MMA Statistics: Submissions Remain Steady Despite False Claims

Promoted from the FanPosts by Kid Nate.

Submissions have long been something that has seperated MMA from the other combative sports. K-1, Boxing, even WCL all have the "beautiful" artform that is the striking game, and while MMA has some of those aspects, we don't see the "beautiful" part of it as much in MMA because there are so many more aspects fighters must worry about.

Mike Fagan wrote an article recently countering Josh Gross's argument that submissions are on the decline in this sport. With some solid calculations, he came up with the conclusion that the rate over the last three years has remained steady at around 25%.

My aim is to take that figure and try to prove that it's heavily consistent with the overall landscape of MMA. By taking data used to calculate the Strength of Record statistics that were seen here at yesterday, I've come up with percentages that are very broad and almost cover all fights within the sport over the last 12 years.

The formula is quite simple. Total # of Submission finishes / Total # of fights, all grouped by Year.

2009   818/1979       = 41.33%
2008   4542/10470  = 43.38%
2007   4588/10541  = 43.53%
2006   3957/9006    = 43.93%
2005   2716/6121    = 44.38%
2004   2158/5064    = 42.62%
2003   2308/5089    = 45.35%
2002   1729/3863    = 44.76%
2001   1349/2756    = 48.92%
2000   1188/2314    = 51.33%
1999   1066/1916    = 55.63%
1998   726/1345       = 54.00%
1997   507/900         = 56.27%

Not only do Mike's calculations hold water in the broader landscape of MMA, but the above statistics show a steady rate for roughly a decade. The earlier numbers are either because most fighters fought against standup fighters who thought they could simply pummel jiu-jitsu/grapplers, or because there is insufficient data as to how many fights actually went on back in those days. Either way, submission rates have remained steady in the 43-45% range for the last few years and will probably do the same this year.

So, in a much broader sense, submission rates are not on the decline. They've remained steady for a number of years. In the limelight of the UFC, perhaps they have began to diminish, but I'd attribute this to the entire issue revolving around what makes an exciting fight and what the UFC likes in a fighter. That's likely the reason.

CORRECTION: Just realized my data has two sets of fights in it purposely for other stats, so I reran the statistics and they are actually the correct percentages, but the total number of fights is halved.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.