"How I Mastered the Art of Lay-and-Pray" by Jake Shields

Sterling SpiarsAnalyst INovember 9, 2009

I haven't been on the Internet for very long, just over three months now, and one of the things that I found among many "fan" based MMA forums was the term, lay-and-pray.

I found myself asking, "What exactly is lay-and-pray?"

Among numerous responses, many of them calling me a noob, despite the fact that I've watched the sport for 10 years without any Internet access, without much money to purchase the PPVs, or movies, the most common actual answer among them was that it is when a fighter obtains a take-down, where they'll lay on top, and pray for the decision victory.

OK, cool. I've got another way of describing a certain aspect of any fight with the laziest method possible. Ah, the American way!

Psyche, I hate lazy Americans, but anyways...

After travelling a few weeks ahead, I noticed that the term lay-and-pray wasn't being used in the context that was explained to me. "Fans" were going on record to say that Jake Rosholt's victory over Chris Leben was nothing more than lay-and-pray, among other grappling-based extravaganzas.

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Hmmm, so Rosholt dominating all facets of the ground war before securing a viciously tight arm triangle is lay-and-pray?

"Alrighty," I told myself (Yes, I do talk to myself. And yes, with fake words), "I think I'm going to hop off this band-wagon of terminology."

I began to search for my own niche in describing MMA, simply because these same "fans" were mis-using the term of lay-and-pray to describe certain fighters, because that particular fight didn't end in the mouth-piece soaring, river of blood pouring, and toes shaking until the morning fashion that they were hoping for.

Some of you need to realize that, as I've said before, this is Mixed Martial Arts, with heavy emphasis on the Mixed. If you want an arm-flailing, bloody-knuckle street fight, just go to your local biker bar, and start spreading rumors about everyone in the vicinity.

The point is, fights commonly have slow moments of strategic grappling. A cliche simile of grappling is that it's like chess. You have to carefully think, and plan out each move, and the possible outcome of it, and the possible outcome of the possible outcome, and the possible...well, you know what I'm saying.

This takes time, and patience, that's why the fight tends to slow down in this area. And if you don't like the chess-like strategy involved with the grappling aspect of the sport, go back to your pathetic life of easy-read picture menus, and brain-rotting Michael Bay movies, because this sport isn't for you.

Oops, I'm rambling again, so let's get back to the article at hand.

So I'm travelling on what I think is my own road in a descriptive world, and I see a path leading back to Lay-and-Pray Street, a path that was carved by new Strikeforce middleweight champion, Jake Shields.

I've never been one to accuse Shields of the lay-and-pray way, that is, until the midway point of the third round in his title fight with Jason "Mayhem" Miller.

We all knew that Sheilds' best bet against most opponents lie in his grappling skills. He may be improving in his striking, but he is starting to get the tougher fights, so his improvement may not be fast enough.

Miller clearly had the advantage on the feet in this fight, so Shields did what he had to do, obtain the take-down, and work his way to a dominate position, which he did almost flawlessly in the first half of the fight.

Then, Shields hit the E mark on his gas tank, and slowed down dramatically. He was still controlling the majority of the fight, but he was seemingly hugging "Mayhem" throughout the last two rounds, just as I found my way back on Lay-and-Pray Street.

I hold nothing against Shields, I know that he did what he had to do to win. As a fan, I wish he would of put more on the line to secure his victory, but I know that could of severed his chance at winning the fight, and I also know that he is a fighter, while I'm a writer that only shares his opinions of the sport.

Anyways, be on the look out for my new book entitled, "How I Mastered The Art of Hide-and-Type."

This article can also be found at http://www.ring-rap.com/

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