Fans of MMA have become increasing irrational.
Maybe it is the heat-of-the-moment reactions. I do not know. What I do know is that there are four topics that I have noticed fans of the sport are continuously talking about incessantly.
Of these four topics, I will try to explain why fans should take a step back and think before shouting at the top of their lungs in incoherent anger.
All fans act irrational at times. Fan is short for fanatic, after all. However, fans need to reel themselves in from time to time, something fans of other sports have accomplished more than fans of MMA. Or at least, they do so more in the comfort of their own homes than publicly.
Whatever the case may be, read on about four of the topics MMA fans like to expound about in haste.
Fans love themselves some “superfight” discussions. Most notably Anderson Silva vs. GSP. And I suppose we can throw Jon Jones in there now.
Superfights hold up divisions and put the smaller fighter at a disadvantage. We have seen this time and time again and is the reason why weight classes are in place. Yes, we know certain fighters can compete at a higher weight class, but we have seen it is rarely a good idea.
These hypothetical fights hold up divisions' title fights and put the entire weight class in suspension for months.
The superfights also potentially damage an entire division should the smaller fighter win and not permanently move up in weight. And should the bigger fighter win, he was supposed to.
It is a no-win situation for the organization that does not even substantially increase the promotional value of the victor. Not to mention possibly lowering the draw of the loser.
Superfights offers very little value and fans need to stop asking for them. Especially after a fighter wins a couple of fights impressively like Jon Jones. Weight classes are in place for a reason, so let's just enjoy those and not lobby for inane match-ups in the future.
Most recently UFC 147 and UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic have come under fire for their seemingly lackluster cards.
In regards to cards such as UFC 147, the single most important thing on the posters and promotional materials is “card subject to change.” Yes, the original line-up would have been amazing for a stadium show, but that's no reason to immediately berate the current card. As I wrote recently the UFC 147 card is still worth a purchase.
What about Struve vs. Miocic? When that fight was announced Twitter went haywire. I do understand the argument from British fans who are paying a premium ticket price, but other than that I do not see where the hatred is coming from.
First and foremost, in comparison to former UK cards this is on par. Secondly, it was known it was going to be a Fuel TV event.
What, exactly, was everyone expecting? Besides, Struve vs. Miocic is a relevant fight in the Heavyweight division that is worthy of the promotion it is getting.
Mostly, I am wondering what happened to the days of just enjoying fights. No matter how stacked the card is the event's entertainment value is never known until after the event. Sporting events are live. Sometimes we do not receive value for our money, or at least in our own opinions.
Other times we receive amazing top-to-bottom action from lesser known fighters for free. If you can afford the PPV and want to watch competitive fights, then buy the shows.
That should be the other concern for “fight fans” and not being concerned with the names at the top of the poster.
As the UFC ratings have dipped lately, the doomsayers have come out in full force. Why fans concern themselves with ratings so passionately is beyond me.
I will own up to my part as I enjoy a good ratings story, too, but I also have a basic understanding of how these ratings work and why they are not truly accurate.
Nielsen ratings are not actual representations of who are watching a particular program. Much like political races, they are samples.
HowStuffWorks.com does a good job of offering a simplistic explanation of how they compile the numbers.
The ratings do have real impacts on advertising and decision making, but in regards to where the landscape of television is going, the UFC is in no danger. They are still in the very beginnings of their seven-year deal with FOX with television having a growing investment in live sporting events.
With the advent of more digital ways to watch programming, DVRs and other avenues that differ from the traditional methods of watching television sports are worth more and more to networks.
The sky is not falling on the UFC because these ratings are lower than in the past. MMA has not reached its apex. Furthermore, the ratings fans go crazy about are not accurate representations of who is watching.
While they do mean something to the networks as of right now, the ratings should not affect how fans perceive the show. Put those negative thoughts away and focus on the fights. Have fun watching.
Judging in the sport is still spotty at best; I will concede that point. But there are two issues with fans that I will focus on for this slide.
First, the fans who fly off the handle at the end of any close decision yelling, “robbery.”
The ideal example is the first bout between Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua. This was a closely contested fight that saw Machida come away with a narrow decision. That is not a robbery regardless if you thought Shogun won the fight or not. It was a close fight that could have went either way.
A robbery, if you want an example, would be Chase Bebee vs. Mike Easton in Virginia. That is a shining example, not Machida vs. Shogun.
I know that we can all be prisoners of the moment, and that is likely the case for most of the outrages from fans, but please try to settle down out there.
The second issue I have is with fans who just do not get how judging works. I trust that the loyal B/R contingent of readers are not these asinine fans who may say something like, “I can't believe that was a unanimous decision. It should have at least been a split.”
If you have uttered that statement before, please realize it makes no sense. You are saying you are encouraging a judge to deliberately score for the other fighter as a gesture of goodwill for being competitive. That is just plain stupid.
Three judges score the bout from three separate spots around the cage with no interaction with one another. They are not going to huddle up and decide to change their scorecard because it was close.
That is just one example, but I am sure other B/R readers have been in a group watching and hearing mind-numbing thoughts from others as well.
These behaviors about judging will never go away entirely, but I hope we can restrain ourselves from acting rashly before thinking. Educate your friends, please, I implore you.