There has been a lot of bickering among the MMA faithful as of late. The recent fights of Jake Shields, GSP, King Mo, and Gilbert Melendez have brought up some complaints about the amount of action in the ring. Some fans can watch those fights and admire the beauty of the ground game and the total domination of skill that those fighters possess. Others are completely turned off and call the fights boring.
Often, as leagues progress through their infancy, changes are made to add excitement. In the NBA, teams would often hold the ball throughout the game. They would use perfect passes and execution to score and keep faster moving teams at bay. Attendance started to fall and the shot clock was invented. With the invention of the shot clock, more possessions came and more shots were taken. At first there was a backlash for sports purist. "It’s the team’s job to get the ball out of the other teams hands not the ref’s job to tell them when to shoot the ball!" As time passed those comments faded and the NBA went a step father and included dunking and a 3-point line to hold interest in their sport.
Other sports have made similar moves to appease their fan base. The NFL incorporated penalties on defenders to drive up points and receiving yards. Baseball (AL) added the DH position to increase hits and home-runs.
There are two main ideas people seem to bring up when talking about MMA and rule changes:
1) Add a "Shot Clock". Give the fighter on top "x" amount of minuets to advance position or be stood up.
There are a lot of things that are bad about this idea and some worth listen to. Sometimes transition can take a long time depending on how good the fights are at the ground game. It may take a while for fighters to get to mount, but once there, the fighter is in arguably the best position possible for a finish. How can anyone penalize him for attempting to gain mount and finish the fight.
2) Changing the judging criteria.
Give fighters more credit for strikes and less for takedowns. Or give fighters equal points if no damage was done on the ground regardless of the take down. This seems like a logical choice, but in recent events the judges have gotten a lot wrong already. Why give the judges more to focus on and worry about?
I think the simple addition of allowing strikes to the head of a grounded opponent with knees or kicks would help. This rule would force less take down attempts and give fans more finishes like they want to see. What do you think? Does anything need to change to progress MMA to a more main stream sport?
(Please don't flam me too bad. This is my first fan post and my first article since English 101 in college. ;)