As the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC struggles for mainstream status and a place amongst the elite leagues of NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL, many hurdles have been placed in the road ahead. Some of those involve government prejudice like in New York, while others are harder to put your finger on.
One of the largest problems in mixed martial arts is that not only do fighters need often lengthy dormancy periods between bouts, injuries also run rampant. All of the injuries that have been happening as of late have gotten me a little worried.
It almost feels like the famous curses of the Chicago Cubs or the Boston Red Sox, where seemingly non-factor events have ended up shaping history. Is the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts cursed? A curse sounds far too supernatural to be taken seriously, but I bet Dana White and the UFC are starting to wonder.
In the past two months the UFC and Strikeforce have had a host of injuries, strange fighter withdrawals out of nowhere, lackluster events and a myriad of problems. First it was the biggest draw in the sport who went down. Brock Lesnar, the undisputed king of MMA pay per view, has once again been afflicted with diverticulitis and was forced to withdraw from UFC 131. He will be on the shelf for at least 6-9 months. If he ever fights again is anyone's guess.
Actually, that was not was the first big hit. Both Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard were forced out of the main event of UFC 130 due to injuries. Now that their bout is delayed the division is on hold. Nothing can really happen until they meet for the third time. The heavyweight division is doing the same waiting game and will not move forward in any significant way until Cain Velasquez can finally defend his title against Junior dos Santos.
Earlier this week, Roger Gracie withdrew from a July 30 bout with Muhammad Lawal that many fans were extremely eager to see. That eagerness is now replaced with despair. That emotion is becoming far too common lately.
There have been many other bad breaks in the MMA world lately, but none was more puzzling than the late scratch of Nate Marquardt from the UFC card to be held this evening, June 26. He not only pulled out of the fight on the day of the weigh-in, but he did so with no real reason or even a guess as to what went wrong. We as fans have been left to wonder. Dana White took no time in announcing that he is done with the UFC.
Although I don't believe in curses, witchcraft or other so-called mumbo jumbo, I do believe in evidence and patterns. This pattern of major combatants getting injured or withdrawing, patchwork main events and the resulting matchups being underwhelming is hurting mixed martial arts. If the UFC truly wants to be like the NFL, then Dana White must continue to be the bad cop and take a firm hand in cases like Nate Marquardt. He can't control the injuries and accidents, but he can ensure that his athletes adhere to some rules.
MMA may not be cursed but it definitely has many problems that need to be addressed. The scoring system is something that has been viewed as another bad spot, but that is a whole other story. Mixed martial arts is not cursed, it is simply a rowdy teenager that has yet to grow into a mature adult. Let's just give it some time.