“SO, YOU WANT TO BE A FUCKING FIGHTER” ?

“So, you want to be a FUCKING FIGHTER” ?

To many who hear these words reverberating off of their eardrums from Mr. Dana White, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” But since I’m not in that pressure cooker like these new fighters are and since I actually AM a fucking fighter, I took time to ponder what the question really means.

Nowadays, this question is being asked more and more. Why? Because the UFC is having more and more shows, which means more fighters are getting injured, which means more fighters are needing to step up on some short notice, causing Dana White to bark out the inevitable question. I’m going to look at both sides of this coin, and, since every case is different, I’m going to do my best to give you my humble opinion of what makes a fighter. So are you fucking ready? Ready for some fucking MMA knowledge bombs, motherfucker?

I apologize–I’ve got that all out of my system now.

The Promoter, a.k.a. Dana White:

Now Dana’s point of view is this: if you make your living as an mixed martial artist, then you should be ready at any time to step up and fight. I mean you’re a fighter, right? He’s only asking you to do what you do. I think Dana gets constantly frustrated because he’s trying to make the best fights possible for the fans, and more and more he’s running into roadblocks in terms of unwilling fighters who don’t want to step up on short notice and risk losing. Which to a lot of people, Dana included, is the essence of what makes a fighter. And, to the credit of Dana, he has avoided the pitfalls of boxing, where to make a fight happen means a year of negotiations. I can’t see that happening (thankfully) with MMA, and the reason for that is Dana. Now, the “do you want to be a fucking fighter?” question was first asked on the TV show “The Ultimate Fighter.” Let’s always keep in mind that it’s a television show, but, having said that, it’s a valid question when it’s being posed to inexperienced fighters, many of whom haven’t got that many fights under their belt.

I remember seeing a few fighters who didn’t really want it. They had this chance to be on a big TV show, and they didn’t want to take it. You shouldn’t have to ask this question when you’re talking about fighters who are in the UFC. I mean they’re there for a reason, of course they want to be a fighter. But Dana is finding it harder to get fighters to step up, which is causing problems. Look what happened with Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen and how Dana laid the blame and heaped untold pressure on to Jones. He did this simply because it’s black and white in Dana’s mind. You’re a fighter. If the situation calls for it, you step up, it’s as fucking simple as that.

The fighter:

Now, there are many different types of situations, and I can’t go through every single one of them. So let’s stick with the Jon Jones situation. Of course, I’m not talking for Jon Jones–just where I think he was coming from by not taking the fight. Jones is at the top. He has fame, he’s making money, and rightly so. When he didn’t take the fight with Chael, who would be coming up a weight, and the UFC was canceled, a lot of people scratched their heads and went for the jugular with Jones. I mean, why not save the day, taking on a competitive, but smaller, fighter? He’d been training anyway, so just take the fight! But what people forget is that, once you’re at the top of the mountain, and you’ve gotten there through following a certain system, you don’t want to change that system. I believe in the case of Jon Jones that it was an unnecessary risk. It deviated from the system and therefore was a risk he and Greg Jackson weren’t willing to take. Jones wasn’t scared of fighting Chael…it was just unplanned. So, I guess the question is: when should you take a fight you haven’t fully prepared for? If you don’t step up, are you not a really a fighter? This is a very personal question which each fighter who is in that situation has to answer.

My opinion:

Where to start….I’ve looked at both points of view, and I can see valid points on both sides. At the end of the day, Dana White is looking at it from a promoter’s point of view. Of course he wants fighters to step up. He wants to put the best show possible on. And Jon Jones is looking at it from his point of view. Why should he take unnecessary risks? I look at it like this: as a rule, mixed martial artists aren’t scared to fight other mixed martial artists. If they are, then they’ve chosen the wrong profession. What fighters are scared of is stepping up, taking the fight on short notice, losing, and getting cut (I’m speaking in general here, not about the Jones/Chael fight). I think this is the problem with the UFC–the upside doesn’t weigh out the potential downside of losing your job. I haven’t fought for the UFC, but from being around the MMA world and knowing a lot of people it seems very dog eat dog. That’s great to a point, but when competition is so fierce, stepping up and losing while making Dana happy for the time being is risky. How long is his memory? How good is the memory of mma fans? This is why more and more fighters aren’t willing to take the risk. They know that they could only get one shot in the UFC and they have to be at their best to take advantage of that shot.

When I fought for Pride, they would change my opponent seemingly by the hour. It was just the way it was, and I know I wasn’t the only one. Were the fighters of Pride more braver, more fighter-like? No, of course not, but the difference was that in Pride, as long as you fought with all your heart and gave it your all, you’d be back to fight again. If you just fought to win, there was a strong possibility that you wouldn’t be back. The reverse is true in the UFC. I believe Dana can’t have it both ways. You can’t have fighters so fearful of their job security and then get mad when they don’t jump at the chance to take a fight at two weeks notice.

So, to wrap it up, I think if Dana and the UFC want more fighters to step up then they can’t have the threat of executioner’s axe resting on the fighters neck. Of course fighters can’t keep losing and expect to keep their position in the UFC, but I think that if you talk to most of the fighters in the UFC they will tell you that they fight constantly, surrounded by an air of uncertainty.

Thanks for reading, please remember to follow my blog to be updated on when the next one is out before it goes out on the social networking sites. If your on twitter you can find me @ https://twitter.com/JColossus or like my facebook page here http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/James-The-Colossus-Thompson/199137513465142 & finally I also write a NON MMA Blog here http://colossal-personal-concerns.com/ where I can free my mind and have a rant about all sorts of general topics.