Perfecting the art in Mixed Martial Arts and establishing dominant game plans is something that MMA coach Greg Jackson does on a regular basis.
Like Picasso striking a canvas with his colorful brushes or sculpting a magnificent piece of art, Jackson fine tunes his fighters' strengths and weaknesses, while devising a foolproof plan to help them succeed. He's nothing short of a genius.
However, Jackson's brilliance is highly underappreciated. Actually it's hardly celebrated at all. In fact, Jackson is one of the most heavily criticized men in this sport, and he doesn't even fight.
It just so happens that the reason he's scrutinized tends to be the same reason why he's praised.
Like Nick Saban developing schemes to defeat any college football team that faces the Alabama Crimson Tide, Jackson develops a way to increase his fighter's chances of winning an upcoming bout. It's intelligent fighting.
But in a sport that prides itself on guts and glory, most fans tend to grow angry at the thought of a fighter winning a fight on strategy. This is a sport where "warriors" are given the ultimate sign of respect and "schemers" are are almost viewed as being fearful, rather than technicians.
And though nothing is better than watching fighters like Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua throw-down in the center of the Octagon like there's no tomorrow, fans need to realize that this is a growing sport and strategies come with the territory.
And when it comes to developing strategies, few are better than Jackson. Really, no one is better. Case in point—Carlos Condit's victory against Nick Diaz back in Feb.
Though the decision victory may be debatable, Condit fought Diaz exactly how he should have by outpointing him with his slick kickboxing. If you were a Diaz fan that night, Condit's style gave you a frustrating night, but if you're a true fight fan, you had to appreciate Condit's tactics.
For the most part, that wasn't the case. A lot of fans hated the fight and after one decision in his past four fights, fans called Condit a coward for "running" from Diaz. The fight also gave Jackson haters more fuel to criticize him for giving Condit another "boring" game plan.
Here's a guy who's trained world champions and some of the best fighters of all time in Rashad Evans, Georges St-Pierre, Carlos Condit and Jon Jones. He's had a huge influence on each fighter's career, and it's his game plans that have helped these fighters stay on top of the MMA game.
And don't even think about using the boring argument to try and castigate Jackson. You're aware that he trains Condit, Jones, Brian Stann, Donald Cerrone, Leonard Garcia, Travis Browne and Cub Swanson, right? You know, the guys who refuse to have boring fights every time they step into the cage.
Unfortunately for Jackson, his greatness may not be fully appreciated until his days on the job are finished. Perhaps, when this sport continues to grow, MMA coaches will start to receive the recognition they deserve and Jackson will be viewed as the Paul "Bear" Bryant of MMA.
It's hard to tell some days, but is the UFC and MMA, in general, that far away from its bar room brawl days?
Judging by the crowds' reaction at certain events and by the way this sport treats the greatest MMA coach in the game, it certainly doesn't look like it.
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