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Snowden: Davis and Lytle may have raised the bar too high

It’s amazing how something as simple as expectations can change the way you see a fight. By any reasonable analysis, Marcus Davis and Chris Lytle just had a hell of a fight. It was a nice mix of boxing and kickboxing, with Davis using smart movement to avoid the worst of Lytle’s attack and countering his way to victory. Both men took home an extra $40,000, sharing fight of the night honors with Mark Coleman and Mauricio Rua. But despite this solid effort, with Davis throwing a great bodykick/jumping knee combination we are sure to see repeated all year long, despite Lytle throwing bomb after bomb at a desperately covering up Davis, despite a great back and forth fight- I was left disappointed.

Before the fight, both men told anyone who would listen that they weren’t just looking for a great fight. They were going to have the fight of the night. Of the decade. Of their lives. Of all time. “A lot of times people talk about fights and then they’re not that great,” Davis said prior to UFC 93. “This fight is going to be better than the buildup.” It wasn’t. It was a fight damned by expectations.

There’s also something dangerous about the mentality Zuffa has inspired in many of its fighters by offering bonuses that often exceed the fighter’s regular purses. It has created an atmosphere where winning isn’t a fighter’s main goal. Don’t take my word for it. Chris Lytle explained his thought process before the fight in a Five Ounces of Pain exclusive.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this ended up being fight of the night. I’m not really planning on the fight going to the ground and I doubt he is either. That’s kind of what I’m anticipating. I’m expecting a stand up war,” Lytle said. “Back to back fight of the night honors would definitely make me very happy. That’s my main goal this year, when people hear that I’m going to be on the card I want them to want to order the pay-per-view because they know it’s going to be an exciting fight. I want to be in high demand and I want people to want to see my fights.”

Winning “Fight of the Night” — that was his main goal. Not winning fights, just fight of the night honors. After all, he could make more money losing the kind of fight he knows Zuffa loves than he ever could with a Yushin Okami style winning streak. Caring more about entertaining than winning is the beginning of the end of integrity, the first step down a slippery slope from sport to spectacle. And it leads to the type of gentleman’s agreement we haven’t seen since the days of Pancrase. In those early 1990’s fights, stalwarts like Ken Shamrock and Bas Rutten agreed not to hit each other when the fight went to the ground. Davis and Lytle took it one step further, announcing beforehand their intention not to take the fight to the ground.

“We never made any type of agreement and Chris will tell you that,” Davis protested to reporters after the fight. “We both said we wanted to do this because we knew that we could bring it out of each other and have an exciting fight. Other people ran with that.”

Whether or not there was an agreement set in stone, it was obvious neither man was going to the ground. Even when it became evident that Lytle was losing the standing exchanges and didn’t have the quickness to keep up with the elusive Davis, he never once thought about taking the boxer down. He wasn’t driven by a will to win. He was driven by his pocketbook. And the distinction between pro wrestling and MMA just got a little bit blurrier.

59 COMMENTS
  • Chris says:

    What is bad about this? WTF? Yeah its real bad that the UFC offers fight of the night bonuses and makes fighters want to give it there all, and not just lay on someone and get the win, they want the fighters to go all out, give the fans buying the PPV a great fight, yeah thats really bad. I guess your someone who would rather watch Okami lay on someone for 3 rounds just to get the win. Sorry, but not me, I want to see fighters give it everything they have.

  • mark says:

    not at all,what a great fight and im not easy pleased,great sportsmanship,great stand up.had me on the edge of my seat. well done davis

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    Couldnt agree more Chris. I find this post to be a bit off base as well. I will agree that the fight did not live up to the expectations they made for everyone, but if you look at the way the sport goes in Japan, as long as a fighter shows up and puts on a great show, win or lose he will be invited back to perform. As mentioned in the article, most of the time the bonus is way more than the salary of the fighter, so yea if im making 7k to show and 7k to win, or 7k to show and 40k to try harder for a sub or a knockout, it wouldnt be hard to decide which to go after. Id much rather take an L in a fight of the night, or try harder for a ko or sub and have it be easier to feed my family than to bore the crowd and take a win however i can get it easiest, whether its laying on someone for 15 minutes or counterstriking and backpeddling

  • Jonathan Snowden says:

    I’m not saying whether it is good or bad. I liked the fight. But it isn’t the sign of a sport. Do the Ravens suggest before the AFC Title game that all that defense is boring to fans and they will take it easy on the Steelers so fans can get a high scoring game? Did people suggest that the Pistons in the 1990’s should play a more fan friendly game of basketball? Of course not.

    Because it is understood that in sports, the goal is winning. Not looking good and losing. Not entertaining the crowd. Winning. If that’s not the goal in the UFC, you have to question whether what you are watching is really sport.

  • Eric says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Snowden. I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way.

  • truth says:

    I thought that Davis/Lytle was the best fight on the card. But FOTN is another reason why MMA is not a sport (Title shots based on pay per view pull rather then fight record would be another biggie). It’s a Sport/Promotion. 2 of the cards televised bouts featured fighters past thier prime Coleman and Horn , Rogan was stating Shogun’s preformance was lacking in the second round of his fight… Why? cause it wasn’t considered a very even matchup in the first place. The UFC top fighters, pinnacle spiel was a little hard to swallow with this card.

  • mburtoni says:

    I sort of agree. I was strangelt disappointed in the Davis/Lytle fight, even though it was one hell of a fight. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with aiming for fight of the night honors. It doesn’t make MMA more like pro wrestling.

  • mike wolfe says:

    It’s Lytle’s career, and he can fight however he chooses. But stating in advance that you won’t take the fight to the ground is like coming into the Octagon with one arm tied behind your back. You’ve given up valuable weapons (assuming you have a ground game) and explained to your opponent how to fight you. It was an exciting fight, and I like both fighters, but to me it was something other than Mixed Martial Arts.

  • Constantine says:

    I think a more fundamental problem is that Davis and Lytle thought that the fight of the decade or their lives would be a boxing and kickboxing match. If they believed that, they should have stayed boxers.

    This is MMA. Slug fests are fun to watch, but ultimately forgettable. If as a fighter you want to have a legendary fight, watch something like Torres vs. Maeda. Aspire to do that, but better.

  • Drew says:

    I agree with this post 100%. I’m a HUGE fan of the UFC but I do agree that, unless a fighter is looking to win in any way possible (lay/pray or otherwise), I believe it is not a legitimate sport. The UFC needs to shy away from entertaining the uneducated MMA fans and focus more on encouraging their fighters to focus entirely on winning fights using their individual skill-sets. It’s about winning in any way possible, not about putting on a show. Down with bonuses! Okay … maybe an Upset of the Night bonus?

  • mark says:

    mbartoni. totally agree mate if u win or submit in style what a bonus, but 2 the fighters really they just want to win the fight.styles everyting good point could nt have put it better myself

  • mark says:

    mike. both fighters were using thier best disiplin. i know lytle is a BJJ but he feels more comfortable just a little more on his feet. and u need to respect that and understand that.

  • Jim says:

    Just for the record — the NBA enacted a lot of rules changes after teh success of teh Pistons and the Knicks playing stifling, physical defense. Those teams were the impetus behind the “flagrant” foul rule, and making hand-checking on defense illegal, and things like that.

    So, yes. People did object to those teams.

    Also, see the Patriots victory over the Colts that got the rules changed about downfield contact between corners and wide receivers.

    People want to see exciting events. This is nothing new. It’s not a loss of integrity, it’s business.

  • klown says:

    Right on the mark.

  • Cathedron says:

    “Do the Ravens suggest before the AFC Title game that all that defense is boring to fans and they will take it easy on the Steelers so fans can get a high scoring game?”

    Two words: Arena football.

    Hell, the Bears do the opposite. They don’t use any offense whatsoever. Haven’t for years. And they went to the Superbowl that way.

    All sports are entertainment. If not, why would we watch? The rules have been tweaked over the past hundred years to make sports more entertaining. Let’s not kid ourselves.

    To be fair to Lytle, he knows he’s never going to be a title holder. His opponent is there to win, but Lytle’s a gatekeeper. You beat him, you’re ready for bigger competition. Combat sports simply can’t work the same as team sports. It’s apples to oranges.

  • Jonathan Snowden says:

    Yes, leagues have changed rules to make the sport more entertaining. But have individual teams or athletes in other sports proclaimed so openly their willingness to limit their chance of winning in the name of entertaining the fans?

    “Sure we have Lewis and Ed Reed. We are built for ball control. But we’ve talked to Mike Tomlin and we both decided that people want to see the ball in the air. Flacco and Big Ben will both throw the ball 50 times.”

    “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks people want to see dunks and three pointers. So, in the name of entertaining his fans, he’s decided not to use his deadly and efficient sky hook.”

    Can you imagine the outcry? Do you see why this “sport” isn’t getting the mainstream coverage it wants so badly? People watch sports to be entertained and to honor excellence. If MMA is not entertaining enough, then Zuffa has to make the decision to change the rules. If they want toughman, then change the rules. If you want standups after one minute on the ground, change the rules. But don’t encourage fighters to put anything but winning first. Because that is dangerous ground.

  • SteveS says:

    Fight of the night awards at the expense of winning are no guarantee of an everlasting UFC career. Just ask Jorge Gurgel.

  • Dave says:

    SteveS, so? Neither guy determined who was going to win the fight. They made an agreement that they were going to have a stand up war because that is what Zuffa likes to see, that is what Zuffa rewards and that is how you make money in Zuffa.

    I don’t understand how people do not see the problem in that. I mean, think about it. Really think about it.

  • bruiser says:

    “Caring more about entertaining than winning is the beginning of the end of integrity, the first step down a slippery slope from sport to spectacle.” — very well put. The fight actually felt scripted…and it pissed me off when they high-fived when it was stood up.

  • JeffR says:

    If you don’t like the strategy of fighters to get paid any way they can, then don’t lobby against FOTN bonuses. Argue to establish a union, come to a collective bargaining agreement, and make winning the number one priority. You can’t compare this to any other sport, b/c those guys get their money regardless of performance on a game to game basis. These guys fight for money, and as long as the fans want to see exciting fights over rooting for specific fighters (or teams in the case of pro sports) to win no matter what, then what your campaigning against is a moot point.

    Personally, I feel it’s still a sport by definition. But their is a reason more people watch football than curling (both sports)….and that’s because it’s more exciting (entertainment).

    And for those who argue defense in football, good pitching in baseball, or tight D in hoops are not as entertaining, then I would have to respectfully disagree. In fighting being defensive is lame. In football, guys get lit by defenders (one of the most exciting things to happen in a football game), in baseball, a dominating pitcher tends to pitch inside (and hit people to cause fights, also exciting), and in hoops, getting swatted into the 3rd row and stared down by a 7 footer is exciting.

    The bottom line is, people watch sports for entertainment. Nothing else. If you’re not entertained, the don’t watch.

  • stoker dafire says:

    Mr Snowden,..with all due respect my friend, this is called prize fighting for a reason. I’m a senior writer for another website(bleacherreport.com) and also an ex-fighter. Now, you make claims to be trained in bjj, but that’s still no excuse for your ignorance-meaning not knowing- that.fighters and fans would rather see stand up wars, rather than two grown men struggling for a combative equivalent of some homo-erotic “missionary position.” The average Joe who doesn’t understand the fine art of bjj is simply turned off by the unsightly image; MMA is soon going to evolve into “whatever sells tickets” type sport..where the fans and promoters dictate styles not the fighters. THANKS, STOKER DAFIRE

  • Rich S. says:

    I thought it was an awesome fight..
    but, given the circumstances, it didn’t live up to the hype..

    Look,
    Lytle knows now, at this point in his career, that he has one of the best chins around, and that he’ll have a spot in the UFC until he choses otherwise..

    The guy hasn’t been KO’d a single time in his 50+ fight career..
    and he’s lost more than half of his fights in the UFC, but he’s still here..

    So he was going to go all out no matter what..

    Davis, on the other hand, is worried about his record..
    i mean, i don’t know that for sure, but he fought like it..
    he’s going to do what he has to do to get a title shot..
    and if that means counter/run away from bombs for 3 rounds, he’s going to do it..

    mix that with the “win or lose, i want to freaking BANG” mentality of Chris Lytle [that seemed to just sprout in him after knocking kyle bradley senseless]
    and you get a kind of entertaining fight..

    let’s just say,
    it wasn’t what it could’ve been..

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    IMO there is a fine line between fighting to win and fighting to not lose. I dont want to see a guy fight not to lose, as i believe davis may have been doing last night, and i kinda feel like machida tends to fight like that. <You dont need to agree with that, just please dont start another machida arguement. It is when someone fights to not lose that i become restless during a fight. Good point with the rule changes in other sports, dont forget the jersey devils and their lame ass trap defense that ruined hockey, however i dont think there is need to change rules here, this is a 1 v 1 sport where it is up to you to entertain, you cant rely on the star player to carry you through. Lastly, i believe that anyone interested in fighting for a living must be a fairly competitive person, and wouldnt WANT to lose, so when someone says “win or lose,….” i just take it as, i plan on winning, but in the event i lose…

  • Dave says:

    I think everybody here knows that part of the deal is that this is entertainment. Two guys agreeing to stand and bang is nothing really new for MMA, but them hashing it out and deciding they want to put on a FOTN and get a bonus by knowing exactly the type of fight that receives those bonuses is walking on thin ice.

    What Jon is saying is that this is the beginning of something that could get much worse.

    Let’s say that Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, Lesnar and Mir make an agreement to make the fight more entertaining. Mir was going to throw a bomb and Lesnar was going to duck and shoot in, getting him up on his shoulders and tossing him to the mat in the F5, his pro wrestling move. Lesnar goes to pound him out and Mir catches him in a heel hook, just like the last fight, only for him to get out, both men stand and face each other and keep fighting. While it is kind of ridiculous, I am trying to be to demonstrate how one thing can lead to another.

  • neijia says:

    yes spectator sports does = entertainment. viewers like exciting fights. everyone likes them. grapplers not ground fighting is nothing new. that in no way means fights are going to turn into works. perhaps more standup striking + throwing? yes. actually, that rocks! i like *doing* ground grappling but not really *watching* it.

  • neijia says:

    also, how is “i plan to fight standing” a different statement than “i plan to not ground fight”? fighters have been saying something like the former for a long time… perhaps not the absolute best choice of words, but it effectively says the same thing, and is in no way a trend.

    fighters who have good bjj or wrestling like Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, even Big Nog (though his bjj is much better than his standup) and so on, will keep the fight standing and put on exciting fights, part of the reason they achieve stardom, win or lose, and get paid much better than the 40k FOTN bonuses… smart, talented fighters can see that and are going to continue the trend. the stars even apologize if they do not put on an exciting fight — even if they win!

  • millroots says:

    Stoker , you have said it best. to the new fan to mma, as a lot of my friends are, they are turned off faster than a straight guy watching two guys make out…why?…because it looks even worse than my example.

    however, i understand that while being a sport, it is governed by a business, and the goal here is to make money. Sports evolve as do most things. Don’t like it, don’t watch. It sucks but thats the way things go

  • DamonO says:

    So are you also upset with Jeremy Horn for standing and trading with Chuck Liddell in their second fight? Ask either of these two fighters (Davis/Lytle) if winning was top priority for them and the answer is 100% yes. I guarantee it. There’s nothing wrong with winning in entertaining fashion. If you had the opportunity to make an extra $40,000 above your small salary by putting on a better show and giving it your all you would certainly do it. I give these guys props for putting on a show. Would it be any different if two ground guys decided to stay on the ground the whole fight? I don’t think so. The fact that these guys stayed on their feet the whole time changes nothing in MMA. I am sure any fighter would do what it takes to get a solid check in these troubling financial times.

  • Iain says:

    How about Fight of the Night bonuses only being given to the winner rather than both men. Surely that would remove some of the inherent flaws with the current system.

  • Dave says:

    This Iain guy makes a lot of sense.

  • TerribleT says:

    So what if Lytle cares more about winning “fight of the night” than he does winning
    the fight.He knows he’s probably never going to be WW champion anyway.A damn good showing rather than a win,if it ends up that way,is going to be better for him at this stage of his career and he knows it.If he was an up and coming prospect then it’d be different but he’s not so WTF? Give dude his F***ING props!!!!!!

  • king mah mah says:

    I can’t believe anyone would complain about a great fight. I mean… isn’t that what you bought the PPV for? This is absolutely a sport. To compare it to WWE is just insulting to every fighter out there. Yeah sure you might not agree with someone standing or laying and praying, or you might not even agree with some of the match making, but it certainly isn’t staged or fake.

    Liddell could probably win more if he used his wrestling skills more often, but he chooses to stand. Why? Because it is more exciting to for the fans. So if you can put an extra coin in your pocket while you’re at it…. What the hell. Doesn’t bother me.

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    Lain i think it goes to both because it takes more than one guy to put on a good fight. If someone comes out and dominates for 3 rounds they dont get a bonus it seems, and obviously if your fight ends in ko or sub id assume that disqualifies the FOTN bonus. I think there is some criteria there, and i dont have a problem with them getting it because they didnt avoid each other, put on a good show, and entertained viewers. So what if they didnt hit the ground once, they are stand up fighters, would u wanna see them clumsily try and bjj one another?

  • Jonathan Snowden says:

    The problem isn’t that they didn’t hit the ground. It’s that they:

    A. Announced before hand their intention not to have an actual MMA fight.

    B. That they and the promotion both played up the idea that MMA fighting is for “pussies” whereas real men are simply kickboxers

    and

    C. Lytle was clearly outfought standing but still refused to try his advantage on the ground, placing commerce ahead of integrity. It is one step removed from guys agreeing in advance to try certain moves, techniques and choreographing certain exchanges in the name of “entertainment” and winning a bonus.

    I’m not accusing them of doing this. But they announced their intention before hand to attempt a “FOTN” and placed winning this cash bonus ahead of winning the fight. This is not a good precedent and not how athletes in other legitimate sports conduct themselves. It is exactly like two baseball pitchers announcing ahead of time an intention to throw nothing but fastballs because “Fans like runs.”

    Athletes are supposed to try to win contests. Two guys with the intention of brutalizing each other, but with no real care about winning, isn’t sport. It’s spectacle.

  • steven says:

    Kinda like Chung Lee vs Shamrock? What a joke. I couldn’t have said it better. I watch mma because that’s what I want. I hate when fighters agree on anything for a fight. This is the beginning of mma getting closer to boxing and WWE. Let’s see. Jardine vs Liddel? Its no longer about finding the best fighter. Its about ceating match ups that sell tickets. While that’s great, just realize what it is.

  • king mah mah says:

    The arguement comparing mma to baseball or football holds little water. Fighting is one on one. You can’t rely on the rest of the team to put on a good show. The UFC wants ratings and is still trying to go full blown mainstream. If you want a baseball analogy heres one: If you watch a baseball game and one team is winning by 10 runs in the 8th inning, you would either change the channel or if you’re at the game you would leave early to beat the traffic. The UFC doesn’t want people leaving early or changing the channel or maybe stop buying PPV’s altogether. That is because they are still trying to draw more fans in. That is also why that kind of fighting is rewarded…….because it draws more of a crowd.

  • D.Capitated says:

    The arguement comparing mma to baseball or football holds little water. Fighting is one on one. You can’t rely on the rest of the team to put on a good show.

    Imagine if Michael Phelps was allowed to swim however he wanted instead of having to do the backstroke or butterfly in their specialty events. Hey, the Olympics need a star!

    The UFC wants ratings and is still trying to go full blown mainstream. If you want a baseball analogy heres one: If you watch a baseball game and one team is winning by 10 runs in the 8th inning, you would either change the channel or if you’re at the game you would leave early to beat the traffic. The UFC doesn’t want people leaving early or changing the channel or maybe stop buying PPV’s altogether.

    Who is paying for PPVs and then changing the channel midway through the opener? If you want to use the logic that PPV sales will increase as people buddy up and buy pizza and beer, how does that fit in with the reality of what Lytle/Davis is?

    Let’s take it a step further. Let’s say there’s heavy movement on the line hours before the fight and Lytle suddenly drops limp from a punch 45 seconds. Years later, its discovered that he had an offshore bank account a mysterious benefactor put $60,000 in that week. Why is that a bad thing for a guy who “is never gonna be champion” and just not fighting to win is okay? Both make mockeries of actual competition.

  • Elias Cepeda says:

    I saw this linked to from Total-MMA.com and I really enjoyed reading your take. If nothing else you are absolutely correct in writing that caring more about entertaining is the first step to debasing the whole sport. Not many talk about this. It takes someone who really uderstands combat and sports to notice this. Kudos.

  • Slakdawg says:

    I find it ironic that everyone is condemning Lytle and Davis for agreeing to keep the fight standing when I have read interviews from both where they deny it and say it was a product of the media. They both said they wanted an exciting fight. They both said they were bangers who liked to strike. That’s a far cry from “I’m going to refuse to go to the ground.” Davis has won exciting fights on the ground before. If they both deny it, and only rampant media (and blogger) speculation has accused it, I call B.S. I think they stayed on their feet because that’s where they’re both more comfortable. Having Lytle work for a takedown in the third when he is behind on the scorecards does little for him. He needed a KO and a take down isnt going to get him there. And Davis is no slouch on the ground.

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    How does Phelps fit in? Does the ufc have different types of fights? one where you are only allowed to fight on the ground, or on the feet? No not at all…they dont care how you go about your fight because its YOUR fight, you arent fighting so the guy eating chips n drinkin beer somewhere has a good night, you are fighting for your livelyhood. As long as you are entertaining the crowd and bringing in money they dont care if the fight never hits the ground. Whether or not a fighter wants to risk taking an L and being cut is his decision, however you cant fault a guy whose job it is to win fights who says he wants to stand and bang because of course he sees himself winning the fight. Anyone going into a fight thinking they are going to lose needs to change professions. I cant believe in times such as these people have such a problem with other people trying to get money.

  • EamonJGod says:

    “There’s also something dangerous about the mentality Zuffa has inspired in many of its fighters by offering bonuses that often exceed the fighter’s regular purses. It has created an atmosphere where winning isn’t a fighter’s main goal.”

    That’s just stupid. No one decided to throw a fight in a ridiculous fashion by standing with some one they weren’t on par with to win a fight of the night award. They were both trying to win, and Lytle was expected to be the better striker of the two. So how is it dangerous for the sport that Davis stood up with him and won the fight with his keen countering and was awarded for it? Winning was Davis’ main goal the entire fight, same goes for Lytle. People are going to show their skills and fight where they feel comfortable. You offer them more money they’re both going to try harder, that’s not a bad thing, and it’s not going to lead to scripted fights. You people have no faith in the integrity of this sport. For a second I thought this BS was coming from Caplan and I was sorely disappointed, but it’s just some jerk-off sports writer trying to be the devils advocate to the UFC. If you don’t like how Dana run’s things you need to take a good hard look at this sports history and realize it wouldn’t exist in this country if not for him. He knows what he’s doing leave it at that.

  • EamonJGod says:

    “Just for the record — the NBA enacted a lot of rules changes after teh success of teh Pistons and the Knicks playing stifling, physical defense. Those teams were the impetus behind the “flagrant” foul rule, and making hand-checking on defense illegal, and things like that.

    So, yes. People did object to those teams.

    Also, see the Patriots victory over the Colts that got the rules changed about downfield contact between corners and wide receivers.

    People want to see exciting events. This is nothing new. It’s not a loss of integrity, it’s business.”

    Same thing with Hockey and the Devils trap defense problem. You’re just wrong about a lot of stuff today Snowden.

  • EamonJGod says:

    And sorry to NJMMA fan for reposting something you already said, and sorry to Snowden for calling you a Jerk-off sports writer. You should just know this stuff better is all.

  • madheartmma says:

    I think the 2 guys liked to bang and the both respected each others style, and thought “hey this guy fights like me, I’d like to fight him just to see how I’d do againts someone who likes to fight like i like to fight.” I mean I dont know that, I didnt even see the fight cuz i’m poor,but you gotta respect that these guys admired and respected each other enough to say hey “I’d really like to fight you,” I dont think that by them saying this is gonna be fight of the night, year century etc. is a bad thing, they just knew that by the way they fight it couldnt help but be a good fight. I wish Lytle would of won, I wish that he would of banged then taken him out with a submissin, that’s the only thing i see wrong with the ” lets stand the whole time” thing, it does take a little away from seeing the whole arsenel ( did i spell that right?) of the fighters…., they should fight again.

  • EamonJGod says:

    If people like us continue to bicker about it on the internet maybe they will have a rematch.

  • D.Capitated says:

    I find it ironic that everyone is condemning Lytle and Davis for agreeing to keep the fight standing when I have read interviews from both where they deny it and say it was a product of the media.

    The quotes are readily accessible. They were even mentioned during the fight. If you say “we talked and we’re not going to the ground to win FOTN” and then you both do everything in your powers to not fight on the ground and you win FOTN, the overwhelming likelihood is that they probably intended to do that.

    elsewhere:

    How does Phelps fit in? Does the ufc have different types of fights?

    Apparently based on gentlemens agreements; yes.

    That’s just stupid. No one decided to throw a fight in a ridiculous fashion by standing with some one they weren’t on par with to win a fight of the night award. They were both trying to win, and Lytle was expected to be the better striker of the two.

    When he wasn’t winning standing, he didn’t attempt to win any other way.

    Same thing with Hockey and the Devils trap defense problem. You’re just wrong about a lot of stuff today Snowden.

    Then, as argued before by the author, change the rules. But in the past when companies have talked about doing quicker standups and the like (EXC), people went ballistic about how it affected the legitimacy of the sport. Instead, they’re subverting the rules through alternate methodologies and basically mocking half the sport by calling the initation of grappling “for pussies”. Probably not the way the UFC wants things to go forward unless they are actively looking for criticism from sportswriters.

  • king mah mah says:

    @ D.Capitated- hey you never answered where Phelps fits in. You simply can’t compare mma to a swimming event that uses a particular stroke. I’m sorry but that’s a weak point dude.

  • king mah mah says:

    My point about the PPV’s was mainly that if people are constantly bored when ordering them that they will cease to buy them. Therefore, more exciting fights-more PPV buys.

  • HexRei says:

    Jonathan wrote:
    I’m not accusing them of doing this. But they announced their intention before hand to attempt a “FOTN” and placed winning this cash bonus ahead of winning the fight.

    If a fighter can guarantee himself FOTN just by staying on the feet and swinging for the fences, then certainly some of the blame lies with the UFC for making their preferences so apparent.

  • Benedict Smith says:

    boxers have had this mentality in the past, Emmanuel Augustus and others, greats often carried fights (Archie Moore etc), in order to not have fans pissed at a one round affair ala Mike Tyson….read up on your fight history, this isn’t something new to the fight game/combative sports….in fact, in the old days of boxing, often veterans wouldn’t unnecessarily punish a man they respected if he was over the hill etc, opting to carry him to a decision rather than punish their man unnecesarily.
    -another instance of “MMA” “reporting” that shows a lack of depth of knowledge concerning the lore and deep history of the fight game…….read some books on the subject. looks like almost anyone can get a job writing about mma online.

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    Yea show me proof that “gentlemans agreements” are a problem in mma. Considering the ufc was dead when dana took it over and since he has turned it into a booming business, i really doubt these alleged agreements are that big a problem. Nobody bitched when rampage and wandy didnt take each other down. I demand a review of that fight and we can all bitch cause neither of them went for a takedown.

    Lytle -“Back to back fight of the night honors would definitely make me very happy. That’s my main goal this year, when people hear that I’m going to be on the card I want them to want to order the pay-per-view because they know it’s going to be an exciting fight. I want to be in high demand and I want people to want to see my fights.”

    Snowden-Winning “Fight of the Night” — that was his main goal. Not winning fights, just fight of the night honors

    Tell me how a professional such as yourself can possibly twist his words any more.

    “Back to back fight of the night honors would definitely make me very happy.”
    Aka-It would make me happy that my boss and the fans feel i consistantly put on a good show.

    “That’s my main goal this year, when people hear that I’m going to be on the card I want them to want to order the pay-per-view because they know it’s going to be an exciting fight. I want to be in high demand and I want people to want to see my fights.”

    Aka-That is my goal, to consistantly put on a good show every time i fight, so that hate me or love me, fans will be excited to see my name on the fight card because they know im not going to be boring.

    He also used the words “Im expecting a stand up war.” which tells me he isnt sure what davis is going to do. Plus you have a quote in your own article from davis saying they didnt plan anything out.

    Also-Show me a source for the quotes where davis and lytle agreed to not take each other down, or have a mixed martial arts fight, as well as the quote where the UFC itself, as well as davis and lytle, said that the sport they promote and participate in, is for pussies, and real men are kickboxers. If you cant produce a source im going to have to assume this is your opinion or an assumtion, and as a writer you should know better.

    A. Announced before hand their intention not to have an actual MMA fight.

    B. That they and the promotion both played up the idea that MMA fighting is for “pussies” whereas real men are simply kickboxers

    As for C, im sure i can take this as your personal opinion/observation, which is fine. However, to say he was clearly outfought is a bit of a stretch seeing as though there was nothing other than stand up to judge, and it ended in a split decision. Had he been cleary outfought it would have been a UD. A couple of times Lytle looked to be one landed punch away from a KO bonus while he had davis on the cage. Of course he would feel he could end it, call it male pride or just pride in his own ability to fight. And this is hardly one step removed from prearranged power bombs, chair shots and hidden razors for blood effect. This is davis n lytles job we are discussing, who are you to decide how they need to do it. They dont walk in to your job and slap the keyboard out of your hands for posting a thread that can be construed as a mild form of fighter bashing, something that is a direct violation of your sites rules. And yes, comparing an MMA fighter to a WWE actor i imagine would be highly disrespectful and aggravating should a fighter see this.

    C. Lytle was clearly outfought standing but still refused to try his advantage on the ground, placing commerce ahead of integrity. It is one step removed from guys agreeing in advance to try certain moves, techniques and choreographing certain exchanges in the name of “entertainment” and winning a bonus.

  • Jonathan Snowden says:

    “boxers have had this mentality in the past, Emmanuel Augustus and others, greats often carried fights (Archie Moore etc), in order to not have fans pissed at a one round affair ala Mike Tyson….read up on your fight history, this isn’t something new to the fight game/combative sports”

    This is NOT what we are discussing. Neither of these fighters was carrying the other to a decision in order to please the crowd. This would be like Archie Moore announcing he wasn’t going to jab because fans prefer power shots. And then he and his opponents actually not throwing jabs throughout the fight. It would make a mockery of boxing. Unless you’re Roy Jones. Then, that’s just how you fight….

    “My point about the PPV’s was mainly that if people are constantly bored when ordering them that they will cease to buy them. Therefore, more exciting fights-more PPV buys.”

    But isn’t this part of the problem? Why is the UFC training fans and fighters that fights that go to the ground are boring? That’s what the sport is!

    “another instance of “MMA” “reporting” that shows a lack of depth of knowledge concerning the lore and deep history of the fight game…….read some books on the subject. looks like almost anyone can get a job writing about mma online.”

    This wasn’t reporting. It was an opinion piece. And whether you agree with me or not, I think it is fair to say I’ve done my due diligence exploring the past of this and other combat sports.

    “If you cant produce a source im going to have to assume this is your opinion or an assumtion, and as a writer you should know better.”

    Of course it was my opinion. It’s an opinion piece. My opinion was based on Lytle and Davis’s contention that the first one to take the fight to the ground was a “pussy.” That’s a big part of MMA. They were saying that taking it to the ground was for pussies, standing and kickboxing (therefore) is for real men. They said this explicitly and Joe Rogan also repeated it multiple times.

    “Same thing with Hockey and the Devils trap defense problem. You’re just wrong about a lot of stuff today Snowden.”

    I might be wrong. The world would be pretty boring if we all agreed all the time. But these rules changes are not comparable to what is happening here. In all those cases, the sporting leagues changed the rules. The NBA didn’t offer Joe Dumars a cash bonus not to guard Michael Jordan. They changed the rules to make it harder for him to do so. You see how those things are different? They will be the same if/when Zuffa attempted to change MMA’s rules to prevent extended groundfighting.

  • EamonJGod says:

    No ones trying to bar ground fight/grappling from mma, these guys just wanted to strike. That’s fine be me even if they talked about it before hand, which as it shows they didn’t speak to each other and plan it out, they both just said they wanted a standing war and to get fight of the night. I submit you take these ridiculous opinions of yours to a reputable mma gym and tell them you want there to not be a FOTN Bonus because they fight like WWE superstars, and bring a video camera too to document it. I’m sure you’ll be very upset that they don’t take the fight that ensues to the ground.

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    You are entitled to an opinion, as everyone is, but you cant say things like your A and B points without a direct quote, or else it just sounds like its what you thought they meant or what you decided it meant. Every fighter in the UFC is in THE big league of mma. Theres no way an ambassador of the sport would put down other fighters by disrespecting their style and calling them pussies. Also in response to your comment on dumars v jordan, you are comparing throwing a game by not covering the other teams best player, and possibly best player of all time, to the ufc giving incentives for exciting fights? Its not like UFC paid davis or lytle to let the other tee off on them for the entertainment of fans. You are making it sound like u want to accuse the ufc of fixing fights or something crazy like that. I never once heard Rogan or the villiage idiot goldberg speak ill of jiu jitsu and fighters that use it either.

    4 out of 10 top ranked HW in the ufc are mainly grapplers (nog, lesnar, randy, mir)
    4 out of 10 MW in ufc are known to like grappling(Leites,Hendo,Okami,Marquardt)
    4 out of 10 WW-(Karo,Kos,Sanchez,Hughes)
    3 out of 10 LW-(Pen, KFlo, Sherk)

    So yea…grappling as we know it in the ufc is overwith…all them nobodys in the top ranks of the world…Relax…you will still get to see okami lay boringly on someone for 15 minutes if you want to, cause its his style. However…dont watch chuck fight cause he doesnt go to the ground…not his style.

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    Also, may i add that the ufc makes no promises of you as a fan liking all of their fighters or their styles, and understands not everyone likes machida, or okami, or kos, bisping…so they arent the only fight on the card. The UFC is good enough to give us a minimum of 5 fights on PPV, and sometimes the undercards. So fans who like whatever style are going to see the kind of fighting they enjoy at some point.

  • Grappo says:

    I agree with Snowden for the most part. I didn’t at first, but as the fight wore on, I was thinking many of the same things. I like Lytle a lot. Not so much Davis, but whatever. It was actually frustrating to watch him continually get beaten to the punch, and not adapt his strategy… Not because he didn’t have the skills to, but because he agreed ahead of time not to.

    Someone earlier mentioned Gurgel. A fairly apt comparison in this instance, and that’s not a compliment.

    Maybe I’m just disappointed because “my guy” lost. Maybe I wouldn’t be bothered at all if Lytle had won.

  • Anonymous says:

    This piece was weak. These guys are strikers, power punchers. Can you blame them for using their strong suits? Sounds to me like snowden has a bad idea of MMA. Apparently if they’re not rolling they’re not practicing MMA. Get over yourself, kid, I’m sure you had no problems watching the fight as it was happening. Do you also get upset when you hear jiu jitsu guys saying “I’m gonna break his arm” and then attempting to do just that?

  • Roman says:

    I have no problem with fighter incentives. FOTN and whatnot. What I do have a problem with is the belief that a fight that takes place on the ground is ineligible for that bonus.

    I’d like to see some stats on what type of fights tend to win FOTN. If there is money, and a good bit of it, actually pushing the sport away from the ground, then I have a huge problem with that.

  • NJMMAFAN says:

    Good point roman, i agree. If there were evidence suggesting the bonus is straying the sport away from regular competition then id be against it as well. however i see no problem with offering money for guys to give it their all for.

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