What do point fighting and steroids have in common? More than you might think. Call it a stretch of the imagination if you will, but I consider both to be a lowdown way to cheat the system and achieve victory through the sacrifice of integrity and the warrior spirit that this beautiful sport is meant to represent. I am tired of seeing the warrior mentality of many fighters be replaced by their desire to simply notch a W in the record books. I am tired of seeing athletes, not fighters, step into the cage. But most of all I am weary of fighters do anything but what they are supposed to do; fight.
On February 4th, I was ready. Ready for two of my favorite fighters of all time to step into the cage and prove to the GSP's, the Fitch's, the wrestlefukers, the point sparrer's (?) that you know what, it's damn well possible to throw down without sacrificing technique and skill. That you can get two high level Mixed Martial Artists capable of coming into the cage with their only intention being to finish the other man and if that wasn't possible, leave it all in the cage trying.
I told all my friends about this fight. I showed god knows how many highlight reels, slurred Diaz interviews, Condit death grimaces, and KO/sub finishes to anyone who would pay attention. I sold this fight like I was Dana Fucking White, because for once in quite some time I believed in what was to take place on this night. I am a broke ass college student, and I took $55 out of my grocery money to show this fight at my house (as well as another $30 in alcohol) to make this something special. I promised everyone that this would be the fight that made lifelong MMA fans out of all of them. It was gonna be fight of the year! I mean, what's the worst that could happen? In all honesty the only thing I was scared of was Diaz getting cut open by an elbow and having the fight stopped prematurely. What occurred instead made a small part of my die on the inside. I felt like Forrest Griffin after the Silva fight; unfairly beaten, abused, and never the same.
What I saw was not fighting. It was a gameplan designed to cheat the system. It was taking advantage of the loopholes in our imperfect MMA system that allow for fighters to finangle their way out of the true objective of the sport. Finish your oponent. If you can't do that, at least throw everything and the kitchen sink at him. To be fair, the gameplan in and of itself was not the problem. Stick to the outside, throw leg kicks, don't get caught against the cage, don't get sucked into the phone booth brawl that Diaz thrives in, all these are excellent ways to win a fight. But at NO POINT did it appear that Condit wanted to finish Diaz. And that is where I find fault in his fight. In my opinion? Greg Jackson told Condit hey, no one can finish this guy. So we're simply going to gameplan not to lose. The leg kicks were soft. The combos lacked any real ooomph if you will. And for nearly the entire fight, Condit walked or ran backwards. Cmon son.
In this way point fighting is much like steroids. They are easy to get away with, allow for a significant advantage over someone not up to the same shenanigans, and detract from the courage and testicular fortitude of everyone else. It takes away from hose who would rather accept the insanity and challenges that this sport presents them with with nothing but a never say die attitude and hard nosed approach towards training and fighting. It's cheating, but with an asterisk; just as most people don't suffer consequences for point fighting or fighting not to lose, neither do most fighters who use steroids. Sorry to burst your bubble, but easily 3 out of 4 proffesional Mixed Martial Artists are on some sort of performance enhancing drugs from my personal experience. I've trained at 3 or 4 gyms, and and while that number varies place to place, it is definitely in the majority at the professional level.
Maybe I'm an idealist. Maybe the sport will never reach a point where there are fighters who only make it because they work hard, have talent, and that edge to go into a fight and do the damn thing. Fighters like Fedor, Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, Chuck Liddell, fighters that know that taking someone down and just controling them isn't fucking fighting. Go for a submission, an elbow like Tito Ortiz, donkey kong gnp like Munoz, something that isn't just stalling so you can win an eventual decision. This sport is about more than squeaking your way by until you get a shot at a belt, then holding onto it for dear life. This sport is about who is the pound for pound baddest man on the planet. And if you can't come out and do something every fight to prove your the bigger, badder dog on the block then get your ass back in the gym until you can.
Diaz should have fought better, he should have adjusted his gameplan accordingly to what Condit was trying to do. I understand not every fight will be fireworks. Some of the most brutal fights I've ever seen were battles of wills that barely involved blows. But this fight had no excuses. Both fighters had the chance to go toe to toe with submissions, strikes, grappling, and willpower that could have determined right then and there who the baddest 170lb fighter in the world was. And Condit backed down. It sounds cliche, but honestly we're not the ones who missed out last Saturday night. It was Carlos Condit. He had the chance to get taken to that dark place deep down every real fighter knows, the place where you get into such deep water you're not sure if you're going to drown. Where you truly have your back against the wall; the place where you get to see what you are really made of. But he would rather get a capital W on a piece of paper somewhere than test himself to the fullest extent humanly possible and a shot at everlasting glory.
Its a daunting task, one that 99.99% of the humans on this earth don't want any part of. But on the other hand, that's what makes Diaz so captivating. Because he's the .01% that will go to that hell anytime, anywhere. So to swagger jack Chael Sonnen, I think Nick Diaz is the true people's champion. And Condit...well Condit is still a hell of a fighter, and I hope he beats GSP. But he's no Michael Bisping. And he's no Natural Born Killer.