“FORGET the blood on the canvas, the sight of a near-defenseless bloodied figure being continuing pummelled, or the construction of a cage to add to the gladiatorial atmosphere; mixed martial arts (MMA) is boring.”
The Herald Sun columnist Ron Reed wrote this in his opinion piece last January 18. In each match he watched, he anticipated action, an all-out brawl against two elite fighters. However, he was disappointed. Disappointed that instead of meeting each other with fists, they turn into grappling matches, all they want is to force a submission rather than knock out their opponent.
Reed was so disgusted with what was happening to the MMA world and why it became so boring that he associated the sport with a “cockfight.” He was bored seeing the athletes spend minutes, if not rounds, trying to gauge each other’s strength and moves.
The columnist was tired of wasting 25 minutes just watching fighters on the ground, clinching, grabbing each other, and focusing on making moves that guarantee submission. He wanted action and blood. He expected both fighters to slug it out in the cage, blood dripping, faces swollen, while they proved they were the better boxer or striker.
Although, that is not the usual case in MMA. The sport involves almost all fighting styles—from boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, to taekwondo. Fighters do not just rely on their sheer strength or punching power. Most of them use strategy and their wits to overcome their opponent.
There are also times when fighters bark during pre-fight conferences but cannot bite once they are alone inside the cage.
Too Boring to Watch?
With MMA speculated to be “boring” to its audience, a Russian MMA promotion proved it to be true. In a listicle made by Sports Keeda, there was a match that had both fighters disqualified for being “too dull.”
Although the fighters were of caliber—former UFC fighter Rashid Magomedov and ACA title contender Ali Bagov—their matchup was a “snoozefest.”
A fighter also can put fans to sleep. Bleacher Report listed the five most boring fighters, with C.B. “The Doberman” Dollaway on the list. His fight against Jason “Mayhem” Miller bored fans to death as he constantly took Miller down, but nothing more. Dollaway did win, but fans felt it was one of the most boring victories in UFC.
Even Israel Adesanya was criticized for his lackluster performance after winning against Jared Cannonier via decision.
The Organization’s at Fault, Too
Well, Reed has a point. It is sometimes the organization’s fault that the sport became boring. Because the fighters have a variety of techniques they can utilize, mix-and-match styles can be an advantage for them. However, it also causes confusion as to who actually won the fight.
Take for example, the match between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title.
The fight ended in a draw, something very unusual in championship bouts. Blachowicz and Ankalaev had an amazing fight. Unfortunately, the judges decided it to be a split decision, although the latter was dominant in rounds three to five.
The match’s conclusion baffled Ankalaev, who believed he had won the fight. But UFC’s Dana White clapped back with a question, “What do you want me to do?”
The fight was indeed close, with Blachowicz beating Ankalaev in the first two rounds. The latter made a comeback by taking the former to the ground. Unfortunately, he could not make a technical knockout or a submission just as the final bell rang.
But moreover, the fact that before getting to the main card, fans have to endure twelve mediocre matches, not to mention the analysis and advertisements crammed in between fights. So before the main event, most of the crowds were either asleep or had left the arena.
Rather than address the issue, UFC stuck with its format, resulting in viewership declining. Rumors had that the 2018 UFC 224 was the “lowest-selling UFC pay-per-view in a decade, and several recent events full of elite fighters have financially under-performed.”
MMA is wide, with various leagues across the planet. If UFC, one of the most-sought tournaments in mixed martial arts, starts boring people, it impacts the sport. Fans, especially OKBET players, might not support it anymore because of the uneventful matches.
Nevertheless, there is still hope, with explosive fighters being holed in ONE Championship. Hopefully, in the case of UFC, the management would notice the bland fights they put up and finally come up with an exciting fight card from start to finish.
Read: Adesanya vs. Pereira Rematch: The Fight We’ve Been Waiting For