On the way home from training last night (with both kick-box) we got to discussing injuries sustained while training. My wife (who has been just short of a "die hard" fan since we met 5 years ago) says to me, "didn't you once tell me that the chute boxe team in Brazil trainec at full speed? how often did they pull out of fights?" That got me thinking, how often did they pull out of fights? I remember fighters in Pride, not just the Chute Boxe Academy coming into the ring visibly hurt (black eyes, knees wrapped that hadn't been wrapped in previous fights).
I suppose it was different back then, when it was more pride fueled then money driven. I enjoyed Pride more then UFC, not because i think the skill was better, but because it felt like there was a lot more action, there was more heart. I suppose with the success that the UFC has gained it has become more business centered for the fighters and they are looking at fighting as a means to an end and providing for them and theirs, which i do not hold against them as i would approach it in the same way. Even in the low level training that i do now i am careful not to get hurt as it would effect my ability to provide for my family...
The days of the "we are fighters first" may not be gone, but you can find them on the under card or opening up PPV's and the business men who fight, fight for the belts.
As a small side note, my wife and i have set ourselves a challenge to have our first amateur fights with in the year, even after many fights playing hockey and after watching MMA/K-1/ADCC's for 8 years religiously, i can't believe i'm going to do it myself... I already am changing my view/respect for those that i watch on the highest levels.