What is ‘intelligent defense’?

Sunday, February 02, 2014

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.?

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