MMA Monday, 1st July 2013

Well, that’s the first half of 2013 shot by already. It seems like only yesterday we were watching Conor McGregor lift the Cage Warriors Lightweight belt on New Years Eve.

Anyway, here’s what I’m thinking about at the moment.

Global Warrior Challenge

Probably the biggest card of the weekend saw a bunch of UKMMA stalwarts travel to Kansas City to face off with some familiar American names in a card billed as ‘Team UK vs. Team USA’ but which could not be legally viewed in Britain.

I despair, I really do. Just as Bellator finally give us some official product (albeit by a day and half’s tape delay) another promotion pops up, actively promoting British talent, but not allowing British folk to watch.

Still, having seen the fights by some of the dubious means us British MMA fans have long been forced to adopt, I can say it was definitely a fun event and it was awesome to see the British contingent, headed up by Max Nunes, Marcin Lazarz, Jack Marshman and Andre Winner largely carrying the day, although big name Americans like Bobby Lashley, Kendall Grove and LC Davis looked great in their fights.

GWC is an interesting concept and format, and I hope they do well, especially if they get thoughtful enough to provide some official manner of watching their show outside North America that doesn’t put my computer’s health in danger.

Dinky Ninjas Rule At SFC

With Scottish Fight Challenge returning to its familiar name and stomping ground in Stirling, we saw Martin Delaney stretch his perfect record to 8-0 and Robert Whiteford outmuscle veteran Paul Reed to advance to a 10-1 record and improve his winning streak into double figures.

These two are some of the most promising talent in UKMMA and Whiteford has been knocking on the door of the UFC for over a year. Hopefully he starts getting the attention his talent deserves as he moves onto his five fight deal with Cage Warriors – I’d pay good money to see him fight the likes of Jim Alers (assuming teammate Graham Turner doesn’t lift the strap before he earns the shot.)

Delaney has proven everything he can at regional level, lifting the On Top and Made 4 the Cage Lightweight belts – he needs to be fighting in Cage Warriors too at this point.

Fighter Pay

This is an issue that just won’t go away, and as much as I’d love to see MMA fighters paid a similar amount to football (soccer) players across the board, it just isn’t going to happen because of the nature and condition of the sport.

Martial arts is a vocation, you train because you want to, you fight to test yourself – if that leads to earning actual money to the point where you can go full time, then fantastic. It’s just like being a writer, or a musician – you do it when it costs you money, because you love it.

Much like in music, the only folks making real money are the big stars, with their names on the event posters in great big letters. Accept this truth.

When I hear guys like John Cholish, Tim Kennedy or War Machine complaining about not breaking even or not being paid enough (never mind the persistent, ignorant statement that the UFC has a monopoly – they don’t) I’m actually quite annoyed on behalf of all of us in normal jobs, as well as those fighters who aren’t getting paid enough to be full time.

I mean, sure, the UFC are making lots of money, but then most of us work for companies that are, albeit with less glamour and attention. Just because you work for a successful global corporation doesn’t mean you get paid the big bucks…

Likewise, you get fighters – like Graham Turner – who work full time jobs as well as training, manage to compete at an extremely high level and don’t once complain about the lack of pay.

That’s because they are doing it for the right reasons.

As your high school careers counsellor would tell you, MMA is not a sensible career path for making money, on a par with ‘being a rock star’ and it carries (or should) the disclaimer of ‘you may not make money, you may waste a lot of time and money and never become famous or wealthy.’

Big Weekend Ahead

We’ve got an insane weekend of fights coming up, with Cage Warriors 56 followed by UFC 162 on Saturday night. We’ll have full previews for both cards and a separate piece on the potentially historic Middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman as well, but let me ask you… who do you have winning that match?

Men In Glass Houses

I had a good giggle at this article from the excellent MMA Viking in which Swedish fighters Niklas Backstrom and Martin Svensson have a wee war of words where neither comes across very well.

Svensson failed to come in on weight for their scheduled co-main event bout at Vision FC this past December and Backstrom, rather than accept part of Svensson’s purse, refused to go ahead with the fight (as is his right) leaving the show short of one of its featured bouts.

Since then, Backstrom has criticised Svensson’s choice of opponents, drawing a rather pithy response from Svensson as linked above.

It’s all a bit handbags-at-dawn, before you even consider that Backstrom hasn’t fought in over a year… so really shouldn’t be criticising a fighter who has at least been active and was willing to fight him…

…or that Svensson was decisively beaten up by Robert Whiteford last September, attempted to say that the TKO was early, despite being foetal against the cage taking a lot of unprotected shots.

A reputation as a whinger isn’t easily shaken…

He then followed up by badly missing weight for the Backstrom fight, but has rebounded with two submission victories in 2013, even if the shows have been of a lower profile.

The moral of the story?

Feuds and trash talk are not an end in themselves, so if you can’t be entertaining with it, and especially if you don’t seem to actually want to fight each other… why bother?

That’s all I’ve got today, stay tuned for Cage Warriors and UFC previews, as well as another instalment of Everything Zen and some other treats.


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