Bloody Elbow "Joe Silva Wants A Smaller UFC Cage"
I was reading this article at Bloody Elbow and it prompted me to salvage an old forum post.
Combat sports have always existed in the ring. MMA's cage is a recent deviation in that long history. But what have we taken from the ring? What do we love about the ring?
The ring is smaller than Zuffa's cage, and strikers have used the extra space to innovate combinations, chase strategies, etc. Why did Mirko CroCop fail in the cage? It's the effect of the cage's structure and scale. A big cage makes for more running in circles and less throwing of combinations. I'm not saying it doesn't take skill to win in the cage, but which gets more love from me? Of course, the surface which "combinations and chase strategy." There's more history, skill and maturation.
There are some things I prefer about the cage. In the ring, many fights are interrupted when the fighters reach the edge of the ring and either become entangled in the ropes or are restarted the referee. The cage generally means less need for referee intervention.
Knee strikes have a long history in fight sports. So why are knees to downed opponents banned in the unified rules? This is just my speculation, but I think it's the effect of the American commissions. The U.S. is known for its strong wrestling tradition, and knees to the head on the ground are risky for wrestlers.
There are fighters who wow us with soccer kicks and stops. I think it's hard to make casual fans understand that these techniques are safer than they look. We'll have to wait for people's understanding to catch up before these types of moves are allowed in the cage.
Elbow strikes have a long history, too. Why not adopt them in Japan? I think it's because the Japanese casual audience doesn't like to see blood.
I always wonder how much Vaseline being applied to the face really helps prevent cuts from elbow strikes. Because that's surely the purpose, but at the same time, the Vaseline may help nullify a submission fighter's game. I'm not sure if Vaseline is the best answer or not. On the other hand, Japanese organizations don't use Vaseline on the face. The reason is easy to understand: they've already banned elbows, and the lack of Vaseline ostensibly increases the chances for submissions.
What I think people need to understand is that some fights have to be stopped because of cuts. When you watch Muay Thai or kickboxing (which include elbows), you can see that fighters are proud to earn a TKO victory by cut. Evaluating elbows in MMA is difficult, though, since they're so easy to land on the ground. That's why I think the UFC allows the blood to pool, rather than opting for more early cut stoppages. It should be changed in the future, though.
original forum post 08/03/2008
I welcome your ideas about MMA rules and skill sets.
Big thanks to Chris Nelson (from Bloody Elbow) for English editing.