Colossal Concerns - MMA Blog


One giant mistake after another

My last couple of blogs have been of a somewhat serious nature and although I consider Mma a serious business, I thought I’d try and break it up a bit. This time with some kind of ‘light hearted’ Mma subject but, try as I might, I just couldn’t think of anything that fitted the bill, maybe it’s because I take Mma so seriously. Until, that is, I had a ‘light bulb moment’ and realised the subject was under my nose all the time, just like when the car keys are in your hand- while you’re looking for them!

So, what was under my nose this whole time? I hear you ask. The obvious answer would be ‘my lips’ but no it’s not my lips as they are more ‘sculpted and handsome’ than ‘funny and light hearted’, but I digress. What I’m getting at is why ‘try’ to pick a funny Mma topic when I can just delve in to my emergency bag of pride stories, which I usually call upon to rescue me at awkward social occasions, and since the ‘Fedor drinking story’ went down so well I reckon my Giant Silva story is just the ticket to keep you heathens happy. So, are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.

I got the call from my agent that Pride wanted me for their NYE show, this was going to be my fourth outing under Pride but my first ever NYE show, so I was understandably ‘excited’. “Who do they want me to fight?” I said with a fair bit of trepidation as it was starting to become clear that if you fought for Pride then you could be facing anything they wanted, from a sumo, to a masked wrestler, and anything else in between. This time it was a giant! Now, I’d also become accustomed to Pride changing opponents constantly, it was just the way it was. The guy you were meant to fight would, more than likely, change countless times. Sometimes it was because of injury, most of the time it was because the Pride executives sat round the table playing their own version of ‘who would win’ between Superman v’s Batman, only with real Mma fighters.

I know this because, a lot of the time, the opponent I was supposed to fight was still fighting on the same card, just not against me!

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I started writing this blog about the gym you choose, as a fighter, and what a crucial role it plays in your development as a fighter, a while ago but never finished it, “why” ? Well, I felt like I was stating the obvious, like I might as well have been writing a blog about how important it is to eat and drink (which I’m proud to say I have successfully mastered).

After some time, I came back to my half-finished scribbling and really thought about the experiences I’ve personally had with all the different fighting establishments I’ve called home over the years and wondered if it was so easy, then why have I and so many of my friends had so much trouble finding a gym to settle at?

So I decided to write about it from a different angle, rather than why you need sparring partners, decent instructors and other such head shatteringly obvious things, I thought I would write about some of the mistakes and pitfalls that I and others have made, so that some of the fighters out there can have a better chance of avoiding some of these situations or maybe even make them ask questions about the gym they train at. I have broken them down in to handy, digestible; bite size chunks of tasty Mma knowledge.

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Before we go any further on this blog I feel I have to make this point. It’s sad that I have to make it but such is life huhumm (clears throat)… The UFC IS NOT MMA!!! The UFC IS AN ORGANISATION THAT SHOWCASES THE SPORT OF MMA. Simple!

Unless you’re trying to explain what Mma is to the uninitiated then those of you that call Mma ‘Ultimate Fighting’ or ‘Cage fighting’ or anything else that you think makes you sounds cool, edgy or extreme, need to please follow these instructions.

1. Please place your ineffective, useless head at the mouth of a doorway

2. Make sure the door is either heavy wood or thick steel.

3. Finally place your head in said doorway and continue to open and shut it with all the ferocity you can muster in a Vinnie Jones, Lock Stock & two smoking barrels sort of way.

If you’re having trouble with this then ask around and I’m willing to bet that there will be an army of people you’ve offended with your nonsensical & dim-witted ways that will be more than happy to smash what little contents there is contained in your head over the floor provided.

I can hear you saying to yourselves ‘what difference does it make if I call it Ultimate fighting/Cage fighting and not Mma, it’s only a term describing the same thing, what’s does it matter what words you use as long as people know what you’re on about?’. To you I would respond ‘calm yourselves down… the door will shortly be free for your use’!

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Do Women have a place in MMA?

Don’t worry ladies; we haven’t gone back to the fifties despite my rather dated and antagonistic title. A more fitting title would have been ‘how big will women’s mma get’? My answer to this would be ‘Massive’!

We’ve seen the sport of Mma sky rocket to new uncharted areas of growth so it’s easy to forget just how new the sport actually is; really it’s still in its infancy. Within the last five years women’s Mma has sky rocketed and thus, so has the quality and amount of women competing in the sport.

On a side note: Something that puzzles me is ‘how come women’s Mma is steadily growing and gathering pace whereas women’s boxing has been at a virtual standstill’?, and that’s being kind. I wonder if it’s because people don’t like to see woman solely punishing each other with punches and even though Mma is seen as brutal by some, there are more varied ways to win other than by a KO. Some will say it’s simply all a fad and women’s Mma (along with Mma in general) will shine bright and then will burn out shortly after, but if you look closely at who’s saying this you’ll find it’s mostly crusty old men who are all about “the sweet science “… Boxing, and so stuck in their crusty old ways they can only ever imagine women putting on gloves to clean. These boxing dinosaurs are nothing to be scared of, I suggest tolerating them like a bad smell – unpleasant to be around but it won’t kill you. They will fade out long before women’s Mma… That’s enough pensioner bashing, for now.

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Fedor – Greatest of all time ( G.O.A.T) or Just Goat

When the name Fedor Emelianenko is mentioned to Mma fans, opinions are split. In fact, I don’t think you’ll find another fighter out there that will split opinions quite as much. Since he’s recently retired I thought now would be a good time to look at the last emperor’s career and give my two cents on where I place him in mma history.
Is he a Mma pioneer that crushed all comers and reigned over the Mma world for the longest time? Or is he simply a tubby disinterested looking fighter with little skill, but a lot of clever management whom protected their golden goose by feeding him a series of ‘has been’s’ and ‘never was’s? I’m going to try and sort through all the issues and arguments that have been placed at the last emperor’s feet over his 11 year career.

Let’s first look at the people who said Fedor was really an overweight LHW that should have lost some of the fat and dropped to fight at LHW. I agree with them in the sense that,  perhaps in the latter part of his career, Fedor probably should’ve dropped some of the excess and a division, but rather than detract from his greatness I think this just added to it. I think the Mma world would have stopped spinning if Fedor had turned up for one of his fights with a six pack – It just wouldn’t of been right and just the thought of it freaks me out! That was Fedors way and like many of the things that didn’t seem quite right about him, it just happened to work. That being said, although he won fights against bigger guys like Mark Hunt and Brett Rogers, I thought you could tell he struggled somewhat with the extra weight of these guys. This really showed in Fedors loss to Big foot Silva in the Strikeforce HW tournament back in Feb of 2011. That really was a case of a good big UN beats a good little UN.

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The many faces of the chin

The many faces of the Chin

What makes a good or bad chin is a question that has been asked throughout the ages of combat sports. There is a spectrum of answers, ranging from the shape of a person’s face to their mental toughness.

I’ll use myself as an example in this blog a lot, since I’ve been accused of being ‘chinny’. Having suffered my fair share of KO defeats it’s something I understand. I can give you my take on the subject, whilst trying not to completely hijack this blog in an attempt to justify my own chin. I will be as frank and painfully honest as possible to tackle this subject head on.

The first thing I want to bring up are the Mma fans that class fighters, that have only lost one fight by K.O, as having ‘glass jaws’. No example paints a clearer picture to me than the recent main event fight between John Jones v Rashad Evans.

Before the fight I was perusing the vast vaults of Mma knowledge on the net, otherwise known as      ‘the Mma forums’, when I stumbled on a few different forum threads on the topic of Evans’ chin and how it wasn’t able to take a punch.

Now, I believe Jones kick started this chin hype on Rashad by making various comments about Rashad’s chin before they fought and sadly the many ‘mma sheep’ out there put their trainers on and ran with it.

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When a Fighter gives up – Profile on Bob Sapp

This is a blog that has been sitting idle in the dark recesses of my mind. It has been pushed forward and inspired to see the cold light of day by a few events that have happened recently. Mainly a very recent interview I saw on ‘Mma hour by Ariel Helwani’. His guest on the show was Bob Sapp.

Here are three brief points as to why this blog was hidden in the deep recesses of the mush that passes as my mind for so long and why I didn’t do it sooner.

Number 1: I don’t like to ‘fighter bash’ and if you’re going to talk about Sapp you have to do that. Sapp and derogatory comments are like Siamese twins perpetually joined together.

Number 2: I like Sapp. Before & after our fight I talked to him…Well actually it’s more like he talked AT me! Way more than I would usually talk to an opponent or even a family member come to think of it! He’s not a bad person.

Number 3: I don’t like talking about things I’m not sure about, but after hearing the Mma Hour interview I felt like the final piece in a Jigsaw had been placed to complete the puzzle. I’m not saying I’m 100% right, how would anyone really know? But I believe I’ve got it fairly spot on.

So that’s some of the reason I haven’t done this blog sooner. Now back to the reasons I’m doing it now and the interview that kick started it.

I was interested in listening to the interview with Sapp as he takes a lot of flak (and quite rightly so) about the way he’s been fighting or not fighting as the case may be. I wanted to see how Ariel approached all this and wanted to hear Sapp’s responses.

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‘Fixes’ in MMA

I’ve been involved, in and around Mma for a good ten years. One of the things I’ve noticed that has never really changed about it is people shouting “fix” at any available opportunity.

A lot of times something strange happens in a fight, (guess what? strange things do sometimes ‘just happen’ in fights and I feel like screaming ‘take off your tin foil hat, take your medication and calm the fuck down’). A good example of this is Rich Franklin v’s Ken Shamrock. If you look at this fight, Ken just seems to fall to his knees while Franklin then lands a couple of heavy shots and finishes the fight. People cried out ‘fix’ straight away. I admit, it did look weird but to actually assume it’s a fix out of looking a bit weird doesn’t make sense. You have to first ask the question, who other than Franklin would benefit from risking everything the UFC has built up and its reputation? What would be the purpose? Franklin won a fight he should’ve won anyway, so who would’ve gained in ‘fixing’ it?

Generally I think there are very few legitimate fixes. I’ll talk about a few below and two of the fights have the same person in them.

In my own career, no MMA Fight Organisation or promoter has ever asked me to throw a fight. It has never happened and I would be shocked if it did.The most that has been asked of me was when I was fighting in Japan (what I was asked was nothing like being asked to throw a fight- but I mention it to let you know the type of things a fight org might say to a fighter). I was asked, badgered and generally pestered to do the ‘gong and dash’ (running at my opponent at the sound of the bell). This was at a time I didn’t really want to do it, since people had got wise to it and I was getting caught out as I rushed them. But I was never threatened or forced to do it.

I was offered a KO bonus against Kimbo (which I had never been offered before for Elite XC) but I can’t see anything wrong with this, although it could be seen as a way to steer the fight in a certain direction. All fights come with these sorts of incentives these days.

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Down, but far from out: Fred Ettish

With it being Easter, I figured you’d all be far too busy shovelling chocolate shaped eggs into your mouths to read. Having had some extra time to ponder what topic I’d like to tackle next, I settled not so much on a topic, but rather an MMA Fighter. “Of whom” I hear you ask “Silva, Wand, Fedor???” Well none of the above actually… I settled on a man named Fred Ettish. Now you’ll be forgiven for asking who the hell he is, but bear with me. Whilst I had witnessed Fred Ettish fight in the very beginning of the UFC I too was unaware of his story post UFC, up until recently.

After watching & reading about him, I managed to find the one emotion I still had in my body that hadn’t been deadened or hardened by life, and I was actually moved by his story. Also, with my last blog being about Traditional Martial Arts, I thought it followed on nicely from that topic and it shows that even if the Martial Art isn’t great, it doesn’t mean the person practising it can’t be.

(A quick note on my last blog. I forgot to mention some of the positive aspects of Traditional Martial Arts.. I.e. discipline and fitness for kids. Please forgive me, this sometimes happens when you get hit in the head for a living)…

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Traditional Martial Arts.. Do they have a place in MMA

If you take a look back to the old UFC and how things were in the dark ages of Mma, one of the major things that stands out was that it wasn’t really MMA back then. Apart from a few guys along the lines of Ken Shamrock, there weren’t many fighters who were cross training different disciplines, it was all about style versus style.

I cast my mind back to the first UFC I ever watched, UFC 6 to be exact, I remember watching John Matua against Tank Abbot. It stands out so strongly in my mind because I got sucked from the off, by the intros where the fighters showcased their deadly crafts through shadow boxing and close up camera angles. I was trying to pick the winners based on these in-depth pieces. One that stood out was John Matua. I remember I whole heartedly decided to go with him as the one to win his fight, how did I reach this educated decision by simply watching his intro I hear you ask?.
Well, John had me at “the Hawaiian art of bone breaking”. I watched the screen in awe, looking at him throw a series of bone breaking elbows into thin air while I pondered what were the chances of my local social club doing a class on Hawaii bone breaking. I felt pity for this Tank fella and his poor bones, and wondered if he knew what he was in for.

My worrying was misplaced, well for Tank anyway, as he walked through Matua leaving him literally poleaxed. The realization started to dawn on me that you needed more than a cool intro showing you breaking bones in the sky, to be good at this Ultimate Fighting thing. It’s a good example, because it showed to me, that in order to be effective in Martial Arts you need to have more than just a cool sounding name that looks good on paper.

Looking back I see I was massively naive, but guess most of us were back then, and this is why I love MMA as it cuts through most of the crap. MMA can be one, or as many combat sports as you think would be effective. My girlfriend says its a ‘greedy’ sport as it combines several elements and while a somewhat a basic description.. she’s right.

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