Take The Fight – An Original Opinion Piece On The Oz MMA Scene
The Australian MMA scene is on the verge of getting stronger and stronger. This past week we saw the premiere of Australia’s (and the United Kingdom’s) own Ultimate Fighter series where two lucky fighters will get the one thing that every fighter in the world wants; A contract with the UFC.
Since the TUF try-outs many fighters, promoters and managers have found a common problem. Matching fights has gotten a little bit harder. In a nutshell the unsuccessful applicants were told to go out and win fights and they MIGHT get their chance at the next season. Reading between the lines some managers and fighters have taken this to mean that the only fights that they should take are “sure things”. It may be too early to assume this and it may not actually be the case and remember, I am just a quiet observer and not privy to what is said behind closed doors but the trend of taking the easy fights is really starting to become a reality on the local circuit.
Sure, I will admit that this is not the case for what I suspect is 75% of the fighters on the circuit but that 25% that are just looking to get the easy wins is slowly starting to increase, and as the broadened mainstream appeal of the “Zuffa Machine” starts to take over Australia I don’t see that number decreasing any time soon. The unwillingness to take tough fights isn’t what we are about as a country and it’s certainly not something the fans want to see. It’s starting to eat into the enjoyment of cards. Nobody wants to sit through and watch mismatched fights, it’s not what we love about the sport. We all love a close fight, we all love to watch a fight with that timeless expectation that “this is MMA and anything can happen”.
The bottom line is, to be one of the best fighters, you have to have a proven track record of beating the best competition. There are many names (in Australia especially) that a lot of fans would love to see put on a UFC card (and Dana White is bombarded about it almost daily) but the fact still remains, they aren’t fighting the best, they are fighting the easiest opponents. I am a dedicated countryman and I support our fighters with all heart but I think that some of them need to expand their horizons if they want to be taken seriously at the sports elite level. There are a lot of local names getting thrown around for the TUF Smashes finale that will not even get a consideration because of their victories being irrelevant. These are names that mean a lot in our very small pond but in the big bad ocean of MMA they don’t mean a whole lot and this is one case of where our seclusion from the rest of the world hurts us.
We don’t yet have a top contender at the top level of the sport. Realistically, we haven’t really come close in years and it’s for that reason that many Australian fighters have resorted to take their craft overseas to try and notch up wins against names that mean something. It’s as tough to read as it is to write but sometimes the truth hurts, being the best Australian fighter on the local circuit just doesn’t take the cake anymore and it will not get you a lookin to the biggest MMA organization in the world. With MMA now a worldwide entity more then ever, you have try and not only be the best our country has to offer but also our region.
If any fighters out there want to take some advice from someone who has never fought (and more than likely never will) it would be that getting a string of wins together don’t mean a thing if you won’t step up in competition, beating that guy who is zero and five isn’t going to have Joe Silva leaving a message on your answering machine at 3am. Taking the fight against the Trekko’s, taking fights against the guys who are looking to make names for themselves, that is what will get you noticed.
Take that hard fight. Take the chance, who knows you may even be able to bypass the whole reality show.