Sunday, September 11, 2011

State of Amateur MMA

I went to the fights last night. It was a small show here in Oklahoma. It was awful. Just terrible. This show wasn't really a meat grinder show where you have just a couple of set fights and the rest are set up that night. It was a show that had several set fights, and many of the fights were for the amateur championships. In other words, they were set fights with guys who have had more than one fight, and are supposed to be training. With this kind of notice and experience, I would expect these guys to be working hard on their game, to show some immaturity, but to look like trained fighters. They did not... For the most part they looked like two guys in a back yard trying to make it look like they train UFC. As guys train to fight professionally there are a few things that I expect them to do before getting in to the ring. They need to have these things down to have success in MMA:
  • Know how to throw the basic three punches.  Jab, cross, hook. 
  • Know how to throw a good low and middle level kick
  • Know how, and when to throw elbows in the clinch and on the ground
  • Know how, and when to throw knees in the clinch
  • Know how to do one consistent takedown.
  • Know how to do basic submissions from the major ground positions. (armbar from mount and guard, RNC from back mount, Americana from side control)
  • Know how to do a basic punch parry, and cover blocks.
  • Know how to check kicks
  • Know how to hold someone in guard, to avoid being punched
  • Know how to move to get yourself off of the cage in the clinch.
  • Know basic escapes from the major ground positions.  (Mount, side control, half guard, back mount)
These are the bare basics, however if you know these bare basics, or have some idea of them, you will have a much better chance of success over the other beginner fighters. If you step in to the cage with no real knowledge of your craft, and just expect to win by "throwing bombs," the sad news is that someone with knowledge of the above is going to hurt you badly. What is going to happen is that you are going to gas out quicker, and you will often find yourself in positions where you can not escape. Anyway, I felt quite cheated after the show, because for my $35 ticket, I really did not get to see any skill at all. I saw a couple of guys with raw talent, but no real skill. The worst part about it was, I paid money to see the show, where only four guys (two fights) actually got paid at the end of the night. $35 is an expensive ticket, and I feel that the promoter really took advantage of the spectators and the fighters. And this is the state of amateur MMA. There are no amateur rankings. There are very few advantages for fighting amateur MMA. Why do it? The state of competition in the smaller shows is such that you will be fighting about the same level of skill in the low pro ranks as you will in the amateur ranks. Why not train a little harder, with a good team, and just enter the pros? You get insurance from the commission, and you walk out of the arena with a little coin in your pocket. If the concern is about getting ring experience before risking a pro record, there are other ways to obtain experience. Make your young fighters do an amateur boxing match, or a kickboxing match. Have them do a BJJ tournament both gi and no-gi. Get them ready for the fight by drilling the components. The young guys will learn very quickly on which parts of their game they need to work. Then when they step in to the cage for the first time, they will have been in a situation where someone has been trying to punch or kick them with full force. They have been on the ground working to escape from bad positions, or have learned how to hold down an opponent who is trying to escape with their whole being. Until there is a set and fully support rule set for amateur MMA, I would suggest that fighters not participate. Prepair for your MMA career in other ways where you can protect your pro MMA record, yet get the valuable experience needed to succeed.

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