Photo by Esther Lin
My column for the Post last week, where I called for officials to be stricter on wrestling being used inside the Octagon to stall and ride out the clock without actually fighting, caused a bit of an internet storm.
I was just expressing my view, as a fan of the sport as much as a fighter, and I was happy to see a lot of fans out there agreed with most of what I wrote.
Sadly, there were some people who clearly couldn't grasp the points I was making.
The column wasn't about wrestling's place in MMA, it was about using wrestling purely to stall and avoid fighting.
Had I written the column after Kalib Starnes's effort versus Nate Quarry, it could easily have been about avoiding fighting by standing and running. Both are against the 'timidity' rule.
This isn't about my fight with GSP either. He beat me fair and square. I would have liked him to have tried to do more damage but that's only so he would have given me more space to get back up.
Obviously that's not something Georges was looking to help me out with. He controlled me well and worked for submissions and nearly got two if you remember.
The Nick Lentz fight at UFC 118, which was the catalyst for my column, was the only UFC Prelim fight to ever lose TV viewers.
That hurt the pay-per-view buy rate, it hurt Andre Winner's career, it hurt lightweight Joe Lauzon - who had an amazing performance immediately after Lentz's effort, which fewer people witnessed because of Lentz - and it hurt the sport as a whole.
While I agree with fighters like Kenny Florian and Nate Marquardt that working to improve your wrestling is the best approach to take as an MMA fighter if you're losing decisions to wrestlers, I agree with Hardy here.
Nik Lentz wasn't putting on an awesome display of technical dominance from top position. Lentz vs Andre Winner at UFC 118 was not comparable at all to, say, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal vs Gegard Mousasi or Georges St Pierre vs Dan Hardy or Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley or Jon Fitch vs anyone except GSP.
No. Nik Lentz didn't put on a wrestle-fest. He pushed Andre Winner into the cage where he was UNABLE TO COMPLETE THE TAKE DOWN for minute after minute.
Note that unlike Paul Daley or any number of other sore losing strikers who can't wrestle, Hardy has no complaint about his loss to GSP. He's strictly complaining about Nik Lentz at UFC 118.
Fights like Lentz vs Winner or UFC 105's Couture vs Vera or Josh Burkman vs Mike Swick at UFN 12 are a pox on all our houses as MMA fans. At least Burkman lost the decision, but in the other two cases both the refs and the judges failed to do their jobs.
Stalling is stalling whether you're Kalib Starnes or Nik Lentz. The continued success of MMA as a sport is dependent on it entertaining fans. Every professional sport -- be it the NFL, NBA or MLB -- frequently changes the rules to maintain the right balance of sport and entertainment.
MMA is no different. I don't believe any rules need to be changed to prevent future Lentz-Winner's breaking out and hurting events, but I do agree with Dan Hardy that refs need to be just as aggressive in breaking up stalemates against the cage as they are in breaking up stalemates on the ground (if not more so) and judges need to score the fights based on effective aggression and damage and true positional control.