Is wrestling taking martial arts out of MMA?

by Michael Schiavello | source:

Is Wrestling Taking the Martial Arts out of Mixed Martial Arts?

Is American wrestling stalling the progress of Mixed Martial Arts? Some fans think so, and after some recent matches in particular, arguments are rife that wrestlers are killing the aesthetics of the sport.

Every MMA fan, commentator and reporter has found themselves in a discussion as to who are the best fighters to watch, which is different from a discussion about who are the best fighters period. Being one of the best fighters to watch does not necessarily equate to being one of the best fighters in terms of winning accomplishments.

Take Melvin Manhoef for example. Few would argue that Melvin is one of the best fighters to watch because he always brings the proverbial rage to the ring. His most attractive asset is his raw, explosive, unhindered power with little care for defense — which, unfortunately, is often his undoing. Melvin will never be classified as one of the best MMA fighters in the world, but he will always be listed as one of the best to watch.

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tags: Melvin Manhoef   Josh Koscheck (detail)  Georges St. Pierre   UFC   Strikeforce   


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Forssberg site profile image  

5/17/10 4:16 PM by Forssberg

The answer, to hopefully put this non-issue to rest.There's a reason wrestling has been practiced since times immemorial across a mind-boggling variety of cultures. I don't know the answer to this but shouldn't wrestling be considered the FIRST martial art?

MR Combatively site profile image  

5/17/10 3:54 PM by MR Combatively

Is wrestling taking martial arts out of MMA? NO I think this statement is ludicrous to say! I am a huge fan of wrestling because my backgrounds are boxing and wrestling; I am fan to every other fighting style as well. I am a fighter and a fight fan at heart, but it also depends on who is using their wrestling to their advantage to win fights. MMA wrestling is very different than regular wrestling! Wrestling can slow fights down and make them boring at times, but so can two boxers that are absolutely scared of each other’s talents. I also think that wrestling is traditional to certain countries. Traditional gets ripped way out of context when it comes to MMA. Wrestling is traditional when it comes to America and the Russia. America and Russia helped evolve modern wrestling from its traditional roots of Egypt and Greece. Traditional means culture in the MMA world to me. Taekwondo is Korean, Karate, Judo, original Jui jitsu are Japanese, Kung fu is Chinese, and Muay Thai is Thai. Traditional in this sense is culture. Just as boxing is UK and American in tradition. This is why I think that wrestling is a traditional martial art. It’s not traditional with zodiac signs, samurai swords and colored belt system, but it’s traditional in other cultures like us as Americans. MIXED MARTIAL ARTS is not just wrestling! Only athletic wrestlers who are natural fighters can make the transition. Wrestling is the highest level of a combative sport that does not intend to eliminate your opponent. Wrestling is more of a competitive sport in nature than actually fighting, because you are not tapping or knocking your opponent out, you are competitively pinning or out pointing your opponent. Some wrestlers get lost in this transition between fighting and just plain competition. Guys like Matt Hughes, Mark Kerr, Brock Larson, and Rulon Gardner are not natural fighters. They are awesome wrestler, but they are not fighters. They like to compete at the highest level because of competitive nature, but by a fighters mentality they are not fighters. Wrestlers that are fighters by nature are guys like Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Tank Abbott, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, and Brock Lesnar (these guys are not scared to engage or Cry about things in fights). Some guys are not just natural fighters! I am not saying that all boxers are fighters too because I think there are some boxers that were just pushed to it because of traditions in families like Oscar De La Hoya (MAD SKILL but not a natural fighter). There are some changes that could be made not to bore fights. Knees to a down opponent, soccer kicks yellow cards and fewer points for takedowns (unless the takedown inflicts damage). Muhammed Lawal vs. Gegard Mousasi was the perfect example of this. MO did not hurt Mousasi with any of those take downs, and didn’t do anything with his dominant position at all. I think that fight was Bs for all the hype. Mousasi actually did more damage and had submission attempts and strikes from his back. This clearly shows me that Mousasi was more effective on the ground and standup. The only thing MO did was take downs and didn’t do anything with the dominant position. I also dislike when wrestlers claims they are going to strike with a striker and don’t. Lashely claim his boxing was coming along and he was going to bang with Sapp and he didn’t. Sapp walked over to him expecting to strike and Lashley chickened out. Koscheck did the exact same thing with Daley. This could make fights boring, COWARDLY or less attractive. At least Tim Sylvia took a chance with Ray Mercer and Died with dignity (MORE Respect in my eyes). When Rob McCullough fought Kenneth Alexander at WEC 34 Frank Mir said it the best “what are those take downs actually doing if you’re not improving your position”. (Not exact quote but along the lines)Wrestling is good when utilized in the right way just like any other Martial arts, and MMA was built around grapplers not strikers. This gave wrestlers and Jiu Jitsu artists to become professional. MR. Combatively

billy914 site profile image  

5/16/10 11:06 AM by billy914

BJJ wins fights by itself(or close to). Maia used barely anything but BJJ to get into the UFC and become a contender. Aoki has a mixed grappling style of Judo/BJJ but has been very successful with no striking and pulls guard much of the time. Roger Gracie has a fledgling MMA career with very little cross training(probably the least out of any of the guys mentioned). Jacare doesn't use much other than BJJ either.In fact, if crosstraining was completely forbidden, you would still see wrestlers lose to submission fighters very often. Wrestlers need cross training to avoid submissions(although I agree they have all the attributes to adapt to it).Striking cannot reliably win a fight by itself, but any strong grappler with the means to take the fight to the ground can reach a decent level in MMA with little training.

Lux Fixxins site profile image  

5/16/10 10:50 AM by Lux Fixxins

They lost. It happens.I don't think anyone is saying wrestlers never loose.

jjmarine1 site profile image  

5/16/10 10:49 AM by jjmarine1


jjmarine1 site profile image  

5/16/10 10:48 AM by jjmarine1


Lux Fixxins site profile image  

5/16/10 10:46 AM by Lux Fixxins

Agreed. I don't bruise or get cut easily at all. I've wrestled for 15 years and have done BJJ for the last 6 months.I've competed in hundreds of wrestling matches (between Folkstyle in College and HS, Greco Roma and Freestlye...) and I have competed in NAGA and GC and BJJ opens I have no cauliflower ears or any of the typlica fore head scars or black eyes or lip scars that alot of lesser competitors have. And I have had my ass handed to me on many an occasion by people I've bloodied or injured.I train/spar striking at the gym from time to time and I almost never get so much as a bruise... but I know I got my ass kicked.Look at Fedor. He cuts easy and bleeds profuesely...

Lux Fixxins site profile image  

5/16/10 10:41 AM by Lux Fixxins


Lux Fixxins site profile image  

5/16/10 10:35 AM by Lux Fixxins

Gotcha...Well, I guess if wrestling didn't "rule" it wouldn't be a topic so discussed.I do think the "rules of the Octogon benefit wrestlers" thing is lame. What rules would take away this perceived advantage?Knees to a downed oppoenent would only benefit wrestlers. I can't see soccer kicks and head stomps taking away any tactile advantage because of the circumstances they become viable. A dude laying on the mat is a dude laying on the mat. If anything, I think that soccer kicks and head stomps would only take advantage away from gound fighting systems like BJJ.Wrestling isn't a ground sport. It's a control sport. When people refer to wrestling techniques as "Lay and Pray" what they really are saying is "Man, I'm all but hurt because this guy is imposing his will against my favorite Muay Thai fighter."Again, I think alot of people who refer to it as "Lay and Pray" have no idea exactly how hard it is to maintins a controlling position.It's not like they just put their weight on someone and wait it out. Theres a lot of technique and balance that goes into top control.If the argument is that its boring to watch, I can see that... but then again if other discipline could learn to scramble or break out of a good wrestlers control then that would add more excitment. So I guess other styled fighters just need to learn to deal with it.No need to change rules because kick boxers and such get emo because a "game" bested them in a fight.

Dory site profile image  

5/15/10 11:24 PM by Dory

Several things about UFC rules as opposed to Pride rules are advantageous to wrestlers - no soccer kicks, bigger gloves. However, several things in UFC vs. Pride rules work against wrestlers - no headbutts, no kneeing downed opponents. I think the cage is the main factor that helps wrestlers in UFC, but it also helps the nonwrestlers by allowing them to cagewalk to stand back up. And as I recall, wrestlers did quite well in Pride, even in its prime - Coleman, Tom Anderson, Sakuraba.And to those who think fights should be judged by how someone looks after the fight, youre idiots. Some people just show damage more. A figher can be a bloody mess with only superficial damage while someone with a swelling on the brain or a punctured spleen might look perfectly normal. The idea of judging a fight by how contestants look after the fight is stupid on its face.