What is 'intelligent defense'?


The UFC 169 main event between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber was stopped prematurely according to most media and fans. Faber was rocked by a punch and then, from a bad position, was taking several unanswered shots, albeit not super hard or accurate.

Referee Herb Dean made a judgment call that Faber was not intelligently defending himself at the point, and waved the fight off. But what exactly does that mean? MMAJunkie's Danny Downes and Ben Fowlkes explain and argue the ruling:

Fowlkes:  I think we probably agree that that was a bad stoppage, but why was it bad? Was it because Faber’s decision to crouch motionless and cover up should count as “intelligent defense?” Was it because Barao’s punches weren’t hitting anything but glove? Was it because Faber’s a vet and this was a title fight, obligating referee Herb Dean to wait until someone’s heart stops? Why, Danny? You tell me. What, exactly, was wrong with that stoppage, if anything?

Downes: A few people have been saying, “Well it’s Faber’s fault because he wasn’t moving.” Movement alone does not equal intelligent defense. Once you’re in a shell/turtle position, there are fewer openings for your opponent to exploit. Moving would cause you to create more defensive gaps. Can you hold onto that position for an extended period? No, but Faber wasn’t given the chance to show his next move. The situation reminded me of the first time Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar fought. If Steve Mazzagatti did the same thing Dean did, he would have called the fight as soon as Lesnar started throwing those hammerfists.?

read entire article...


tags: Renan Barao (detail)  Urijah Faber (detail)  UFC 169   


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time traveling 12er site profile image  

2/3/14 6:38 PM by time traveling 12er

But how is he not taking damage?  Sure he's trying to soften the blows by covering up, but putting your hand on the side of your head isn't a magical force field that makes your head invincible.  Some of that force is getting through and getting to his brain.  Mark Munoz got ko'd through his hand in his last fight.  Faber was a fighter that had just been rocked several times in a row and was at that moment turtled up taking unanswered blows to his head, covered by his hand or not.  There's always a chance that a fighter can come back, but I think this was far from a terrible stoppage.

MMA Lives Here site profile image  

2/3/14 10:15 AM by MMA Lives Here

That's commonplace in boxing when the referee has seen enough. You can't always just stand there with your guard up taking punches, sometimes you have to try to fight back. Especially if you've taken a beating

eXtv site profile image  

2/3/14 10:09 AM by eXtv

Why would Urijah need to fight back if he wasn't taking any real damage? That's like a boxer taking punches on the arms in his shell and having the ref step in because he wasn't "fighting back".

MMA Lives Here site profile image  

2/3/14 9:14 AM by MMA Lives Here

UghHe asked Urijah to fight back and he didn't move. That's why Barao looked at him and that's why Herb eventually intervened.

eXtv site profile image  

2/3/14 9:11 AM by eXtv

If you aren't being damaged, then you are intelligently defending. Renan's punches were being all blocked. The stoppage only occurred because he looked at Herb, I think that's pretty obvious. He felt under pressure and got trigger-happy.

Jason site profile image  

2/3/14 9:05 AM by Jason

The way the UFC and MMA has traditionally refereed intelligent defense, Herb Dean did a good job and stopped the fight. However it does need a further look. Intelligent defense seems to have become synonymous with trying to fight back. I would argue that if you were just rocked and you now have a leg that turtle and covering up is the MOST intelligent way to defend yourself at that time, ESPECIALLY when your opponent is just throwing some pitter patter shots to your glove and arm. Like I said with the rules in the place the reffing and the stoppage was good, but this should open up a conversation about the definition of intelligent defense. Herb did a great job asking for something, and I bet he would even tell you had he seen the thumbs up when asked for, he wouldn't have stopped the fight.  

6ULDV8 site profile image  

2/3/14 8:55 AM by 6ULDV8

Just that, defending and having an idea what you're doing.  Intelligent defense.   If you can't defend, you're done.   It really is that simple boss, or Chris.

shaqitup site profile image  

2/3/14 8:44 AM by shaqitup

I don't consider turtling up a legitimate way of defending yourself, especially with the removal of so many strikes to a down opponent, where can you hit a guy if he's fetal with hands over his head.Urijah wasn't moving, and had already sat there for an extended period of time.Maybe herb was a little early, but was Urijah going to make a move any time soon? If you take his reasoning, no he wasn't.

MMA Lives Here site profile image  

2/3/14 8:36 AM by MMA Lives Here

Hated seeing Urijah bury Herb after the fight

MMA Lives Here site profile image  

2/3/14 8:35 AM by MMA Lives Here