combat, it is a dangerous way of looking at things.

Fans like both winners and exciting fighters, but when it comes down to it, fighters like Jon Fitch who are called boring can be employed longer and make more money than guys like Garcia.

While these fighters make great short money winning fight of the night, it doesn't help their careers. Their win-loss record piles up, which gets them stuck on undercards or lower main cards and their pay scale doesn't increase as much except for bonuses.

That isn't their biggest danger, though. While fighting in an exciting manner can shorten their UFC career, plenty of fighters never make it to the top league so that logic doesn't apply.

The biggest danger for fighters who use a lack of technique is that they are shortchanging themselves from the defense needed to protect their minds and bodies from the abuse that their opponents can dish out.

Part of what fans see as a "fun" fight is where both men trade blows, which usually means that both men walk away heavily damaged.


On a very rare basis, an exciting bout will consist of high-level striking and grappling with neither man being seriously hurt, but most times it ends up like Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick, with one or both of the competitors facing serious injury.

The body breaks down after injuries, but also from the stress from fights as well. Injuries happen in training camp and in everyday life and make people slower and weaker. That effect is multiplied in a fight.

Those fighters who throw caution to the wind are willing to limit their defense and their overall health because it is entertaining to the crowd.

In a sport like MMA that does matter, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of the sport. Fans want entertainment, but there is no pension in fighting. The longer fighters decide to fight in an exciting manner, the faster their career deteriorates.

It is their choice if they want to do that, but one day they will have to wake up and realize that their best days are behind them.

And the longer those fighters decide to scrap, the sooner that day will come.


Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report.  He also hosts a blog that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.