Re: This is actually not completely devoid of significance

1

I think it just points to the fact that he doesn't let reason get in the way of his judgments.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
2

Huh.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
3

It's a lot of things: that's the way it's gonna be because that's how John McCain wants it, you young punks; eh? what's this newfangled fighting?; let the old guy tell you how to live.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
4

I'm sympathetic to McCain's position, though I know it's crazy. MMA just seems so much more brutal than boxing, somehow. I can't believe no one has ever died. Instead, I choose to believe in a vast conspiracy that has hidden bodies as needed. In Thailand.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
5

re: 4

People have died. Perhaps not the US, but in other countries. There was a young British MMA guy died in a competition in Russia.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
6

4: Just consider the idea of a "knockout". MMA doesn't fetishize rendering someone unconscious, or the landing of lots of repetitive blows, and tends to determine that someone has lost a match much earlier into his process of physical deterioration.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
7

I suspect also, that deaths are only a matter of time. It's a new sport. In terms of man-ring-hours deaths are also fairly rare in boxing and I suspect that as the number of MMA contests and participants goes up, there'll be more deaths.

It's possible that MMA is less likely to lead to long term brain injury -- not so much pounding the head with heavily padded gloves -- but that's a different issue.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
8

4: that's probably right, but the pro-MMA position does have some superficial plausibility. The point about bare hands protecting the head is true; there are also lots of other incentives to avoid head punches. Since brain injuries are the big issue, that means more safety. On the other hand, the existence of Thai body pits undermines my argument.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
9

The deciderer writ large. Happily, MMA is increasingly popular among a demographic that (one has to assume) skews heavily Republican and heavily jingoistic, so I think he should keep at it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
10

As soon as MMA tournaments become a beloved fixture of military life, McCain will come around.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
11

From the little I've seen of boxing versus MMA competitions in America, 6 seems to grasp the difference for me. MMA fights are way shorter, a lot of body blows, and tend to be called once someone's down and taking a few blows in a row. It's not going to do the head damage of a typical protracted boxing match with loads of punches by each side for ten rounds.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
12

This is a big opportunity for the Democratic candidate in the general. "The party that fights for your right to headbutt."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
13

7.2: well, it's not really a different issue. Outside of traumatic brain injury how else are you going to die? Arguably a head-kick is a worse thing to have happen to you than a knockout punch, but you have to hit somebody pretty fucking hard to kill them with one blow.

4: that's just because you can't see the injuries: punching somebody repeatedly in the head is just about the most brutal thing you can do to them, and punching them repeatedly in the head after they've already been knocked out for a couple seconds and have a concussion is just insanely brutal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
14

I understand the argument that MMA is, all in all, about as dangerous as boxing. What's the argument that it's more dangerous, and thus needs to be banned?

Anyone care to defend McCain here?


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
15

10: they already have staged events on military bases, and the Army advertises heavily during MMA-related shows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
16

Then there are those of us for whom Emil Griffith is a forgotten hero.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
17

re: 13

I specifically said 'long term'. Boxing has a huge problem with cumulative brain damage. MMA possibly won't -- much less head contact. But in terms of in-ring deaths, it's acute brain injury [really that much less likely in MMA?] but also, in the case of MMA, the potential for neck fractures and other traumatic non-brain injuries.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
18

Probably worth noting that the Slate article Yggles links is from 1999, and MMA has developed lots more rules promoting fighter safety since then. I don't know whether McCain still supports banning it or not, but the UFC was a totally different beast when that article was written.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
19

8: Let me go further and say that I'm sympathetic to his response to Plotz. Arguments about the relative brutality of the two, at least in appearance, really are "Well, open your eyes and look motherfucker" arguments.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
20

14: I won't defend McCain on the issue, but it's worth mentioning that the Plotz article is nearly ten years old. If McCain still wants to ban MMA, he's clearly failed.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
21

Anyone care to defend McCain here?

MMA reminds him of the sinister practitioners of Vovinam, who have been biding their time and waiting to attack just as soon as Americans let their guards down. Literally. When we start dropping that left hand after a jab, it's going to be VCs swarming across the Mexican border and instituting a Chicom dictatorship. A good right cross is the only thing those people understand.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
22

18: true enough. Lots more broken eye orbitals and so on in those days.

19: except that appearances in this case will lead you astray, and if you don't care to hear when appearances are leading you astray, you might, e.g. bomb a country because it appears that it might be trying to do something it isn't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
23

There are only two kinds of fighting competitions I care about: Super Smash Brothers, and Batman versus Superman. Old Man McCain can ban everything else.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
24

There's a lot of evidence that boxing became significantly more dangerous at the end of the bare-knuckle era: not just the impact of padded gloves on brain injury, but also that a fighter could throw way more punches without suffering injury to his own hands. Plus as others have noted, post-Marquis of Queensbury rules in boxing, the knockout became the fetishized objective rather than an odd and atypical way to end a match.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
25

except that appearances in this case will lead you astray, and if you don't care to hear when appearances are leading you astray, you might, e.g. bomb a country because it appears that it might be trying to do something it isn't.

ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT ITALY ISN'T ALIGNING ITSELF TO STOMP ON OUR NEIGHBORS IN MALTA? WHY, LOOK AT THE TOP-SECRET SATELLITE MAPS!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SENATOR | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
26

How about it's all fucked-up and brutal and the fact that it's viewed as entertainment is just depressing.

Cue the "it's a sport like any other; you just don't understand" response.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
27

except that appearances in this case will lead you astray

"May," not "will." My suspicion is that the underlying data sucks, and the amount of study done on the issue is minimal. People are making assumptions in all sorts of directions here. And, if necessary, I can even gin up arguments that depend on the apparent brutality rather than the actual brutality.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
28

Oh great, a girl in the thread. Time to go home.

Which one is fucked-up and brutal, SirK? Boxing or MMA or both?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
29

I love MMA. For my money, it's head and shoulders more interesting than boxing has ever been.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
30

Both. See "all" above.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
31

But you're right that this is not my territory and there's no point to my sticking around.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
32

But Kraab, beating people into a pulp is why they call it the sweet science!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
33

I think McCain has since agreed that the rule changes have made it more acceptable. But he's still insane for thinking boxing is safer.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
34

I can't wait to get Super Smash Brothers for the Wii.

I should use "The existence of Thai body pits undermines my argument" in the chapter that begins "Why my interlocutor is a little bitch."

I haven't watched much MMA, but I've liked what I did watch. Boxing is cool, too. I think I just like fighting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
35

But you're right that this is not my territory and there's no point to my sticking around.

Please stick around; this thread was just about to get potentially interesting.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
36

For my money, it's head and shoulders more interesting than boxing has ever been.

This is the tragic result of the civil rights movement and your commitment to it, Apo. At the moment, at least, it's hard to argue that MMA is really just a bunch of white people watching two black guys beat the shit out of each other for the audience's amusement. It's pretty easy to make that argument about boxing. But the whole issue is a red herring! For what was the civil rights movement about if not the right for two black guys to freely choose to beat the shit out of each other for cash and the amusement of white guys?

Basically, you're too decent a guy to be trusted on this issue.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
37

Boxing isn't mostly black guys, SCMT. Lots of Soviets in the heavyweight division, Latinos in the middle, Latinos and Asians in the small divisions.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
38

It is interesting that boxing is dominated by African-Americans and Mexicans, while MMA is dominated by white guys and Brazilians.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
39

I had an apartment mate (around 1991) who loved to watch kickboxing (I'm not sure if they had MMA then) specifically because he thought people were more likely to die in the ring.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
40

You're forgetting watching a black guy beat the shit out of a white guy, Tim. Nothing sweeter in the world than watching Schmeling down on the canvas.

Smash Brothers is pretty good. Kind of confusing to me in a few places, as I never played Melee.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
41

38: well, and Japanese guys if you happen to go to Japan.

I think Cala and Sir Kraab should fight. For our amusement, obviously.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
42

Are they in the same weight class?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
43

39: 1. your roommate can't have been that clever if he thought that and 2. MMA isn't much like kickboxing at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
44

Lots of Soviets in the heavyweight division, Latinos in the middle, Latinos and Asians in the small divisions.

That's not boxing: that's some pale of imitation of it. It's "booxing" or something.

38: I sometimes wonder if that, quite understandably, isn't part of MMA's appeal. (To be clear, nothing at all wrong with that, as far as I'm concerned.)

My preference for boxing--of which I consume very, very, very little--is because I like the misses most. My sense--from very limited exposure--is that there are fewer misses in MMA. That might also drive my sense that MMA is more brutal.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
45

Cala's response ("I just like [watching] fighting") is the best one, yet arguments about this stuff are never carried on in those terms. Instead, in the case of both boxing and MMA we see efforts to moralize, aestheticize or generally civilize the event into some kind of art or science. This leads to the odd situation of extensive discussions about the safety of participants, quasi-artistic analysis of the many and varied skills involved, emphasis on the tactical aspect of the sport and how "interesting" it is to watch, etc. When of course at root it's just that many people find it really entertaining to watch a couple of guys beat the shit out of each other.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
46

At the moment in the UFC, there is one African-American champion, two Brazillian champions, a Hawaiian champion, and some white guy from Canada. All very handily beating the shit out of white guys.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
47

Please stick around; this thread was just about to get potentially interesting.

Nah, it's really not, not from me, anyway. My entire argument is: I hate violence. I hate it in real life, in movies, in video games, in kids' games, in a box, with a fox, I do not like it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
48

Soviets in the heavyweight division

It *is* odd how much the HW division has become the province of Eastern Europeans. The top 10 right now:
1. Wladimir Klitschko
2. Samuel Peter (Nigeria)
3. Ruslan Chagaev
4. Nicolay Valuev
5. Alexander Povetkin
6. Sultan Ibragimov
7. Oleg Maskaev
8. Vladimir Virchis
9. Tony Thompson
10. John Ruiz

Only one African-American, Thompson, on the list. And that John Ruiz is still somehow ranked in the top 10 shows how decimated the division really is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
49

Of course, that's not to say there isn't a very strong fan base for the white former champions, probably for unsavory reasons.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
50

OT: Chicagoans might want to check this out. I'd go if I didn't live in Durham. Then again, I'm pretty square, so be warned.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
51

How about it's all fucked-up and brutal and the fact that it's viewed as entertainment is just depressing.

I think a big difference between sports people and non-sports people is how brutal they percieve a physical injury to be. Not as an objective pain quotient - they'd agree that having your arm broken is really painful. But, "Is it that bad to be in a lot of pain?" For sports people and sports-related injuries, a lot of times the answer is "no."

For me, the difference is mental. There's no associated loss of life autonomy associated with most injuries, there's usually a predictable time scale of when you can return to the game, and there's no emotional loss of control that another person or circumstance inflicted the injury upon you.

For me, this makes enduring a sports-related injury a pain in the ass, but part of the game - not brutal.

Let's limit my argument to nice wholesome sports. I've never watched Ultimate Fighting Champion.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
52

At the moment in the UFC, there is one African-American champion, two Brazillian champions, a Hawaiian champion, and some white guy from Canada. All very handily beating the shit out of white guys.

No fucking facts! It's cheating! What are you, new here?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
53

45: well geez nobody asked why we like MMA. "But I like fighting" is not a very good answer to "should it be banned".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
54

Canadians are not white?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
55

Canadians are not white?

Look at our representative Unfogged sample, John.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
56

Also, 50% of Canadians are thought to be gay metalheads.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
57

As to whether it should be banned: let the data decide. What do the injury rates look like? Is it worse than other sports?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
58

51: yeah I think that's an excellent point. For me, pain in and of itself is more annoying than no pain, but as long as it goes away eventually it's not a big deal, so enduring something occasionally painful in exchange for something consistently awesome seems like a valid tradeoff.

That said, there are aspects of the life of MMA fighters as actually lived that make me a bit uncomfortable, but that goes for athletes in plenty of other sports, not to mention dancers, professional musicians, and prostitutes, as well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
59

57: no.

I say that as the data's authorized representative.

Actually for a long time I've wanted to make a list of all the other sports and activities with higher injury rates than MMA, just to tweak people. Equestrian jumping, ballet, field hockey, etc. etc.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
60

Competitive prostitution? how would you even score that?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
61

60: there's a panel of judges.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
62

I don't know about 51, heebie. I danced with blood pooling into my pointe shoes, I've been clocked in the head by someone else going for the soccer ball, I've wrassled painfully with friends and family, but I've never, ever taken a deliberate punch. Fighting as a sport seems to have the pain as the *point*, which just makes it seem really unpleasant to me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
63

60: If you don't already know, you can't play. Stick with teaching.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
64

Actually for a long time I've wanted to make a list of all the other sports and activities with higher injury rates than MMA, just to tweak people. Equestrian jumping, ballet, field hockey, etc. etc.

Word.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
65

Competitive prostitution? how would you even score that?

Scoring criteria is based on effective striking and grappling, overall ring control, and effective aggressiveness/defense.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
66

62: the point is to not get hit, JM. The other person gets punched; you avoid it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
67

Fighting as a sport seems to have the pain as the *point*, which just makes it seem really unpleasant to me.

Is experiencing physical pain, in the absence of any emotional conflict and with an expectation of a fairly timely recovery, that bad? Is it okay that the point is infliction of (reasonable*) pain?

I don't necessarily know my answer, but it's reasonable to me that there are two sides.

* murky, murky "reasonable"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
68

64: "Equestrian jumping, ballet, field hockey": there's no chance we'd like those people, is there? So apples and oranges.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
69

re: 62

Pain as a point depends a lot on the rule set being fought under.

There's a lot of martial arts/fight-sport competition going on that doesn't. In pro-boxing or MMA, of course, disabling your opponent is the point. But there's a whole other spectrum of stuff going on that doesn't. Ranging all the way from kids' TKD tournaments, to light-contact fighting for adults, judo or some forms of wrestling, etc.

I was judging at a kickboxing* competition at the weekend and anyone going all out to hurt or disable their opponent would have been penalised.

* s/a vate, really.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
70

66: I think JM's point is that in the other sports she mentions, injury is possible but incidental to the activity taking place; in boxing and other fighting sports, injuring and getting injured are what the game is all about.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
71

59: The severity should be taken into account, too. Stress fractures would be preferable to brain damage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
72

Is experiencing physical pain, in the absence of any emotional conflict and with an expectation of a fairly timely recovery, that bad?

I expect we'll see this mooted in public a fair bit, as we work through the Spitzer thing.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
73

There should be a professional sport centered around noogies.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
74

The other person gets punched; you avoid it.

"gets punched"---Holy lacuna! You and the other person are wailing away on each other!

I dunno. It's possible to sort of tweak my worldview to imagine a self that could work itself up into a fit of violence. In this world, though, I've got too much Christian ballast.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
75

69: let alone Jiu-Jitsu tournaments.

70: that isn't exactly true. Except at the highest levels, even boxing is more about scoring points than actually injuring somebody. MMA is the same way: winning by submission is more about proving that you could injure somebody if the fight were stopped than about actually injuring them. Even knockouts (at least MMA-style knockouts, which are very different from boxing's ten-count) are more about showing that, were the fight to continue, the other person would be unable to stop you from incapacitating them. Certainly the idea is that everybody involved should be able to fight again soonish.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
76

74.1: see, I think part of this is the failure to think of wailing away on each other as something that can be done as a manifestation of high-spirited good fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
77

From my own, non-sports-loving point of view, I've never seen the attraction to watching other people beat each other to a pulp. To me it's just dogfighting on a larger scale, or a snuff film on a smaller one. And I know that some primordial lizard brain part of me is supposed to respond to that kind of violence and get really jazzed on it, but another primordial part of my brain clicks with the people beating on each other and connects with them and panics because holy shit, that could be me up there, and I want them to stop.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
78

54: Did I mention he's French-Canadian? Not someone the rednecks would typically rally around.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
79

Ironically, 77 describes how I feel watching people drown in un-winnable arguments. It's very depressing, and I simultaneously get riled up and yet want everyone to dis-arm and part ways ASAP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
80

75: I think we're using different definitions of the word "injure" here.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
81

77: the key is to imagine yourself the winner. Then the lizard brain gets all excited.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
82

Certainly the idea is that everybody involved should be able to fight again soonish.

This guy's probably got a long wait ahead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
83

On my one date with a MMA semi-pro, he tried to describe how it really wasn't about beating the shit out of people. Then, as I asked him about how he'd gotten into the sport, he explained how his older brother had died and his friends had gone into gangs and he needed an outlet for his rage. ... The gulf between us just got wider and deeper.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
84

81: See, I don't want the lizard brain to win.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
85

Eggplant hasn't met enough French-Canadian rednecks.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
86

78: I think it should be more publicized when Canadian people who spoke no English when they were growing up become famous.

Phillies third-string catcher Pierre-Luc LaForest, for example.

(I wish it was LaForêt...but it isn't)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
87

80: you can get submitted without getting injured, for any definition of injure. You can get submitted without being in any pain whatsoever, if that's the definition you're using (which is a weird definition. Is jogging injurious? Is Yoga?).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
88

I submit that 500+ comment threads on gender relations are as brutal as anything I've ever seen in MMA.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
89

it really wasn't about beating the shit out of people. ... his older brother had died and his friends had gone into gangs and he needed an outlet for his rage.

See, if he were nerdier he'd be trolling blogs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
90

FWIW, despite training (and competing crappily) in a martial sport, I'm not a big fan of MMA and a fair number of other martial arts as a spectator. I can understand why a lot of people find it a turn off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
91

On my one date with a MMA semi-pro

You're so awesome. How many people can open up with that clause? Other than that whore Labs?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
92

82: yeah that might take a while.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
93

People, if you're turned off by the violence, try focusing on the blatant homoeroticism instead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
94

you can get submitted without getting injured, for any definition of injure.

If I punch you, I've injured you. Does that meet your definition of "injure"?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
95

79 to 88.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
96

isn't it "whaling on" rather than "wailing on"?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
97

My understanding is that every knockout brings some permanent brain damage, that it's cumulative, and that in big-time boxing knockouts are like the long bomb, the home run, and the slam dunk. It's what you go to see, what makes a boxer famous, what puts him a Hall of Famer, etc. (Or her!!!)

I used to know a punch-drunk ex-boxer, and I also once knew a regional contender (fought against Denny Moyer) who quit and had his younger brothers quit after he'd read up on the health effects.

So boxing's pretty bad. Fit it into the above arguments where appropriate.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
98

92: Both the tibia and the fibula. I've always kinda wondered why that sort of injury wasn't more common, especially in muay thai.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
99

96.---Hmmmph! Maybe.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
100

96: Yes, Kobe! Yes!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
101

96: yes.

94: no. If a five-year-old punches you in the arm, are you injured?

93: you make a good point.

98: because Muay Thai fighters all weigh like 8 pounds and train by kicking each other in the shins all day? I tell you what's a disturbing fighting event: a Muay Thai undercard in Thailand. 90 pound 12 year olds kicking each other in the head while drunk men in their thirties bet on them and egg them on? DO NOT WANT.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
102

96: No!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
103

102: a lot of the uses of "wailing on" are in a musical context, such as when preceded by "Yngwie Malmsteen" and followed by "his axe".

On the other hand, a lot of the uses of "whaling on" are in a whaling context.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
104

re: 101

One of my club mates was fighting a little kid on Sunday. 13 years old. Light-contact, though. Just for 'fun' as the kid wanted to fight and this club mate of mine was the only person there remotely in his weight range. He did feel pretty awkward about it even though the kid was whaling away at him and he was just tapping him.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
105

If a five-year-old punches you in the arm, are you injured?

Oh, give me a break, Sifu. The people in those fights are not punching with the strength of five-year-olds. Like I said, we have different definitions of what constitutes an injury.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
106

you make a good point

The guys I watch UFC with are all gay. Most of them aren't quite sure what the appeal is for straight men.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
107

103: Better evidence, both qualitatively and quantitatively.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
108

105: the point is that not all punches constitute an injury. A punch can hurt and still not injure you. If it leaves a bruise? Sure, that's an injury. Scoring in boxing is not dependent on injury, and if you're in a weight class or event wear (1) headgear is worn and (2) points decide bouts (like, say, if you're an olympic boxer) you might not even be trained to hit hard enough to injure somebody, because it's better to punch quickly and get the point.

Now, obviously pro boxers and strikers in MMA are often trying to injure each other (though not always; sometimes you're punching just to get the other person off balance and set something else up) but let's just be clear that it is neither always or inevitably the point of the exercise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
109

I get 4420 hits for "wailing on this guy" (in quotes) and 6 for "whaling on this guy".


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
110

10

Clearly the MMA lobby should try out something like this this (after the English Longbow):

"Whereas the people of our realm, rich and poor alike, were accustomed formerly in their games to practise mixed martial arts - whence by God's help, it is well known that high honour and profit came to our realm, and no small advantage to ourselves in our warlike enterprises... that every man in the same country, if he be able-bodied, shall, upon holidays, make use, in his games, of steel-caged octagons... and so learn and mixed martial arts."


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
111

43: My roommate was a knuckle dragging moron.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
112

Fruther to 104, I felt (and still feel) a bit embarrassed [I was cornering the fight] yelling "he's dropped his guard, go for the head" and getting a dirty look from a spectator [who probably didn't know that the guy was really holding back].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
113

yelling "he's dropped his guard, go for the head"

that's hilarious. punk kids! anyway, it'd teach him to keep his guard up.

MMA is awesome, by the way. We're a curious people, and there's a hundred martial arts forms and we all want to know what's best, what's real, and what's BS.

There's been a lot of discussion about pain here, but that's a subjective experience. And what "harm" is done by pain varies. Some kid may be harmed a lot by the pain of a punch. I might not be harmed at all by the pain of 10 punches.

just because you don't understand it doesn't mean that people don't enjoy it. it's like gay sex that way. And just as it would be total BS to make an argument like "when i see gay sex, i can't help but imagine myself in that position and wishing it would stop!" I think it's unsympathetic to make that argument about MMA.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
114

just because you don't understand it doesn't mean that people don't enjoy it. it's like gay sex that way.

Thanks, this puts it into perspective. I might just change my mind. Different strokes, you know.


Posted by: John McCain | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
115

when i see gay sex, i can't help but imagine myself in that position and wishing it Labs would stop by!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
116

MMA is awesome, by the way. We're a curious people, and there's a hundred martial arts forms and we all want to know what's best, what's real, and what's BS.

Not to kindle a whole new argument, but the idea that MMA tournaments are the single best way to settle those questions is equally BS. They can certainly expose some of the more absurd claims made, but they have their own rule sets and the most you can say is that 'under rule set $foo, the following stuff seems more effective than this other bunch of stuff'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
117

the key is to imagine yourself the winner. Then the lizard brain gets all excited.

I know this is a joke but it doesn't fully capture the appeal of sports like boxing.
Part of the appeal is resillience of the participants. That's why you have standing 10 counts in boxing instead of just ending the fight the moment a fighter goes down. There's something appealing about a guy who can take a beating and keep on going. Similar to how we laud football players who "play through the pain".

And it's not just about being a spectator. Getting hit can be pretty fun, as long as there's no permanent injury involved.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
118

I think McCain has been fighting MMA sanctioning for close to 20 years now, and was successful preventing sanctioning when there were no rounds, no holds barred, and fights could not end in a decision. This is when Dana White took over and instituted various safeguards and turned the sport into what it is today, which is really closer to wrestling than boxing.

Also, getting a little premature with the "Hawaiian champion." I think that belt is currently held by a white guy, Sean "the Muscle Shark" Sherk, who will fight the Hawaiian in a few months.


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
119

118: No, Sherk was stripped of the title in December after testing positive for steroids. Penn holds it officially.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
120

Huh, how'd I miss that? Makes the fight in May that much more interesting.


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
121

but they have their own rule sets and the most you can say is that 'under rule set $foo, the following stuff seems more effective than this other bunch of stuff'.

fair enough, but their rules aren't that restrictive. Leaving out the gloves and allowing small-joint-manipulation might allow for some more subtle fighters to engage more effectively.

And there are a number of rules that disadvantage serious brutality like eye gouging, kicking the kidneys, or striking the back of the head.

But, for the purposes of non-lethal combat, it seems pretty good. I know you said you wanted to avoid another argument, but I'm interested. Any specific objections about rules of (let's stick with the UFW for simplicity) disadvantageous for certain martial arts?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
122

We're a curious people, and there's a hundred martial arts forms and we all want to know what's best, what's real, and what's BS.

The MMA doesn't address this question because it doesn't limit each competitor to only using techniques from a certain discipline. I think the lesson of MMA has been that in order to be successful you have to be skilled at a number of different disciplines (although having some BJJ training seems to be necessary).


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
123

Anyway, that fight will be a mere formality, as Penn will once again demonstrate his dominance by wealing away at Sherk.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
124

I'd rather they didn't allow elbows in the UFC, as it's too easy to open a bad cut that way and win a fight you'd otherwise lose.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
125

124: there's so many useful elbow strikes, though. At some point you have to accept that people will get cut sometimes.

Of course, I'm okay with head strikes on the ground, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
126

Knees to the head, you mean?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
127

isn't it "whaling on" rather than "wailing on"?

Yes.

Though one can also wale someone.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
128

I think the lesson of MMA has been that in order to be successful you have to be skilled at a number of different disciplines (although having some BJJ training seems to be necessary).

the Gracie family called, they want their marketing material back. This stopped being true about five years ago (basically when loads of NCAA wrestlers started coming into the sport).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
129

so many useful elbow strikes, though

Oh absolutely. And getting cut is part of the fight game. I just hate to see fights get stopped due to that, since it doesn't really indicate that one guy outfought the other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
130

Is the MMA theme song still "Head, Shoulders to Knees and toes, knees and toes"?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
131

re: 121

Well, speaking for my own martial art, which relies on wearing shoes, there's pretty much no MMA venue that would allow someone to go in and do it as it's meant to be done. Ditto match ups with other forms of kickboxing, thai boxers, etc which, when they happen, almost always bar shoes.*

Not that I'm making some claim for the amazingness of my own style, just pointing out that there are restrictions. Add in the fact that the ring/arena has a padded floor, and you are creating an artificial situation. Less artificial than others, perhaps, and interesting for what it allows. But it's not really true to say that it's some ideal BS filter.

* and, to be fair, also tend to disallow elbows and knees which disadvantages the thai types.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
132

the Gracie family called, they want their marketing material back. This stopped being true about five years ago (basically when loads of NCAA wrestlers started coming into the sport).

No, it stopped being true when people realized that the only way to beat the Royce Gracie was to train in BJJ and learn how to defend against it. Everyone trains BJJ now because even if you don't plan on trying to end it with an arm-bar you need to know how to defend against them.


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
133

Leaving out the gloves and allowing small-joint-manipulation might allow for some more subtle fighters to engage more effectively.

not just subtle fighters; complete thugs would have much more of a fighters' chance against grapplers if they could peel them off finger by finger.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
134

BJJ = Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu? Blowjob Jousting?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
135

Back to McCain, I'm looking forward to reading this sentence

Then he cut our interview short and stormed out of his office
many more times as November approaches.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
136

Everyone trains BJJ now

just absolutely and obviously empirically untrue if you are using "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu" to refer to the various trademarked brands which use those words. If you're using it to refer more generally to amazingly generic wrestling and judo techniques then (well, then my remarks about Grace family marketing material stand) then maybe yes, but I mean really - they have armbars in wrestling these days, did you hear?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
137

OT: White people are embarrassing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
138

133: eh it's not like they grab your lapel with pinkies extended.

134: bit of both.

136: wrestling has the guard, then?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
139

they have armbars in wrestling these days, did you hear

Do they? I am pretty sure they don't in any collegiate wrestling I have ever seen.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
140

137.---Oh god, it's too painful to watch.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
141

There is one other point against the UFC: none of them has ever had to face the Undertaker.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
142

Everyone eventually faces the Undertaker, Michael, as you'd have learned if the reading group hadn't collapsed.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
143

The skills known to those who do exclusively Greco-Roman or Freestyle wrestling are not sufficient to handle the ground game in MMA. Of course, submission grappling techniques are common to various arts (BJJ, catch wrestling, Sambo, Judo), but the curriculum studied and techniques used by most fighters resembles BJJ with its emphasis on guard play, positional hierarchy and position before submission mindset.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
144

141: Brock Lesnar has.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
145

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu does have an annoying amount of propoganda associated with it, though.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
146

145: yup. And given the performance of (e.g.) Oleg it's not like they don't have their own vulnerabilities, even grappling-wise. But to say that you can get by in MMA without learning any BJJ techniques is pretty much silly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
147

just absolutely and obviously empirically untrue if you are using "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu" to refer to the various trademarked brands which use those words.

Not that Wikipedia is the arbiter for what is true, but I think this passage is fairly accurate:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the 1990s, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Royce Gracie won the first, second and fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships, which at the time were single elimination martial arts tournaments.[3] Royce fought against often much-larger opponents who were practicing other styles, including boxing, shoot-fighting, karate, judo, tae kwon do and wrestling. It has since become a staple art for many MMA fighters and is largely credited for bringing wide-spread attention to the importance of ground fighting.

Nogueira - BJJ black belt
Silva - BJJ black belt
St. Pierra - has trained under Renzo Gracie his entire career and has a brown belt
Penn - trained under Ralph Gracie and was the first non-brazilian to win a gold medal at the championship in Brazil
That leaves Jackson as the only current title-holder who isn't know for his BJJ skills. But you can bet he "rolls jiu jitsu" quite a bit in practice.

I think it is fairly uncontroversial that BJJ has had an enormous impact on MMA.


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
148

146: Yeah. In general, BJJers need to concentrate on takedowns and takedown defence now that wrestlers are getting better at avoiding submissions while maintaining top position (due to their own BJJ training!).
147: I believe Jackson's comment after beating Dan Henderson was "You guys didn't think that I know Joo Jit Soo."


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
149

144. I had no idea he'd joined the UFC. that's awesome.

When will UFC allow tag-team?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
150

He only lasted a minute and a half in his debut against Frank Mir (submission by kneebar).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
151

A momentarily lapse brought on by confusion when he was trying to find the STEEL CHAIR.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
152

I did not know this about Lesner (from Wiki):

He also has a sword tattooed on his chest which has a mushroom-like tip that makes it resemble a penis, hence his mma nickname (since he got the tattoo right before his mma debut) Brock "The Cock" Lesnar. He was sued by gay pornstar Jacques "the cock" Boudreau for copyright infingement. The lawsuit is ongoing and is expected to make it all the way to the supreme court since neither party will relinquish the title.


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
153


The skills known to those who do exclusively Greco-Roman or Freestyle wrestling are not sufficient to handle the ground game in MMA. Of course, submission grappling techniques are common to various arts (BJJ, catch wrestling, Sambo, Judo), but the curriculum studied and techniques used by most fighters resembles BJJ with its emphasis on guard play, positional hierarchy and position before submission mindset.

It seems probable that a good wrestler could be become good at MMA, but here is the fundamental difference b/w wrestling and MMA:

In wrestling, you don't want your back facing the mat.

In MMA, you don't want your back facing your opponent.

When I think through all the wrestling moves I know, quite a few of them are very inappropriate for MMA. On the other hand, the sense of balance and leverage of force you develop through wrestling would probably be very helpful in learning to be good at grappling for MMA.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
154

One of Yglesias's commentators points out that the rule changes to ultimate fighting have changed McCain's opinion somewhat:

"They have cleaned up the sport to the point, at least in my view, where it is not human cockfighting any more. I think they've made significant progress. They haven't made me a fan, but they have made progress," McCain tells NPR.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
155

Looks like "The Cock" fighting is now in the legal arena.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
156

153: Wrestling is a great base for MMA, as the better wrestler decides if the fight remains standing or goes to the ground, and they have excellent top control, but they do need to break habits.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
157

But to say that you can get by in MMA without learning any BJJ techniques is pretty much silly.

straw man much? (and "the guard" is from judo, as is a great deal of the rest of Brazilian [tm] Jiu [tm] jitsu[tm].

After all, absolutely nobody in MMA doesn't punch with a closed fist, so I therefore conclude that all MMA is basically boxing with a few other bits and pieces.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
158

After all, absolutely nobody in MMA doesn't punch with a closed fist, so I therefore conclude that all MMA is basically boxing with a few other bits and pieces.

Did you really just write this after accusing someone else of a strawman? No one claimed MMA was BBJ "with a few other pieces." The original claim was what MMA has shown is that you have to be proficient in multiple disciplines to be successful, with the aside that training in BJJ seems to be mandatory at this point.

And sure, BJJ was derived from Judo, which was derived from jiu jitsu. Don't see how that is relevant. Judo is also a relatively recent development, but I guess the guy who devloped it didn't trademark the name and market it aggressively so it qualifies as a real martial art (I think that is your point).


Posted by: Grumps the Lawyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
159

Clearly you all need to run out in a couple of weeks to see Never Back Down, the inspiring teen movie about lives transformed through the power of mixed martial arts!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
160

with the aside that training in BJJ seems to be mandatory at this point.

except that it isn't, unless you're going to redefine "Training in BJJ" as referring very generically indeed, which seems rather rough on the Gracie family who do (despite my jokes about their marketing material) have a trademark to defend.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
161

Their trademark is GJJ, or Gracie Jiu Jitsu. You're right that BJJ is only a subset of submission grappling styles, but it's easily the most prevalent and historically significant. And its necessity has not been outmoded by collegiate wrestlers.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
162

"Making an attempt to fit in, at the invitation of a flirtatious classmate, Baja (Amber Heard), Jake goes to a party where he is unwittingly pulled into a fight with a bully named Ryan McDonald (Cam Gigandet). While he is defeated and humiliated in the fight, a classmate introduces himself to Jake and tells him about the sport known as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). He sees a star in Jake and asks that he meet with his mentor, Jean Roqua, played by Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, In America). It is immediately apparent to Jake that MMA is not street fighting, but rather an art form he wants to master."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
163

160: I'm not worried about the Gracie family. Training for fighting from the guard, including the emphasis on sweeps, choke defense from the guard, use of the half guard, and in general the emphasis on passing the guard: these are products of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which the Gracies were (a) very good at and (b) there for the beginning of. If it weren't for them people wouldn't be studying these things, and insofar as everybody who fights MMA does study these things you can, yes, say that everybody who fights MMA needs to know some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The fact that these techniques are now part of the generic, base standard skills needed to compete at a high level is a testament to how useful they are, but doesn't say anything about how generic they were 20 years ago, when pretty much the only people teaching ground fighting had last names starting with G, ending with e, and having "raci" somewhere in the middle.

Ask a wrestler in 1991 to go up against a gracie (and people did!) and the wrestler would hold their own until they got the Gracie pretty well pinned, and then they would have nowhere to go, and eventually they would get tired and lose the fight. This happened many times in the early days of the UFC.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
164

re: 163

I don't think that's strictly true. It might have been true in specifically MMA contexts, but judo guys were training exactly those sorts of ground techniques. In a different context, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
165

This has probably been linked to already, but in case it hasn't:

www.howmanyfiveyearoldscouldyoutakeinafight.com


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
166

but judo guys were training exactly those sorts of ground techniques.

Yeah, they've been at it forever. Masahiko Kimura beat Helio Gracie, Kazushi Sakuraba beat both Royce, Royler, and Renzo along with a number of other high level Gracie students, Kiyoshi Tamura also beat Renzo, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 7:09 PM
horizontal rule
167

What are Obama's and Hillary's positions on MMA? Who is the MMA-friendliest candidate?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
168

Obama's long limbs would give him a considerable advantage both in striking and grappling, but you just know that Hillary is the sort to strike to the back of the head.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
169

And then she would try to deny she did it.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
170

Only a sexist would protest strikes to the back of the head.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
171

Look, if Obama wasn't black, he wouldn't even be in the position to get hit in the back of the head.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
172

He's very fortunate to be the MMA fighter he is.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
173

Obama would be in a bind -- he would lose tons of support and votes if he hit a girl. But men love a kick-ass martial arts girl, especially if she dresses in skimpy clothes, so Hillary could gain votes by fighting well. Especially if she does a really cool flying kick or something.

I see Obama fighting a basically defensive fight, picking his moment for a takedown and then sitting on top of her until time expires. She gets red-faced and hysterical while flailing from the bottom.

Much like the campaign, in other words.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
174

That was a well-structured joke.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
175

Who is the MMA-friendliest candidate?

Huckabee.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 11:59 PM
horizontal rule
176

Current headline on CNN Politics (don't ask what I was doing there):

'Raw Politics': Can McCain summon the Suburblicans?

I imagine him cackling over his cauldron as he adds a generous handful of raw politics.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-16-08 9:51 AM
horizontal rule