UFC DETERMINED TO PROVIDE
The world is thirsting for live competition. The UFC is doing everything in their power to provide. By the end of the night, they will have put on three live events within a one week period. The one stipulation with putting these events on is that there is to be no live audience in attendance.
At first, this was a small trade off, for the opportunity to watch competition, play daily fantasy, and make sports bets. After watching two of these events however, it is clear that we are being provided a different sport that we would be with a crowd.
THE FIGHTERS HEAR EVERYTHING
Under normal circumstances, the fighters are in the octagon with one another, with an enormous crowd that is loud from start to finish. They sometimes even appear to struggle to hear the referee who is in the cage with them. That isn’t the case with this new volume absent experience.
The fighters are now able to hear everything at all times within the cage while they are fighting. They can receive instructions from their corner clearly and accurately. The fighters can hear the instructions from their opponent’s corner. They can even hear the announcer’s assessment of the fight in real time, which is many times being made by people that are fighters themselves. This is an absolute switch in a sport that has been defined over the years by insane crowd engagement.
It may seem like an insignificant thing, but rest assured it is anything but that. The lack of noise completely shifts how fights are fought. The athletes that are somewhat slow to think on their feet in the heat of the moment are being benefited. The athletes that are accustomed to doing their own thing to a degree are losing the excuse of not being able to hear when their corner wants to know why they ignored instructions. It could possibly be reducing the skill gap by allowing more assistance for the fighters that need it, and possibly resulting in over coaching for the fighters that don’t.
YOU ARE OVERREACTING. WHAT IS YOUR EVIDENCE?
Here are real examples from the last two events of fighters hearing more than they would under normal circumstances. In some of them, the fighters themselves acknowledge how valuable this ability to hear has been to them.
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro (UFC 249)
Greg Hardy started this fight by being kept at distance by powerful leg strikes from De Castro. This was preventing him from being able to get comfortable in the fight and he was clearly on his way to a lost round. Then, as if a gift from the heavens above was bestowed upon him, Daniel Cormier made mention of his need to start checking the leg kicks, Hardy complied, and the rest of the fight was largely controlled by Greg Hardy. Don’t take our word for it though, take Greg Hardy’s himself.
Ricky Simon vs. Ray Borg (Fight Night 5/13/20)
This example may be the most comical and least detrimental to the fight, but still serves as an example nonetheless. During the middle of this fight the announcer’s table made mention of how big and strong Simon looked for this fight. On cue Simon then lifted both arms up and briefly flexed in response to that comment.
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sara Moras (Fight Night 5/13/20)
This example is a bit less egregious than the Hardy example as Eubanks was winning this fight from start to finish. There was a point late in the fight however where Moras managed to get Eubanks caught in the beginnings of an arm bar. Eubanks did have her arm secured out of danger for the most part, and most likely wouldn’t have been submitted anyway, however she was able to receive step by step instructions from her corner (and Daniel Cormier) to get her body out of harm’s way as well. You could clearly see her following those instructions like it was a training session.
Ben Rothwell vs. Ovince St. Preux (Fight Night 5/13/20)
OSP (St. Preux) was being stalked by Rothwell for most of this fight, but at one point Daniel Cormier made mention of the way that Rothwell was moving was leaving him vulnerable to a straight kick as he was approaching. Right on cue, the very next time Rothwell attempted to close distance, OSP sent a straight kick right down the pipe.
Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixiera (Fight Night 5/13/20)
This example could be debated that this was in fact his strategy leading into the fight, but it was the opinion of Daniel Cormier at ringside that Smith’s corner yelling non-stop instruction, and Smith being able to hear them all, led to Smith punching himself out of gas within two rounds of a five round fight. Smith was more active than any of his other fights, and it appeared as though he was going to cruise to a victory, until he simply ran out of gas.
HOW DO WE CHANGE IT?
We don’t, this isn’t changing for a while according to Dana White’s response to a reporter in the post fight press conference. What the fighters and the people that bet on these fights will need to do is to factor in the added assistance of being able to hear everything. It really does change the game quite a bit, some fighters just do better being micromanaged, while others receive a negative effect from it.
How do you feel about it? Is being able to be live coached, not only by your corner, but also world class fighters at ringside, a factor in the outcomes of fights? Let us know in the comments.
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