Debate is an essential part of any sport for it’s fans. MMA is no different. The biggest debate that rages on between fans is whether or not kicking and kneeing grounded opponents in the head should be universally adopted amongst the world’s leading MMA organisations and in particular the UFC.
A lot of MMA fans that grew up watching PRIDE are in favour of the UFC adopting these rules.
I however am not one of those fans. I did not find MMA until about 5 years ago and became instantly hooked on every aspect of the sport. I have only seen PRIDE highlights and the odd event via the internet, this may affect my view.
One peculiar rule when judging whether or not a fighter is grounded is when they are still standing yet have one hand, or one finger on the ground. This apparently counts as being grounded, but that is another argument in itself.
With MMA struggling to gain mainstream acceptance in some parts of the globe I feel legalising the kicking and kneeing of grounded opponents would be a step backwards for the sport. Although I can accept and acknowledge the impact of PRIDE I believe its a practice that needs to stay out of MMA. Although some organisations like WFC in Slovenia use these rules I would like to see it eradicated from all MMA.
Most fans appreciate the skill set that each martial arts discipline brings to MMA. I do not see how there is much skill involved in kicking or kneeing a grounded opponent in the head. The real skill for me is getting your opponent in to such a position. The fact that wrestlers and judo practitioners can get someone in to such a position shows a tremendous amount of skill. From there a kick or knee seems unnecessary.
Here in Victoria we battle with the government to even have a cage for MMA events. The same is for Western Australia and unbelievably also New York. Their argument is that locking two fighters in a cage gives a barbaric image and that’s not something they want to be associated with. They seem to completely disregard the cage as a safety apparatus because the perception is more vital than competitor safety. When you are dealing with such a ridiculous opposition from the law makers, allowing kicks and knees to a grounded opponent only gives them more reason for concern.
Although MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world it still struggles to gain acceptance in some parts from the uneducated. Allowing the PRIDE rules is a step in the wrong direction in trying to gain this acceptance. Although maybe, in the future these rules could find a place, now is not the right time.
Blog by Aaron Wood @BlueSpur86