Mixed Martial Arts
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By In Mixed Martial Arts

A Call for Recalibration

“No line of work is without its own brand of bulls—.

It’s ironic that, despite the celebratory status of puritan work ethic, the Good Book states that the very concept of work was created as a form of punishment. Even the evolutionary necessity of work — the idea that we must work in order to survive — doesn’t really apply to humankind anymore; we’re so ahead on the species power rankings that survival on a macro scale is no longer a pressing issue.

Yet for whatever reason, there is something essential to our being that demands work, and even craves it. Idleness is the devil’s workshop, as it goes, and prolonged periods of no work can unhinge the mind and divorce us from what it means to be human in powerful ways. That makes it all the more strange that we can’t seem to help ourselves from polluting this inescapable, vital thing with political B.S.

The world of mixed martial arts has been brimming with it lately. Whether it’s fighter pay, the ever-growing demands of so-called “independent contractors,” including how much they’re allowed to weigh after weighing in, or the potential sale of the largest MMA organization on the planet, these stories have dominated the landscape of fighting as much — if not more — than the actual fights…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Putting Out Heavyweight Fires

“Wherever you are right now as you read this, look around. Take mental notes on the layout of the room, where the furniture is, where the windows and doors are and so on. Most likely you’re at a place you’ve been before, and if an emergency were to break out, you’d be confident and deft at finding your way to safety quickly. Visualize how you’d slink down the hall and to the stairs, cutting familiar angles on your way to the reprieve of the street. No sweat, right?

Let’s try again, only now the building is engulfed in flames. You can’t see anything because the smoke is thick enough to block out whatever light there is. You’re on your hands and knees to utilize the little remaining visibility, feeling the edges around you to compensate for the functional loss of your primary sense. This also helps to partially avoid the searing heat billowing up all around you. As sweat pools on your skin, it instantaneously turns to a scalding vapor. Your blood vessels dilate to try and regulate the increasing temperature of your body. The fire surrounds you physically and psychologically; you try to cover your face, but it still seeps into your mouth and nose, causing you to cough up fumes like the exhaust of an old car. The room around you splinters crackles and groans as if an invisible enemy is descending upon you from all sides, turning what was once a familiar room into a jungle gym of danger. Time slows; your heart pounds; your fingers tremble with adrenaline; panic fogs your thinking the same way the smoke clouds the room; you hurriedly pull at the door handle to escape.

Now imagine you’re trying to go into the room…”

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic Statistical Matchup Analysis

“The wait is over.

After claiming the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight belt against Cain Velasquez in June, Fabricio Werdum was set to rematch the man he beat for the title at UFC 196 in February. When Velasquez was forced to pull out with an injury, Stipe Miocic was chosen as a late replacement, yet the matchup was postponed once Werdum pulled out with a back injury. Now, all the pieces have fallen in to place, and Werdum will fight Miocic at UFC 198 this Saturday in his native country of Brazil. “Vai Cavalo” will be defending his belt for the first time, as well as fighting for the first time this year. He has won six fights in a row, and he has not lost in the UFC since 2008.

In the opposite corner, Ohio-native Miocic will look to extend his two-fight winning streak and notch what would easily be the biggest victory of his career. He was last seen in January at UFC 195, where he dusted former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski in under a minute. Prior to that, he put a world-class drubbing on the resurgent Mark Hunt in May 2015, smashing the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner for four and a half rounds before he found the TKO win. Since debuting in the UFC in 2011, the part-time firefighter has steadily built one of the best resumes in the heavyweight division.

Let us see what the Tale of the Tape has to say about the matchup…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Costs of Control

“Over the weekend, a video surfaced of UFC President Dana White giving a business seminar at Stanford University. In the clip, White discussed why he believed boxing is declining while MMA is on the rise. To him, it’s simple: “[Boxing] has become so greedy. Nobody was ever thinking about the future of the sport. It’s about how much money we can we all put in our pocket right here right now.”

White expounded by posing a hypothetical scenario in which everyone in the room was guaranteed to earn $37 million that year, no matter what: “Guess what you’re gonna do? Not much.” In contrast, the Ultimate Fighting Championship incentivizes its fighters with bonuses, which in turn encourage fighters to perform better. For most fighters, the pay structure is a mixture of a guaranteed fight purse, a bonus for winning and potential bonuses for finishes and performances of the night. This, according to White, is the secret behind the UFC’s success.

Let’s investigate that…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Many Faces of Pound for Pound

“For the most part, all went according to plan at UFC 197 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Four out of five betting favorites on the main card won comfortably, and the only upset — Edson Barboza’s win over Anthony Pettis — was the closest betting line of the night. At a closer look, how the favorites went about winning led to both pleasant and unpleasant surprises, namely how Yair Rodriguez and Demetrious Johnson won easier than expected while Robert Whittaker and Jon Jones took longer than anticipated. Overall, though, it was what we thought it would be.

As such, the post-fight atmosphere didn’t offer much in the way of new information. Jones will go on to fight Daniel Cormier as was originally planned; Johnson is still untouchable at flyweight; and Barboza, Whittaker and Rodriguez are still at varying points on the continuum of prospects and potential title contenders.

The absence of buzz was probably due to a mixture of things: the ongoing tug-o-war between Conor McGregor and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the lost luster of a Cormier-less headliner and the fact that the substitute main event was a dud of a fight. Whatever it was, the discussion after the fight centered on the mythical pound-for-pound rankings, specifically who deserved the number one spot between Jones and Johnson.

It goes without saying that pound-for-pound rankings are a little silly. To be fair, the entire light heavyweight belt situation is pretty silly right now, and that doesn’t seem to stop people from taking it seriously. There’s no need to be That Guy in the movie theater reminding everybody that what they’re watching isn’t real..”

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