UFC Elbows on the Ground: If It Ain't Broken, Don't Try to Fix It
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva’s manager, Alex Davis, jumped into the debate over whether elbows on the ground should be banned in MMA.
Davis is referring of course to Bigfoot’s UFC 146 loss to Cain Velasquez, which quickly turned into a bloodbath after Velasquez opened up a cut on his nose early in the first round.
Davis took to The Underground forums to present his case:
“I have seen way worse cuts then [sic] the one Cain inflicted on Bigfoot. The problem with this particular cut was not the size or anything, but the profuse bleeding into Bigfoot's eyes. This is not an excuse, it is a fact. I am not here saying that wasn't for the cut , Bigfoot would have won, nor I am making an excuse. What I am saying, again, is a fact. Had not been the cut, the fight most probably would have gone on, who knows what the outcome might have been, maybe Cain would have won anyways, maybe not. I didnt mean in no way to diminish Cains victory, or make an excuse for Bigfoot's defeat, but simply state a fact that myself, and any one else who watched the fight, witnessed.”
This issue is usually dormant—although always lurking right beneath the surface—until something happens that turns the Octagon into a horror flick, then it’s thrust into the spotlight again.
This is one of those times.
There’s no reason to ban elbows on the ground. Scenes like the one we witnessed at UFC 146 are rare. The UFC is putting on about 28 events this year. Say each event has 11 or 12 fights. That’s over 300 fights a year, not even counting all the fights on TUF. If one or two become bloody messes, is that really worth changing the rules over?
Should elbows be banned on the ground?
The argument that blood turns some people off is valid, but those are people who probably never would have warmed up to the sport anyway? Think about it—is someone who’s squeamish over the sight of blood ever going to accept a knee to the face? Or a headkick knockout? Or a dislocated joint? Probably not.
MMA is the sport of fighting, not thumb wrestling, and sometimes that can result in some blood. Members of the MMA community becoming apologists for our sport just to draw in more fans serves no end but to damage the sport, and to validate the critics.
The sport is toeing a fine line. On the one hand we crave mainstream acceptance. On the other, we shouldn’t we willing to sacrifice a staple weapon of MMA fighters since the beginning (at least in America) to appease potential fans.
Last year, Junior Dos Santos turned Shane Carwin’s face into chopped meat with standing strikes. Should we ban those too?
Bigfoot clearly couldn’t see well enough to intelligently defend himself. That fight probably should have been stopped well before the referee declared a TKO.
But that’s a whole other issue.
Let’s not go changing the rules of a sport that still has an excellent safety record and is growing.
It ain't broken. No need to fix it.
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