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Escaping the Mount for Dummies

Yet another episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 6 and yet another oh-so mediocre fight. Let me state clearly: the fighters on this season's show are talented, but they are far too inexperienced for this venue. And every time they fight, it shows.

Last night's fight was intense and full of drama, but was it technical? Not really. I make my case over at 5 Oz. of Pain:

"I'm sorry, but that was one of the worst fights in TUF history. To say that War Machine has very little to offer from his back is an understatement. He had virtually no half guard, he was WAY too high on the back, he didn't tuck his glove under his chin to finish the choke, and worst of all, didn't try A SINGLE escape from Speer's VERY ESCAPABLE mount. Tommy was sitting below his stomach for crying out loud. His punches didn't have a lot of steam on them and not once did War Machine try to bridge to shrimp to half guard. That is BJJ 101. I'm sorry, but that fight sucked and I cannot believe the UFC is passing this off as A-level MMA."

I fail to see what's controversial about this, but I would be wrong. Reader "dizzle" apparently thinks I'm missing the obvious:

"Luke try being gased out and getting out of a mount. Plus these guys don't have days to rest before a fight like the real UFC Professionals. Look passed the fact that they have "UFC" in the title of the show and you'll see it was an excellent fight."

"Excellent"? Maybe reality show "excellent", but not UFC-level "excellent". I continue by demonstrating I didn't start watching MMA when Chris Leben pissed on someone's bed:

"Luke try being gased out and getting out of a mount."

Um, I have. A lot. A whole lot. You see, I trained and mount escapes is an important component of that. No one is saying it's easy. What I'm saying is that escaping the mount - tired or not - requires certain fundamentals that War Machine wasn't practicing. Making you tired doesn't mean your memory is erased.

If someone is mounted on you, you should always be moving trying to shrimp your hips out. Always. Always keep moving your hips. The WHOLE POINT of the mount is to leave your opponent with no way to use their hips. When you move, that makes your opponent's ability to stay on top that much more difficult. Moreover, you never actually SIT in mount. There should be distance between your ass and your opponents body because if you sit on them and they bridge, you stand a much better chance of getting bucked.

The key opportunity to escape the mount is when your opponent throws a punch. If you're bridging he should come forward, allowing you just enough space to shrimp your hips out and recapture half if not full guard. Tommy was LITERALLY SITTING ON WAR MACHINE. Not only that, he was sitting low. A good mount is right up inside the arm pits. Tommy was leaning over to punch for crying out loud. I'm sure Tommy is strong as an ox, but from a technical level, mounts don't get much easier to escape than that. War Machine could've given his back and it would've been better than what he was doing. Hell, roll to the side. At least from there you can tempt the arm bar and you stand a better chance of getting your hips outside.

Don't lecture me on mount escapes unless you've done them yourself. I realize these guys on the show are young and just need some experience. I'm not saying they're bad fighters, I'm saying they're inexperienced and it shows. Either War Machine doesn't know mount escapes (unlikely) or he abandoned them and spazzed out (more likely). Either way, that proves he's young in the fight game AND that this fight was very short of anything approximating "technical".

They both fought their hearts out and my hat goes off to them, but that doesn't in and of itself make it a great or A-level fight. Gameness isn't enough at the top.

This is why this season is no good. The drama of the reality show was tired two seasons ago, but at least there were experienced, high-level fighters who could dazzle you with their in-ring performances. But this crop of young fighters simply need a few more fights under their belt. It's not the right fit for either the show or the fighters, save Danzig and Sitoropolous. T.U.F. needs to address this problem in a major way. And soon.