UFC 111: Wrestlers Have Never Been the Best Friends of Fans

Bill JacksonAnalyst IMarch 28, 2010

As exciting as some MMA historians say the UFC 4 finals between Royce Gracie and Dan Severn were, they weren't.

For 16 minutes, Royce was pinned under the 260-pound wrestler with little to no action taking place. There were no time limits then, so who knows how long this could have possibly lasted.

Royce was able to end the fight in an excitable fashion when he secured a triangle choke and forced Severn to tap, but that didn't change the fact that paying viewers had watched over 15 minutes of two men doing nothing but clinching on the ground.

Also, to add to the displeasure of pay-per-view buyers, the fight extended over the allotted pay-per-view time, so viewers were not able to even see the ending.

Last night, Georges St. Pierre received a lot of criticism for allowing yet another opponent, in Dan Hardy, to make it to the final bell. He once again dominantly won every round, but to the paying spectator, this was a disappointment.

As entertaining as this sport is, consistently taking little risk by out-wrestling your opponent is not the most exciting part of it.

MMA is a sport, but the UFC is an entertainment business. While GSP is certainly excelling in MMA, his stock as an entertainer is dropping very quickly.

Before his recent performance against Forrest Griffin, Anderson Silva was experiencing something very similar; a loss of fan support by not taking enough chances.

As Anderson proved, it only takes one exciting win to get back on the fans good side. However, I do believe that is what GSP's fight against Dan Hardy last night was supposed to be. Hardy was intended to be a sacrificial lamb; a fighter GSP could finish in violent fashion.

St. Pierre was unwilling to stand and strike with Hardy, so his option for finishing the fight would have to be a submission. When Hardy refused to tap, Georges was left with another decision win after pinning his opponent to the ground for 25 minutes.

Slow, uneventful, dominant victories by wrestlers are nothing new to the sport, but the demands and expectations of paying spectators are constantly growing alongside the big business of MMA.