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To Tap or Not To Tap?

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If the choice is to tap or not to tap, in general I'd say tap.  The idea that you are weak for tapping is an idea rooted in machismo run amok.  Yes, some people tap very early and don't have the kind of composure you need when struggling against a threatening submission attempt.  But the idea that you are a de facto wimp by virtue of tapping is asinine.  If you want to get choked unconscious, be my guest.  And if you're willing to sustain serious shoulder, knee, or elbow damage because you want to look tough, well, that's your professional career and health to worry about, not mine.  If being tough and unable to compete is your idea of making the right choices, don't let me stand in your way.

Joe Lauzon makes this point effectively in his Boston Herald TUF 5 wrap-up, yet actually goes one step further.  Lauzon argues it's ok to not tap if the reason is to maximize the time you have to escape a submission attempt.  Notable quote:

Less than two days after being crushed by Matt, Marlon was already trying to build himself up and talk about how he and Weems (who had their fights stopped by the referee) were better than Noah and Allen (who tapped out). Marlon, for some reason, thinks it's better to lose by TKO or being choked unconscious, than to tap out because you know you are caught. I have always had an internal debate on what's better: tapping out or going to sleep in the middle of the cage to be woken up in front of everyone. Getting choked unconscious can be embarrassing, but I think it's worth holding out and trying to get out with your last bit of effort because it could be the difference between getting out and possibly winning, or losing outright. However, Marlon is now trying to make his loss out to be better than Noah's, who would have been in a serious world of hurt and rehab had he not tapped, and had serious damage done to his shoulder.

It was a transparent ploy, and the guys weren't hearing it. Marlon says he will never tap in a fight. His career in MMA will be short-lived because sooner or later he will be caught in something that will do serious damage and he will be badly hurt. Or he will be shown to be a liar like the rest of his stories, and tap. Either way, he looks like an idiot.

There is nothing morally superior in deciding to let your opponent destroy you rather than acknowledging defeat.  Done the right way, there is nobility in surrendering.  Especially if you fought your heart out before being overwhelmed.