UFC: Something Is Missing

Mark HauserCorrespondent IIJuly 13, 2009

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lesnar defeated Mir by a second round knockout.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

I was at a party Saturday night and the Ultimate Fighting Championships were on, and I watched some of the fights. To me, UFC advertises that they are going to deliver me a chocolate shake, and I am served a vanilla one.

It delivers the violence, if that’s what excites you, but the matches lack the drama of a good boxing match or even a freestyle-wrestling match (not championship wrestling which I don’t consider a sport). Often the matches are too quick with no back and forth action—no ebb and flow as to who is going to win the match.

The bouts are usually quick knockouts or one fighter eventually taking down the other fighter and punching his head into submission from the on-top position.

One bout was brutal as the fighter fell to the ground from a punch looking very much knocked out and the other jumped on him and delivered another crushing blow to the head just for good measure. In another fight, blood splattered all over the place. The winning headliner for some reason gave his middle finger to the crowd afterwards.

Likeable personalities do not seem to be UFC fighters’ strong suits. And without a superstar who has the personality to capture the public’s imagination, the UFC will only become so popular. Someone like Muhammad Ali or Bruce Lee comes to mind.

When I first heard about mixed martial arts, I envisioned more karate type kicks and less wrestling. As Lee pointed out to his students, the kick has the advantage over the punch in that the leg is longer than the arm.

Since most kicks are legal, I would think that someone with fast kicks could score some effective blows. Lee would not have fought the same style as the fighters that I have seen. And Lee, who had the quickest reflexes that I have ever seen, would have been more exciting, and I suspect, he would have dominated his weight class.

I will, however, give the UFC credit for not the making the mistake of boxing and limit the number of weight classes (although five seems too few) and World Champions.

Fighters don’t fight often enough for their fans to relate to potentially 68 World Boxing Champions (17 weight classes, 4 governing bodies). Now, if the UFC would just deliver me a chocolate shake without the poor sportsmanship and all that blood.