Over the last few months The UFC has drawn big attendance and gate numbers, as well as gained mainstream coverage through many highly regarded websites. However, one problem that I have seen over the last few months that has really irked me is the submissions and strikes.
The submissions that the fighters put on each other are really hard to execute but when done properly can end a fight in an instant. Yet, when the opponent taps and the fight is over he should release the submission. In addition to that, when the opponent is out cold strikes are still rained down on. Yet over the last few months the fighters have continued to hold the submissions longer and deliver strikes more than they should be. This problem has really gotten to me and it finally came full circle at UFC 111.
At UFC 111 Rousimar Palhares and Tomasz Drwal battled each other in the octagon. Palhares got Drwal to the ground and put him into a very good heel hook submission. Drwal has no choice but to tap which he reluctantly did. Then 5 seconds after he tapped where Palhares was suppose to let go he didn't. He continued to crank on the heel and may have caused major damage to Drwal's leg.
This wasn't the first time I saw this happen in an UFC event and other past events had opponents raining strikes on a downed opponent who was clearly unconscious. . Joe Rogan was very animate about this and asked about the length of the hold after Drawl's tap. Palhares said that he didn't mean to hurt anybody and that he was following the rule of his camp not to break the hold until the ref proceeds too. Palhares was suspended for 90 days by the New Jersey Athletic Commission for the misconduct. Was 90 days really good suspension that fits the crime?
90 days is comparable to a 4 game suspension to a pitcher in baseball. A pitcher pitches every 5th game and 4 games don't affect him at all. Same goes to a UFC fighter if he is suspended for 90 days. It is very unlikely Palhares will be scheduled for a fight in the next 3 months unless he is an injury substitute. I don't see either scenario taking place. So Palhares won his fight, possibly put a fellow fighter for months and really came off scotch free. Something really needs to be put in place before fighters really have career ending injuries in a time of a fight that shouldn't happen at all.
I have a few ideas for The UFC but I hope already something is in development as this blog is posted.
I have seen over the years that many fights have gone the wrong way when strikes are involved. The opponents are clearly out cold and yet the fighters continue to get a few extra punches in before a ref jumps in. I really think the referees need to be brought in for a refresher course on when they need to jump in between the two fighters. I think another strong point is the positioning of the referees and where they can see the fighter if or when he is unconscious. There are plenty of very experienced referees already in The UFC but I really hope that training classes are going to be implemented. I hope to have an interview with a UFC referee soon regarding these points.
I don't know how the suspension works if it is a dual cooperation between The UFC and the Athletic Commission. But the 90 day suspension doesn't do justice for a fighter who could be out longer than just a few months if surgery is involved. Could The UFC fine the fighter a portion of his prize purse and suspend him for a time that they see fit? There has to be some sort of fine line of punishment because these injuries could continue to happen.
Some of these fighters come from all over the world and have come through different kind of fighting rules and many don't know the complete rules of The UFC. The rules I think need to be stressed by upper management and the rules committee because these injuries have become a more of a common occurrence. The fighters really need to learn the rules and know when to break the holds or recognize when their opponent is not conscious.
The argument some will say that the adrenaline is running and they want to finish the fight as quick as possible. They would close their eyes and not know what's going because of the adrenaline rush. Yet my opinion on that is the fighters need to know their surrounding and even though the adrenaline is running through the body there needs to be some sort of trigger to let go or stop their strikes.
This issue has finally become a problem not only in The UFC but other companies as well. I do want to see great fights like the next person but with the injuries happening that can be avoided. I hope something is addressed in the future from The UFC in regards to this very pressing issue and hope that if it does happen again something is done to open the eyes of fighters that possibly do it in the future.