Too Much Of A Good Thing: Experience
As with most things in life, excess usually brings with it unintended consequences. Surely fighting is no different. The evolution of MMA in the past 8 or so years has been nothing short of extraordinary. A decade ago most guys were fighting because they really loved fighting, needed money and or pocessed few other productive skills. They were rewarded with respect and maybe a few hundred bucks that would have to suffice until they could land another fight. What a far cry from the spoils that await todays fighters.
Large 6 figure pay days, sponsorships, TV and movie deals, clothing lines, gym lines, paparazzi fanfare, and supermodel girlfriends.
How tough it must be for fighters now entering their 30's or 40's and seeing their career come to and end just when the getting gets good. These were the guys who were the building blocks of the sport and were rewarded with the aforementioned few hundred bucks. It's easy to understand why a lot of these guys have such a hard time hanging up the gloves. They must be thinking that If they can last another year or two and make 50 grand a fight, why the hell not? The motivation to make your career last a little bit longer is so tempting. 50 grand a fight, maybe more if you're a household name like Liddell and Couture.
Like Biggie said, "Mo money mo problems". As if saying goodbye to the thing you love isn't hard enough, add to it that you're missing out on HUGE paydays. Any athlete famous or not, knows the feeling they get when they step onto the court, into the ring, onto the field or whereever your sport is played. Their heart beats faster, they're ready to go head to head, they feel ALIVE. And it has nothing to do with money. Saying goodbye to the sport that gave you so much isn't an easy thing to do. Add to it that you can make 100 grand an outing and saying no becomes damn near impossible.
If personal health and safety were the only factors to consider, many of these guys should quit. Liddell and Couture are a few of the names that first come to mind. However, it seems like there is a new crop of fighters who should consider what Liddell and Couture haven't. Wanderlei Silva and Nogueria come to mind. While they might not be old, they surely have been in their share of fights.
Recently both guys look like a shell of their former self. Slower and quicker to react, they subject themselves to greater punishment and abuse. Every time one of these guys fight they claim that their biggest advantage is their experience. No, it's not. At some point repeated cranial poundings become a disadvantage.
Someone tell Wanderlei, Nogueira, Chuck and the like before it's too late.
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