MMA

Want Bob Sapp to Stop Fighting? Stop Watching Him

LONDON - FEBRUARY 10: Robert Malcolm Sapp also known as Bob The Beast Sapp eyes off a potential challenger during the Cage Rage Championship 20 Born to fight event at Wembley Arena on February 10, 2007 in London, England. Cage Fighting also known as MMA, Mixed Martial Arts is a mixed fighting style combat sport with a steadily growing international fan base. MMA is an evolving combat sport where competitors combine different disciplines that include jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and others to their strategic and tactical advantage in a competetive arena.  (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2012

Bob “The Beast” Sapp was one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts worldwide a decade ago. Now he is going through the motions to collect paychecks. Since 2011 Sapp has entered a MMA ring or cage seven times and has two more bouts lined up for June. Sapp has been defeated in all seven fights—all in the first round.

Fans have grown tired of the questionable performances and have taken to the Internet to voice their displeasure with Sapp. Fans want Sapp to hang it up, but they keep watching.

If fans truly want Sapp to go away, then the solution is simple: Stop watching his fights.

Regardless of one's reason for watching, it still adds to the viewer total and shows promoters that there is value in bringing in Sapp to fight. It does not matter to them why fans tune in, but only that they do so their brand can be seen.

And as for Sapp, as long as promoters are willing to pay him to show up, why would he not accept? It is easy money for “The Beast." It is hypocritical for fans to blame Sapp when they are the ones tuning in to watch his fights. Those fans are the reason he still has a job, proving that he still can draw.

A poorly recorded version of his latest fight, a 12-second defeat to Soa Palelei, has gathered more than 200,000 hits.

That only highlights why promoters continue to bring in Sapp.

For new or fledgling promotions, the rewards far outweighs the risk to bring in Sapp. They receive hits for their show and the media reports on the known outcome because fans still engage those articles. Through the eyes of a promoter, it is an easy choice to make.

Fans need to stop passing the buck to Sapp and the promoters and accept blame themselves. The fans who seek out his fights and their coverage facilitate the shameful performances he has put on for the fans. What makes it worse is that Sapp was never a great, well-rounded fighter who put on exciting fights for the fans.

The notion of fixed fights or a fighter showing up merely to collect a paycheck is nothing new in combat sports. The difference is that most drift into the abyss as fans stop caring. That eventually leads to their forced retirement as promoters no longer pay the premium they want to fight.

The bottom line is if fans want Sapp to retire, or for promoters to stop bringing him in, then they need to stop watching his fights. Stop giving promoters justification for their actions. Stop giving Sapp a bargaining chip. Let his value decrease and watch him fade out of the sport entirely. Once it is no longer financially worth it for Sapp, he will return to his other business ventures and exit the sport. That is the only way to remove Sapp from MMA.

There is plenty of blame to go around. It is time the fans own up to their share.

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