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Random Rant: Takedown interference

I watched IFL Battleground last night and there were yet again some fighters holding onto the ropes. I thought Tito Ortiz’s comments on Saturday that “you’re not trying if you’re not cheating” but the more I think about it, the more I think there’s some validity to what he said.

As someone who has fought on low-level amateur cards and has no takedown skills, I can’t think of a time where I didn’t use the cage to help stop a takedown. Hell, there were times during sparring practice when I would hold the cage. Part of it is instinctive and the other part is just being competitive and trying to do everything in your power to avoid a situation where there’s a high percentage chance you might lose.

Personally, I can’t blame a fighter too much for grabbing the cage or the ropes. I also believe that the way the infraction is dealt with in MMA should be changed. Forget warnings! A fighter’s first and only warning should take place before the fight at the rules meeting. If a fighter holds the ropes of the cage, that’s it, he’s violated the rules and should be penalized.

The first penalty right now is to have a point deducted but my thinking is that if a fighter uses the rope or the cage to prevent a takedown then the fight should be stopped and re-started with the fighter who attempted the takedown being awarded top position. Losing a point might not be a big enough deterrent if its means allowing yourself to be taking down could lead to the end of the fight.

I compare grabbing the cage/ropes to pass interference in football. If a cornerback gets burned by a wide receiver and grabs the guy’s jersey, the ball is awarded where the infraction is committed. I think placing the ball at the point of the infraction is better than just awarding 10-15 yards. If it was only a 15-yard penalty, then it would be stupid for a defensive back that got burned not to interfere with the receiver. I think that being deducted one point is almost the equivalent to only being penalized 15 yards.

  • says:

    wow that’s a very good idea. I agree, if the ref see a fighter grabbing the fence/ropes they would be awarded top position. Nice bit of brainstorming, sam.

  • says:

    Thank goodness someone is talking about this! the ideas about takedown interference are cool. i would like the discussion expanded, though, to MMA scoring as a whole. I’d like to see more active referee involvment in warnings…ie, mark hominick’s track meet, quicker standups to stop lay and pray, etc. WCL, though kind of annoying in some respects, does a great job of keeping the action moving moving moving.
    a different scoring method may be a cumulative points, as opposed to the old boxing style. boxing doesn’t give room for all the varied aspects of mma, and it’s, well, old. any ideas for a better system?

  • says:

    That wire fencing is such a natural to grab. Seems odd to have it there and then tell someone who is fighting for his life not to grab it… I’d make the cage out of plexiglas. No more grabbing, and easier to see through… They’d have to wipe the blood off between rounds though.


  • says:

    I agree with the plexiglass idea. When they first started using a cage I think it was to make the sport look like a spectacle so they could play up the sport’s brutal nature. But I think over the years that they’ve realized that the cage is actually a very functional fighting environment. Personally, I hate fighting in a ring because you can either get tied up in the ropes or fall through. However, when I’m a spectator at the actual event, I enjoy watching fights in rings more because it’s much easier to see what’s going on as opposed to the cage.

    Having transparent walls sort of gives you the best of both worlds.


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