MMA has come a long way. The first UFC took place in 1996, where a scrawny Royce Gracie stangled all comers and took home the title of “The Ultimate Fighter”. The event turned the martial arts world on its head, and put Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the casual American practitioners radar as the most effective individual art.
Soon after, the idea of specializing in a single artform quickly went to the wayside, as fighters cross trained in multiple disciplines in search of the perfect combination. This resulted in the realization of certain fundamental truths, previously summarized by Bruce Lee and a few others; in a fight every option is live, you better know how to deal with everything. Fighting is the ultimate problem solving test, where gameplans and preparation are great, but a seamless ability to fighting at every range is the pinnacle.
For two decades, professional fighters have hammered out the details of the best way to fight for MMA. The preparation now far exceeds the simple ability to fight everywhere, you must also be able to do it for fifteen to twenty five minutes at a time against another highly trained shark. Strength training, steroids, cardio, and wrestling reign supreme in this finely tuned engine of competition.
Yet in this world of overhand rights, mohawks, and loud talking bravado, there exist certain warriors who stand tall above the others. Their existence is plain to see, evident in their every movement, their technique and timing, and their ability to fight long. The sport recently lost one of these modern ninjas destined to bask for eternity in the glory of Valhalla. His name was Christopher Curtis, and he retired following a lead head kick KO victory on Dana White’s so called Contender Series. This came after a career of body punching, head kicking, and flying knees that is best watched in binge sessions.
When these stand out soldiers march to the hallowed cage, the people are compelled to take notice. Whether you’ve seen their violent capabilities before, or are magnetically pulled to their truth of their conviction, you won’t go to the bathroom once their performance has begun.
Nick Diaz is another of MMA’s Ninjas currently sitting in retirement. But the same as Curtis, he follows other avenues because he isn’t being properly compensated for his skills.
Pay him 5 million baseline and give him a PPV bonus. Will you make it back in PPVs? Maybe maybe not, but if you promote him then at least you’ll have a chance. And don’t tell me that Nick doesn’t like to do promo as an excuse. Use already existing footage, and let the man train.
You have to make investments in your business, it can’t be all bottom line. Stop burning fighters and putting them on the sideline in their prime. Match them up right, give them full training camps, and pay them tons of cash. This goes for Nate as well, Nick’s younger brother and fellow ninja. These are proven veterans, bonus winners, and two of the most popular fighters in the game.
Penalizing fighters who for having integrity is non sense. This isn’t a typical 9-5, these aren’t average guys, and you need to lock down every one of MMA’s ninjas.
Why? Because it legitimizes a sport that is starting to need it thanks to the UFC’s shenanigans.