When boxer Floyd Mayweather called out MMA fighters , saying they were nothing more than barroom brawlers, most knowledgeable fans called him out for being dead wrong.
MMA fighters are skilled in multiple disciplines and while their striking skills usually won’t look as good as boxers, K1 kick-boxers, or muay thai fighters among other disciplines because of the constant threat posed by take-downs in MMA, cage fighters are starting to step up their games drastically in that respect as well.
The Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua light heavyweight title fight at UFC 104 is excellent proof of the evolution of the sport and should be used as a shining example of a fight to show people who don’t think MMA fighters are highly skilled athletes.
But if there’s one group of fights you wouldn’t want to show someone to prove that same point, it would be the fights we’ve seen on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights , you know, the one featuring Kimbo Slice.
It’s not Kimbo’s fault that the fights have been bad, but the season has shown yet again that the heavyweight division has a long way to go before it catches up with the other classes in terms of talented depth.
Take the Matt Mitrione-Scott Junk fight from this past Wednesday’s episode. Mitrione is a former NFL fullback and a very good athlete with a long reach who showed some good stand up skills early in the fight. He does have a lot of potential, but his cardio in the fight was stunningly bad and led to an ugly fight.
Junk, who was purported to be one of the top guys in the house, had equally bad cardio. The fight devolved into a sloppy affair that looked like two drunken brown bears with tranquilizer darts in their back pawing at each other as they slipped out of consciousness. Mitrione won the decision but it wasn’t pretty.
Other fights on the season have been at times equally bad. The Wes Shivers-James McSweeney match showcased the fighters’ similarly bad cardio that made their striking skills look rudimentary to say the least by the end. Roy Nelson beat Kimbo by essentially laying on top of him and punching him repeatedly two separate times in two different rounds. And then there was the Darrill Schoonover vs. Zak Jensen fight in which Schoonover dominated with a flurry of sloppy-looking punches.
Truth to be told, none of the fights have been good so far this season with just one remaining in the first round. That doesn’t mean the show hasn’t been entertaining so far because it has with coaches Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans leading the way in addition to an eclectic, personable cast.
And the next round should bring some interesting, higher-quality match-ups that could yield excellent fights. But for now, the actual fights in a show based around fighting have been awful at best, and a reminder of just how hard it is to find a good heavyweight these days.