Lesson from Roger Gracie Loss Is One We Should Have Learned Long Ago



Roger Gracie's place in submission grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu circles in unquestioned. He is one of, if not The, greatest and most accomplished living grapplers. His technical prowess is unmatched and his move to MMA was celebrated by some his fans as the return of Gracie dominance to MMA, more sober observes predicted he would never win a major championship. 

Roger's focus has only recently shifted to MMA full time and he has shown advancement and improved striking, the race to round out his game is not one that he can win. While Roger is only 29 years old and his athletic life is far from over, entering his early 30s with an incomplete MMA game is not a blue print for long term success. Before the name of Randy Couture gets invoked, let me say that it was a far different sport when he entered the sport and at the end of Couture's career it was clear the sport had passed him by. 

The modern sport of MMA is becoming younger and younger, as prospects enter the sport as teenagers and developing well rounded games early in their athletic primes. As a result modern fighters are becoming more skilled (in the sport of MMA) at younger ages and the age of the specialists has passed. And Roger's loss to "King Mo" Lawal is not that milestone, it happened long ago. 

Rather Roger's loss is a continued proof that even if the specialists is supreme in his discipline, his time will come in MMA. Now the lessons of UFC 1 are still true today, grappling skills are still the bedrock of a strong MMA game. If a phenomenal striker entered MMA and the skill set of Roger Gracie was reversed he likely would not have been as successful in MMA. 

That said, single discipline fighters of any ilk are out dated in this modern MMA. There is the perception that MMA is dominated by wrestling, but these 'wrestlers' well rounded games often go unappreciated. Wrestlers don't come out of the NCAA with triangle awareness or guard passing ability. I've tapped made my fair share of collegiate wrestlers tap out and I'm far from being anything special. These skills are developed by hard work on the mats and that is to say nothing of the striking skills, which are completely unnatural to lifetime wrestlers.

Much of wrestler success is attributed to athletic prowess and while this is true, don't loss focus on the skills. Jon Jones' athletic gifts have a great deal to do with his success, but so does his speedy and seamless integration of Judo with his strong Greco-Roman wrestling to make him a nightmare in the clinch. 

It is important to remember that even while Lyoto Machida walks in with a Karate black belt around his waist and uses his karate footwork, that he is still training jiu jitsu with the Nogueria brothers, muay thai with Anderson Silva and wrestling with Phil Davis.

In short, what I'm saying is the answer to that idiotic poll Showtime forced down our throats on Saturday night, the most dominate discipline is not striking, wrestling or jiu jitsu. It is MMA and it has been that way for some time. 

\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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