Whatever happened to submissions in the UFC?


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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Recent Comments »

Oontyex site profile image  

3/7/14 12:21 AM by Oontyex

Normally judges give the round to the guy on top, even if all round was defending sub and sweep attempts inside the guard

dotkorn site profile image  

3/6/14 11:55 PM by dotkorn

lol just recently someone was complaining why the judges score it for the one working for submissions because in BJJ judges score it for the one defending the submissions. *shrugs*

BigWilliam site profile image  

3/6/14 11:53 AM by BigWilliam

From a judging stand point working for subs is rarely rewarded on the score cards, where landing punches will get you the decision nod.

THERE WAS A GLITCH IN THE MATRiX site profile image  


Royce Gracie at ufc5 would totally agree!

dermotfix site profile image  

3/6/14 11:44 AM by dermotfix

whose idea was it to have any stand-ups in the sport of MMA? Isn't the guy on top winning and the guy on bottom losing? Why give the guy on bottom (or against the fence) any advantage just to please fans? I think stand-ups are B.S.  

THERE WAS A GLITCH IN THE MATRiX site profile image  


alot the game and training for the game is bouncing jabing and trying to look like a fighter. then back away when the other guy throws. and just play this "Game" and hope a big shot lands or a opportunity for a sub comes up. but MOST IMPORTANT, stay out of harms way and up on the cards!Im in the gym, the trainers are actually teaching mma this way. they teach so much about playing it safe and knowing just enough about everything to neutralize each other and survive the round.guess what, if one guy throws and his opponents jumps back or backs away, then that guy throws and his opponents jumps back or backs away. you get fighting without really fighting.and some are so concerend about getting hit, losing or getting in a bad position, they play the "Game" instead of fight!

Arlovskis Chin site profile image  

3/4/14 8:28 AM by Arlovskis Chin

Everyone so negative about the bjj practices. Surely another reason is more and more wrestlers coming in with a) the ability to not get taken down and b) the control but not submission expertise.

Abeleko site profile image  

3/4/14 12:46 AM by Abeleko

It's real simple, even the best grapplers in the world require cooperation from their opponents, in a grappling match both fighters commit to grappling. It's exponentially more difficult when your opponents objective is to scramble away at every chance, especially when guys are getting really fucking good at it. Plus the pace fights are fought at makes it harder...then there's the rules

Sarcasm_Misser site profile image  

3/4/14 12:07 AM by Sarcasm_Misser

Yes, but you're a homosexual sadist pervert who stockpiles gifs of groinshots.

dotkorn site profile image  

3/3/14 11:55 PM by dotkorn

i voted you up. i dont get why not all people dont get this logic. :) this is the more explained argument of mine lmao