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Bum Rush Rant: Jorge Rivera is Sick of Round Winners Who Call Themselves Fighters

("Fight, you bastard. If you want to have a dance-off, I’ll kick your ass in that too.")

A hot topic of debate at Cage Potato lately is whether or not the recent trend of wrestlers who are content to win fights by earning decisions via take downs and lay and pray is hurting the sport.

We asked UFC middleweight Jorge Rivera for his opinion on the subject during the latest episode of The Bum Rush Radio Show and El Conquistador didn’t pull any punches when explaining his take on the issue.

Rivera, who squares off with fellow slugger Alessio Sakara tomorrow at UFC 122 in Germany, says that he specifically asked for the fight with the former pro-boxer because he knows that Legionarius, like him, is a fighter who always steps into the Octagon to fight.

"I asked for this fight. Alessio’s a great fight. He’s tough, he’s got great stand-up and he comes forward. I asked for this fight. I always want tough fights. I know he’s gonna bring it. I know it’s gonna be a tough fight. I know it’s no walk in the park," Rivera explains. "You’re gonna see a good stand-up brawl and one of us is gonna get knocked out. I’m alright with that. I give the fans what they want. This is what we do. We both no what we’re getting into and we both agree to it, so let’s do it."

He says that guys who time and time again seem to be content to take a decision by being conservative and just doing the minimum necessary to win are in essence stealing from the fans.

"I was a fan before I was ever a fighter. I’m still a fan and I’m a fan of even some of the guys I fight against. I like watching them fight for various reasons. I hate watching boring fighters. You’re gonna pay 50 bucks to sit at home and watch some guy be boring. They build up all this hype around this guy and a guy puts you to sleep and you’re like, ‘What the fuck!?’ I’m not the only one. You’ve got ten million people who say the same shit. That’s not what I want to do. I want to be the exact opposite," Rivera explains. "When my name is called up, I want people to be like, ‘Hell yeah!’ because they know there’s going to be a fight. Even with this fight they know their gonna get a fight with me and Alessio. They know that. Everybody knows that we’re gonna fight. I know he’s not gonna run from me, he knows I’m not gonna run from him, and you know we both throw bombs. You guys know you’re gonna get your money’s worth. If all nine of the fights suck, ours isn’t going to. You’re gonna remember our fight for sure. That’s what I want."

Although he didn’t name names, by process of elimination it would seem that Rivera was referring to Jake Shields when he mentioned the fighter who didn’t back up the hype that surrounded him, especially in the follow-up description.

"Some of these guys are round winners. They do just enough to win the round. If that’s what they want to be known as, cool, man. You do your thing and I’m gonna do mine. More people are gonna want to see my fights than they will yours. What good is it being a champion if no one can remember the last five guys you fought? What does that say? Everybody has their own reasons for doing their own things," he says. "They’re getting paid to do their thing and I’m not gonna knock anybody for doing what they do. I just choose to do it differently."

Having fought for 11 years, Rivera says one thing he learned early on is that being overcautious is not the way to make new fans.

"The worst thing is trying not to lose. That’s the worst thing. I’ve fought like that and I looked back at my performance and I was like, ‘That sucked. That fight sucked.’ I know I only have so many fights left in me. I want people to remember me. I want to be remembered as a guy who wasn’t afraid to fight and laid it on the line and showed the world his heart," he explains. "That’s what’s up. Say whatever you want to say about Jorge Rivera, but he fought every time. Every time he was on a freaking card, he came to fight. That’s what I want people to remember me by."

As a fan, Rivera says there are a number of fighters who he enjoys watching compete because, like him they know how to toe the line between being competitors and being performers, which are the two things he strives to be in every one of his fights. 

"I love watching guys like Clay Guida, Diego Sanchez, Nate Diaz, Marcus Davis – they all come to fight and everyone wants to see them fight. When people hear they’re on the card they’re like, "Hell yeah! I can’t wait to see their fights,’ because they know they’re coming every single time. They know their jobs and they get it. That’s the problem, some of these guys don’t get it. You’re an entertainer. First and foremost you’re an entertainer. People pay money to be entertained by what you do. Take that into consideration when you’re in there banging out. That’s not to say you should throw caution into the wind and say, ‘Fuck it. I’m gonna wing it and hopefully I’ll connect with something.’ Use your strategy, do your thing and be smart, but come on, man, fight! Don’t run away from him. Fight him."

Jorge says that one thing that will return MMA to the exciting sport it used to be isn’t a change in the rules, but rather  a revision to the way judges score a bout as a whole.

"We need to have a better scoring system. You have guys who play games. They run around the whole round and they get a takedown and they hold them down and they win the round. It’s bullshit. It’s not a fight, but they’re manipulating the system and they’re winning like that. They say, ‘H didn’t hurt me and I got the takedown — I took him down and I won the round like that.’ That’s great. You did a great job, buddy. Pat yourself on the back. Go home and sleep well. If that’s what you think a fight is, good for you," Rivera says. "A fight to me is two people engaging in a battle where one dominates the other or overpowers the other. In the process, it goes back and forth. That’s why it’s called a fight. It’s not easy, man. It goes back and forth or one guy just runs through the other guy; that happens too. It’s a contact sport. Make it a contact sport. Don’t bang out."

Cagepotato Comments

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Mike Russell- November 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm
 Maybe they need to go back to the original format of no time limit so that fighters actually win fights rather than out-point their opponents.
KarmaAteMyCat- November 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm
Yeah sorry its not a fighters Job to entertain you. It's a fighters job to win Like it or Not thats how it works get over it cause None of them are losing sleep over it.
Fried Taco- November 13, 2010 at 9:10 am
How Karma plays chess:

He takes a pawn from his opponent, then he stalls until his opponent gets tired and falls asleep.
Master_Betty- November 13, 2010 at 7:45 am
Go back to bed. You suck at posting.
KarmaAteMyCat- November 13, 2010 at 6:34 am
First off it's to fucking early for me to be awake. Secondly Good for Jorge I hope he gets knocked out tomorrow. The scoring system doesn't need to be changed for anything ACCEPT to include Submission attempts. The fight game involves a lot of chess like moves and I have said this multiple times in the past week ALONE. Jorge Rivera you can go do your thing while the rest of us do OUR thing but they wont be changing how the scoring works just because you effectively can't beat beat a good wrestler that would be your problem. Also does anyone remember our Good Buddie Jorge getting submitted by the one and only Lee Murray?(You know the guy who stole 90mil in euros) I do. Hey Jorge learn to sprawl and stop getting choked OUT. I'm going back to bed.
andoy162- November 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm
he was actually referring to John Fitch.
it's ok for a fight to go to a decision as long as it is a helluvagood FIGHT .
stopdrinkingpee- November 12, 2010 at 9:09 pm
Agreed with previous commenters -- he had me until Clay Guida. Dude's full of energy, but a "round winner" is precisely what he is. He's been in some exciting fights because he's got terrific cardio and is good at getting beat up.

I generally agree with Rivera's larger point, but I can't endorse the notion that everyone in MMA should just stand and bang. Top-notch grappling and skilled submission artists are a huge part of the appeal for me. But lay-and-pray, wall-and-stall, I'm done with. It's boring, and it's bad for the sport. Same with guys who tie up from guard and pray for a stand-up from the ref. Learn how to get up or develop an offensive guard, but don't stall.

I think I have a pretty high tolerance for this sort of thing. As long as you're trying to do something -- ground and pound, sub attempts, improve position -- I'm okay. For all we bitch about Gray Maynard and Rashad and Jon Fitch and sometimes even GSP, I'm mostly okay with those guys. I'd love if they finished more often, but at least they usually stay active. I have a bigger problem with guys like Jake Shields and Chad Mendes and Kole Conrad, who aren't actually MIXED martial artists. It's like I'm back in the '90s watching guys win with nothing but BJJ.

That's the thing about Rivera's comment, though. I don't want to watch guys (or girls) who can't do anything but kickboxing, either. It's better than LNP, because at least something's happening, but I like fighters who can compete wherever the fight takes them, and who are always looking for a way to do damage or threaten with a submission.

Ultimately, I blame the refs more than the fighters for this sort of problem. If there's no action, make something happen. The fighters are looking to win, and LNP is an easy way to win with most refs, so they'll do it as long as they're allowed. There's a third person in the cage with the power to prevent it from happening.
KidDinomite- November 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm
Yeah the scoring in a fight needs to be changed. No points for takedowns. I've been taken down in training many times. Unless the guy taking you down slams you then yeah, it doesn't hurt. It might put the guy in a better position but I don't think points should be given, especially if he's gonna lay on you.
Tardjitsu- November 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm
I'm agree with Jorge, but we can't really blame the fighters. The unified rules reward this kind of a fighter.
Master_Betty- November 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm
I'm glad all these fighters are calling out the point sparring wrestlers.

As for Clay Guida - well, Greg Jackson is ruining him.
Fight Fan- November 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm
So, MMA but no wrestling?
Yazloz18- November 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm
It may hurt the sport and while I love watching a guy like Rivera get in the cage and throw down the wrestlers who dry hump opponents for 15 minutes to tend to stick around longer so its really a thin line to walk as a fighter
darciesdaddy- November 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm
I'd have to disagree about Clay Guida being an exciting fighter. It was cool to see him bounce around for a couple of fights, but he's become just another humper to me. He humps hard and fast and for 15 full minutes, but still gets boring.

I'd have to admit, though, that his fight with Diego Sanchez was wild. He didn't win, and it still went to a decision, but it was a great fight.
Mr_Misanthropy- November 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm
Give me a hoorah for the home team!
Lysol- November 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Is it possible to not like this guy?
El Guapo- November 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Jorge Rivera +1000