Bullitt's Bros

Monday, April 23, 2007

MMA, again

So, I just saw UFC 70 last night. Cro Cop was, as everyone else (who watches UFC) knows, utterly dominated until the last few seconds, and then knocked out with a high kick. He really looked stiff, nervous, outmatched.

Frankly, all these upsets--Diaz over Gomi, Couture over Sylvia, Serra over GSP, and now Gonzaga over Cro Cop--are making me lose interest in MMA.

Which is weird, right? I mean, you'd think, with all the upsets in MMA, that I'd find it exciting. What could be more exciting than never knowing what's going to happen?

But it turns out, that's not how it works, psychologically. The problem is, if every fight can go either way, you're no longer surprised. Upsets become so expected that there can't be upsets anymore. Worse than that, no one can get any momentum--as soon as a fighter looks dominating, he loses. Consequently, you can't really get behind any fighter, and so you lose your investment in the sport.

There's another problem: I want to see the best fighters in the world fight each other (or I did, until tonight). The reason I want to see this is that I don't know who will win. But the best fighters don't just fight each other immediately, they have to have a tune-up fight. So they send GSP against a pretty good fighter as a tune-up for Hughes II. GSP loses, and we don't get to see GSP-Hughes II. Maybe we never will. Similarly, I'd like to see Cro Cop-Couture. But Couture loses, and now I won't see it (who among us is really excited for Gonzaga-Couture? I guess I'm a little excited, but only because I want to see Gonzaga lose. But of course, I have no idea who will win or lose that fight). Which is sucky.

I don't know why all these upsets are happening, but I think it's seriously bad news for MMA. What do my readers (who know anything about MMA) think? Is Fedor the only dominant fighter left?


  • I think the reason it takes the sheen off of MMA a bit is that is throws off the balance of luck vs. skill. One thing we like about fight sports is that there is always an element of luck. Almost everyone has a puncher's chance which makes upsets possible... but if it happens over and over it makes luck seem like a much larger factor than it should be. If you can be terrifically skilled and that only accounts for 50% of the end result, you might as well be watching Deal or No Deal with punching. Which isn't such a bad idea really.

    By Blogger Joe, at 5:21 AM  

  • This idea can also be applied to baseball. It was really a lot better when a team like, say, the Red Sox, could be depended upon to reliably lose. When they got lucky and just wandered into a World Series win, it kinda took all the fun out of it.

    By Blogger Christer, at 3:16 PM  

  • New York Mets' record in World Series: 2-2.
    Last Win: 1986.

    Boston Red Sox's record in World Series: 6-4.
    Last Win: 2004.

    That's all I'm gonna say.

    By Blogger Bobcat, at 3:49 PM  

  • Number of heartbreaking losses by the Red Sox in your lifetime: 3
    Number of heartbreaking losses by the Red Sox caused by the Mets in your lifetime: 1

    I think I'm done here

    By Blogger Christer, at 2:48 PM  

  • I would say more, but I made a promise that what I said was all I was gonna say.

    Oh crap!

    By Blogger Bobcat, at 3:29 PM  

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