The UFC recently evolved their $50,000 'of the Night' performance bonuses, offering two Performance of the Night bonuses, instead of the traditional Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night. The change was made because some events don't have a Knockout or a Submission, but it is the latter that is becoming increasingly rare.
The first UFC event of 2014, UFC Fight Night 34: Lim vs. Saffiedine, was a promising start for submission fans, with four submissions, four decisions, one T/KO, and one DQ. Then submissions dropped off a cliff.
In the six events since, there have been 66 fights, with 45 decision, 17 T/KOs, and just four submissions.
Even Ronda Rousey didn't deliver a submission in 2014, ending her fight vs. Sara McMann with a liver shot.
What happened? Guilherme Cruz has the story for MMA Fighting.
"The fans like to watch a stand-up war," said Charles Oliveira, one of the only fighters to win a fight via submission in 2014. "I guess the jiu-jitsu fighters are looking to work on their stand-up skills and forgetting about the jiu-jitsu."
"In my last fight I was looking for the knockout. But I saw an opening and went for the takedown several times and got the tap."
UFC fighter and multiple time BJJ world champion Braga Neto offered a simple explanation.
Braga faults refs as being in on the drive for action.
"That’s a problem because you have to be fast and not lose positions," he said. "You need to quickly advance for positions, looking for an opening to finish the fight."
But he says the biggest reason is the lack of submissions is the audience.
"The fans don’t like to watch too much jiu-jitsu," he said. "To tell you the truth, when someone goes to the UFC they want to knock people out because that’s what the fans want to see. I think the fans clearly prefer to watch a stand-up fight because they don’t understand the ground game."
And lastly, he says MMA is so complex, you can't develop everything, and still keep the highest level submission skills.
"I never saw someone evolve in the striking and wrestling areas and keep the good adjusts on the ground. I will always work on what I’m best first, and then I’ll try evolving in the other aspects of the game."
So what do you think UG? Is it fast ref stand ups? Not enough time in the day to keep wrestling, striking, and submissions world class? Or have we met the enemy and he is us?
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