Unintelligent Clarification: Cans, Journeymen, and other terms. (REVISED)

The online MMA community is an interesting bunch. We’re quick to deify a fighter after an exciting victory and just as quick to dismiss them after a loss. We throw terms around without knowing their meanings or origins. I’ve taken it upon myself to try and clarify some of them. This entry deals with the terms Can, Journeyman, and fighters that are "Shot" or on the tail end of their careers. I’ll try to give clear definitions and will provide examples of each term.

Disclaimer: I mean no disrespect to the fighters that I list, but the truth is the truth.

Let's start off with one of the most over used words in combat sports,

The Can:

The terms origins are from MMA's older brother, Boxing. The term itself comes from the comparison of a Tomato Can to an inferior fighter. They're cheap, easy to open (beat up), and just as easily disposed of. These fighters have little to no talent and are usually brought in to build other fighters up or be used during "Showcase" fights. Their records often have more losses than wins, and the few wins that they do have are against other low-level fighters.

Some examples of Cans in MMA:

Shannon "The Cannon" Ritch (46-73-0-4) - The many losses on his record read like a "Who's who" list of Mixed Martial Artists. And the wins that he does have are over lesser known fighters with losing records.

Shawn Nolan (6-46) - His record speaks for itself. Most of his losses came within the 1st minute of the fight.

Joseph "The Ho Bag" Bochenek (0-10) - He has more losses than all of his opponents wins and losses combined.



The term Journeyman has been around far longer than Boxing and MMA. It's original meaning is that of a craftsman that has been fully trained in a craft but has yet to create a "Master Piece". The same can be said for a fighter. They may have the tools and training to become a champion but something holds them back from doing so. More often than not this is caused by mental lapses, "Glass Jaws" (this will be addressed soon), nagging injuries, etc., etc. Journeymen/women usually have winning records but lose to MMA's Elite fighters.

Some Examples of Journeymen/women in MMA:

Joe "El Dirte" Doerksen (46-14) - Joe is one of the few fighters to have more than 50 fights under his belt. He holds notable wins over Chris Leben, Patrick Cote, and MMA Folk Legend Lee Murray. But he's never been able to thrive on the big stage, losing 8 of his 10 fights inside the Octagon.

Denis Kang (33-12-2-2)- Many of us cling to the memory of the Denis Kang that seemed unbeatable in PRIDE FC. When facing lackluster competition, he looks like a monster. But his more recent fights have shown that he breaks down mentally against high-level competition.

"Mr. International" Shonie Carter (49-26-7-1) - Simply put, Shonie Carter is the epitome of a Journeyman. He's fought some of the best in the world on nearly every continent. He's decent at almost every aspect of the game but he never was able to become a champion on the big stage.


Fighters that are "shot":

These are fighters that are past their prime. They may have once been prospects, contenders or even champions. But their glory days are far behind them. Some have too much pride to quit, while others have to fight for paychecks. They claim to be in the best shape of their lives during interviews, only to get embarrassed by younger fighters with far less experience. They probably still have winning records but they've racked up more than a few losses in their most recent bouts.

Some examples of fighters that are "Shot":

"The Worlds Most Dangerous Man" Ken Shamrock (28-15-2) - He's been in MMA since it was little more than a Kumite. At one point his nickname was arguably relevent, but these days he's a shell of the fighter that he once was. Steroids, Epic Battles, and (mainly) Legal Troubles have a lead him to his current situation. Fighting anywhere that he can get a paycheck.

Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge (23-21-1) - He will forever be remembered for elbowing the shit out of Paul Herrera's head at UFC 8. Since then he pretty much lost as many fights as he won. He lost his last 7 MMA bouts and hadn't won a Kickboxing match since '06. To say that he was shot might have even been an understatement. He was pretty much a human heavy bag when he retired. Which was painful to watch, since he's one of the sports pioneers.

Jens "Little Evil" Pulver (22-14-1) - Jens was once the Lightweight King of MMA. He was the UFC's 1st LW Champion and the 1st man to hand BJ Penn a loss. But personal demons dragged his career into a downward spiral. He's only won 2 of his last 10 fights, which has lead many fans to call for him retire. But the saddest part of his situation is that he has stated that he has to keep fighting in order to provide for his family.

Originally posted at Unintelligent Defense

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

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