Image via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
Despite only being 35 years old, Vitor Belfort has been around the sport of MMA for a long time. Most of us are aware by now that he was an early star in the UFC and has being fighting at the highest levels for a decade and a half. In a conversation with MMA Weekly The Phenom, who faces off with Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title this weekend at UFC 152, describes how the world of MMA has changed since he was coming up:
"I believe the fight world became a little complicated and fighters today have this mentality that things run on their time. Can you imagine in my era, they just throw you a pair of gloves and put you in an open weight tournament. Today you need a strategy, a camp, based on the opponent that you fight, and this way they are never ready for short notice fights."
He then makes a comparison to another sport, which actually sort of makes sense:
"I’m not denying that the level and the techniques have improved, but we have to be careful to not become like a Formula 1," Belfort explained.
"In the beginning, it was the driver that was important. Today is the car and technology that wins the race. The driver is secondary in the process. Fighters have to be ready to fight any time. Of course the ones who are in a recovery process from an injury are an exception, and this is acceptable."
He also understands that it's a business, but wants mixed martial artists to remember what they really are:
"I believe it is a balance," Belfort stated.
"You cannot take away the business part because we make our living off of the fight but we need to have our roots in what we are: fighters!"
The points he's making are kind of long-winded and definitely a bit too rooted in the past, but at least I can understand where he's coming from. Sort of.