The following is an excerpt from in interview with Renzo Gracie Black Belt and GSP's BJJ coach, John Danaher from www.fightswewant.com :
FWW: Agreed without question. That aspect of the show is an interesting dynamic as it adds an additional mental stress that the fighters need to deal with as well as creates (clearly by design) a pressure cooker as the weeks go by, not to mention at times it has also led to the exposure of the fighters maturity levels (both good and bad) and or character flaws. What are your thoughts on this and are the coaches allowed to view any footage prior to the final edit that goes on the air?
JD: The concept of the fighters living in a house under conditions designed to create stress and conflict (primarily through boredom, intoxication and competition) is in interesting one. It illustrates well the close relationship between athletic prowess and entertainment value which is one of the most contentious areas of this developing sport. Is this a sport or a mode of entertainment? If it is both, how do we correctly weigh the value of each? For hard core MMA fans, the training and the fights are the prime appeal of TUF, for others it is the human drama which appeals the most. The coaches have absolutely no influence or control over the show and do not see any footage until the show is actually aired. By the time the six weeks is over, Spike has enough footage to portray any man in any way they wish between the extremes of sinner and saint.
FWW: John, as you know, in the early days of MMA in this country, specifically as it relates to the “The Ultimate Fighting Championship” (UFC), the tournament featured martial artists from different disciplines facing each other in no-holds-barred combat to determine the best martial art. Since then, the sport has evolved and it is not uncommon to see that just about any of the top 5-10 fighters in any weight class in any league have a high level knowledge and ability in multiple martial arts disciplines. That said, in the majority of instances the fighters still began training and studying in one discipline. As an instructor and trainer, what are your thoughts on some of the fighters that are getting into the sport now trying to learn “MMA” as a discipline in and of itself without a base style per se’?
JD: MMA is still a very young sport. As such, most of the current athletes began their training either before MMA existed or early in its existence. For this reason they began with a single style, wrestling jiu jitsu, Muay Thai etc. and branched out from there after they decided to switch from their original sport to MMA. Thus the current habit of beginning with one style and adding on others at a later date arose out of necessity as single-discipline athletes took on the new sport. Now youngsters have the option of beginning with the sport of
MMA as their foundation. The task of learning modern MMA as a foundational discipline (rather than each of the base martial arts that combine to make MMA) is interesting, but has an obvious problem - there are few, if any .....
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