During the prelims special on Spike TV for UFC 118 viewers were subjected to three rounds of Nick Lentz hugging Andre Winner against the fence in one of the most boring fights in recent memory.
Dan Hardy, a team-mate of Winner’s speaks out against Lentz and the current spate of ‘lay and pray’ wrestlers in his new column for local paper This Is Nottingham.
“And Nik Lentz didn’t come to fight Andre, he actually came to avoid one at all costs, like he’d be shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize and didn’t want to mess up his chances of winning it.
Lentz grabbed hold of Dre’s leg for three coma-inducing rounds, which the ticket-paying public clearly didn’t appreciate. It was a real shame he did that. The fight was live on American TV and a great showcase for both guys, but Lentz just didn’t want to fight.
He couldn’t take Dre down or get anything going on the ground. He didn’t want to strike and he didn’t go for any submissions, he just clung to Dre’s thigh like a sailor to a mast during a storm.”
Hardy then moves on to vent his frustration at the overall state of MMA at this moment in time, with an increasing number of wrestlers now finding success with a strategy that relies heavily on controlling an opponent rather than damaging them.
“You should work for 15 minutes to knock your opponent out, submit him, or improve your position to give yourself the best chance of doing either.
But there’s guys out there who just want to use wrestling to hold a stalemate for 15 minutes, without ever risking going for ground and pounds or attempting submissions.
This isn’t ‘cheating within the rules’ – it is actually against the rules. ‘Timidity’ is outlawed in the Unified MMA rules and what better describes the act of holding on to an opponent and waiting for the clock to tick down with no attempt or inclination to do any damage?”
Hardy, who faces Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 120 in October then goes on to call for a rethink on the rules in order to bring the situation under control.
“The Athletic Commissions need to look at the scoring and refereeing to stop this from becoming a problem. If a guy is in a dominant position, but not actually doing anything offensive – stand ’em back up.
If he is consistently trying to tie the other guy up to avoid actual fighting – warn him and then start taking points. It is supposed to be a fight.”
I wholeheartedly support Hardy’s stance here. Wrestling is an important aspect of MMA, and it should remain so, but it’s time to accept that the current system is now flawed and open to abuse. I’d like to see less emphasis placed on simply controlling an opponent and more focus on aggression and damage.
It seems like a fairly obvious decision to make, but it remains to be seen whether the powers at be will take heed.