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Dan Hardy Clarifies Statements On Wrestling, Admits (Gasp!) Strikers Can be Boring Too

(VidProps: UK Telegraph)

The UK Telegraph posted part two of its video interview with Dan Hardy this week, leading up to Hardy’s clash with Carlos Condit on Saturday night at UFC 120. Though the video is titled “My secret weapon after losing to Georges St. Pierre,” Hardy doesn’t mention anything about GSP or his secret weapon here. Hopefully, that’s coming in part three. What Hardy does do in the above video is a bit of clarification about what he meant to say while he was ripping into wrestlers in a recent column he penned for his hometown newspaper. Once again – as we’ve already discussed –  Hardy seems far more sensible when you hear the words come out of his mouth than when your read them on paper.

The five-time UFC vet explains that even though he actually wrote the words, “the problem is there’s beginning to be too much wrestling in UFC Octagon,” he didn’t mean it as an insult to wrestlers, per se. Like, what would give you that idea?

“It was quite broad, the opinion that I was giving,” Hardy says here. “It wasn’t necessarily aimed at wrestler as such. It was aimed at people coming into a fight and avoiding the fight. The same could be said of strikers at times. My first fight in the UFC was very frustrating. I fought Akihiro Gono at UFC 89 and for 15 minutes I chased him around the Octagon. There wasn’t really any engagement from him at all … We’ve seen a trend recently of wrestlers not avoiding the fight but not coming to finish their opponents. They’re using their wrestling to control the fight rather than (do) damage.”

See, pretty reasonable, right? The interesting thing here is that his marks the first time I can remember someone stopping mid-bitch about wrestling to concede the truth that punch-oriented fighters can be just as guilty of turning in snore-worthy efforts as grapplers. For example, though Hardy pretty much calls him out for it here, very few people criticize a guy like Gono for going the distance 31 times in 55 fights. Instead, we focus on how funny his ring entrances are. When Lyoto Machida wins five of his first six UFC fights by decision, people call him the best in the world. When Jon Fitch does it, people call him boring.

“Wrestlers recently have been using their wrestling to just avoid losing,” Hardy continues. “Now obviously the rules are more well established and the judging is more well established. People know the judging criteria and they can kind of play to it. Clinging on to someone’s legs or taking them down and burying your face in their bellybutton for 15 minutes, to me, isn’t winning a fight, you know what I mean? You’re making no effort to get your opponent out of there before the final bell. That’s really my issue.”

Point taken. The unified rules, as currently stated, reward control and dominant positioning and oftentimes judges do give more credence to a go-nowhere takedown than it actually deserves. The problem is, as much as some people don’t like to watch wrestling in MMA, any of the so-called available “fixes” for the so-called “problem” would only make things worse.

Nobody wants to see even more power conceded to referees and judges, many of whom can’t handle the responsibilities we already afford them. Yet that’s exactly what would happen if you try to encourage refs to take the initiative for more frequent stand-ups or change the way judges credit takedowns or even implement a Pride-style yellow card system. That last option would be particularly disastrous. You really want to give referees like John Schorle and Steve Mazzagatti more power to affect the outcome of fights than they already have?

“It’s a very grey area in the sport,” Hardy admits. “It’s a very difficult area to approach and a problem to solve. I think more than anything it (comes) down to the fighter. It’s their responsibility to get in there and fight.”

Damn it. I hate it when this guy is so levelheaded.

Cagepotato Comments

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dranokills- October 13, 2010 at 6:42 am
All I care about is Dan Hardy smashing Carlos Cunduits face come this saturday.
If both of em come to fight it will be quick, painful, and fun as hell to watch.
I will take Hardy over Conduit via KTFO!
fatbellyfrank- October 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm
@ Hulksmash, I like the idea, I really do, anything that makes fighters go flat out for the win is a good thing IMO, however, what about situations like Sunday, where Diaz clearly beat Noons (unless your compustrike) but you have to give the win to Nick, he clearly won.
Win bonuses only go to fighters who decisively finish fights, and as I said above educate the officials, watch Mark Bocek, he's like watching anacondas fuck he keeps so busy with his wrestlin, he, and guys like him should be rewarded for technique and aggression, but there is a huge difference between the way he goes about his ground game as opposed to say, Jake Shields
MediumRare- October 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm
@ TheHulkSmash

You make some good points. However, I have seen fights that went the distance and had a clear winner.

Perhaps only a unanimous decision should be counted a win? (But judges will still find a way to fuck that up, e.g. Machida v Shogun 1.)

Or perhaps only finished fights should be awarded win bonuses?

Nah, fuck it. I like the idea. Finish the fight or it's a draw. Def see some balls-out fighting in that case.
fatbellyfrank- October 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm
As fried Taco says, the mix will keep getting mixier, but the refs and the judges need to be upskilled in some areas, they need to be able to recognise the difference between lay n pray and aggressive ground control, what I mean by this is if a guy is constantly working on his opponent, improving position, trying to sink in subs, thats trying to win the fight. If your just laying on your opponent hoping the clock will wind down you need to be stood up, pure and simple, and if your just holding your opponent against the cage nullifying your opponent, bring em back out to centre cage.
We need Herb Dean to run training programmes for anyone who wants to be an MMA ref, because there IMO is the cause of the problem, MMA organisations have no control over the refs and judges appointed to their fights, as it should be, but then we have refs and judges who are awarding points for shit that doesn't deserve points, and then not scoring for stuff that has a huge influence on fights. Leg kicks are a prime example, Cecil Peoples thinks they dont count, but effective and aggresive leg kicks are one of the best techniques you can use for taking away your opponents stance, range and willingness to continue exchanging.
I could go on forever, but my main point is, I dont think we need to change the rules as much as we need to educate the officials.
TheHulkSmash- October 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm
I said above that any fight that goes the distance is a draw, if people want to get win bonuses and build impressive records, they should have to finish fights.

You argue that one fighter can "dominate" but not finish a fight in 15 minutes. Incorrect. My definition of dominate means finishing the fight. 15 minutes is a damn long time.

You argue that people will aim for a draw to avoid a loss. Wtf? My system provides an unprecedented incentive to FINISH. If you don't finish you don't get a win bonus and you don't improve your record. You think no-name fighters who finally get a chance at a big name are going to go in there and "try to eke out a draw"? That's what you'd try to do with your chance at the big time? Anyway, it would be obvious and the person would never get another fight. After all, we're all going to be watching.

You argue that some fights "just can't be finished" and that failing to arbitrarily pick a winner would cause a shit storm. JUDGMENT FAIL. Once fighters understand the rules they're going to have to fight less smart and take more risks. Once people get used to seeing finishes every fight, they will be angered by a 15 minute battle that doesn't go anywhere, no one will want to see a "winner" declared after a stalemate. However, if it's an all out war where both guys just completely destroy each other we can always call it fight of the night and give them both fat bonuses for trying.

What you say is true - fighters won't want to fight guys who are hard to finish. Good thing fighters don't really get to pick who they fight. Also - a lot of the guys who are "hard to finish" are going to have to take more risks if they ever want to get wins instead of draws.

RwilsonR- October 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm
I think Fried taco makes the most sense. If you simply have better trained judges, and keep this melting pot of martial arts cooking, the problem should solve itself. If not, then San Shou will be the next big thing, right? Lots of stand-ups there.
MediumRare- October 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm
Hardy is on the money.

Stop scoring takedowns. Wrestlers and grapplers can score points and finish fights with gnp and submissions. Make that their motive for the takedown and we'll not see any more habitual lnp cling-ons winning fights.

But, shit, this presupposes we have judges that actually watch these fights.
BigBear145- October 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm
Some of the comments here are just idiotic.... WHAT HE SAID WAS stikers, wrestlers, or whatever your background is should have an obligation to finish the fight whether by submission or knockout. I am a wrestler and i AGREE. I believe the scoring system should be set up towards damage. I think submission attempts should be scored, i think slams should be scored not simple takedowns. Im not going to go on forever but i think scoring needs to be set up where the goal is to inflict damage.
Fried Taco- October 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm
The fighters will evolve. Right now we have wrestlers with a little or no BJJ skills, and BJJ guys with little or no wrestling skills. Eventually we will have fighters with both high-level wrestling and BJJ skills, so escapes, sweeps, and submissions will become more common. Just like when someone with good wrestling skills decided to learn stand-up, they were able to prevent take downs and then knock people out. The Mixed in MMA just keeps getting Mixier.
Shifty- October 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm
I'm all for BJJ, and even wrestling at times, but burying your face in someones sweaty bellybutton for 15 minutes... well that's just lay and ghey.
Rarghface- October 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm
I was thinking of signing up for CP for quite a while, but never had the reason to. Now I do. For this joke.

What's the difference between Jon Fitch and GSP?

GSP has fans.
Dr. Cagelove- October 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm
I can't believe that people have the following irrational line of reasoning:

1) MMA rules and regulations no longer accurately provide and judge a MIXED martial arts fight.

2) Referees and judges (theoretically) cannot be held liable for following defined (potentially amended) rules

3) Any changes to the rules would not produce a better event

We have reached the highest possible level of sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts Combat. Your frustrations with restraint holds stifling fights will continue and you must accept that this is the best version possible of the sport.

The least we could see is more frequent restarts with warnings and point liability for stalling. Fighters can run away, clown, stall, or even hide behind a ref and still get points for the round. Changes will help.

jeanclaudetransam- October 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm
This debate is really interesting to me. In my opinion, the scoring system and the judging criteria used needs to be changed in order to discourage the sort of smothering grappling style used by fighters like John Fitch. I have some ideas but that would make this comment way too long.
RwilsonR- October 12, 2010 at 12:44 pm
If we take away decision wins and make them draws, then at the very least, it sounds like we are gonna need some new internet lingo -

TheHulkSmash FTD!!!

RwilsonR- October 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm
I love Pride as much as anyone, but old Pride rules don't solve this. Whoever wrote this pretty good article (besides the part about Machida - everyone said he was boring!) rightly recognized that more discretion in the hands of the judges is not better. Imagine Cecil Peoples with no justification for his decisions other than that he just thought a guy won the overall fight. At least now he has to justify it round by round, which occasionally means he might come closer to getting it right.

I'm not one that has a great solution, either. I think the author of this is right that most solutions create more problems. I think the only things that make sense come from a promotional standpoint and a fighter standpoint. First, the promotions need to further incentivise action and finishes. Second, fighters need to learn to overcome things like wrestling or be willing to put themselves at greater risk to earn a win.

For all the shit Dana White gets, he has at least tried to incentivise action. And he needs to discourage inaction. Jon Fitch should never be given a title shot until he shows a willingness to try to finish the fight. But on the fighter's side, Dan Hardy should never be given a title shot until he shows an ability to overcome even the most basic of wrestling positions, or a wilingness to expose himself to danger in an effort to get back to his feet.

It is a hard situation to solve.
dude- October 12, 2010 at 11:49 am
I love how the sport has evolved. I mean, yeah the first UFC's were exciting to see cause not many knew wrestling and only 1 knew BJJ therefore having fights (standup) that everyone wanted to see. And now everyone has to know wrestling and BJJ or u can forget about doing well in every fight. But the only thing that hasn't evolved are the JUDGES. Like Josh Thomson said the other day, "The judges need a clinic"...SERIOUSLY!
Jugger- October 12, 2010 at 11:33 am
Here is a simple and novel idea. Throw out the antiquated "boxing" scoring system and score the fighters based on aggression and damage. Period. End of discussion.

Penn vs. GSP is a perfect example. Penn destroyed GSP in the first round; pulverized his face and bloodied him up. GSP held him down for the rest of the fight and inflicted zero damage. After the fight GSP went to the hospital and Penn went to the blackjack tables.

Really, the idea isn't novel. It's old Pride rules.
munche- October 12, 2010 at 11:28 am
@TheHulkSmash: It encourages fighters to never take fights with anyone who is hard to finish. Chris Lytle? Fuck that, I can't get the finish in 3 rounds. Won't take the fight. Clay Guida? Sorry, bro. That guy is hard to finish! I've gotta think about the duckets! Only easy KO's for me!
Treebs- October 12, 2010 at 11:24 am

What about the fights that just can't be finished a la Wanderlei vs. Chuck where both guys were obviously trying to kill the other, but it just couldn't happen. Granted if that fight was 6 years ago we would have seen a finish, but would you really be comfortable giving those two a draw after a fight like that? Or most recently Serra vs. Lytle? I think the draw instead of decision would just cause more of a shit storm.
Judo_Chop- October 12, 2010 at 11:21 am
@ TheHulkSmash

1) There are clearly fights that are dominant for one fighter but go the distance, they should still get a W

2) This could lead to people aiming for a Draw by simply not loosing (Oleg vs Shamrock ?) which is the same thing as current aiming to not loose. i.e. if you are a nobody vs a big name a draw would still be great for your career and brand name
Judo_Chop- October 12, 2010 at 11:16 am
I 100% agree, takedowns are huge on scorecards because they "exhibit octagon control", thus a TD stuff should be almost as worthy as the fighter is deciding NOT to go to the ground.
TheHulkSmash- October 12, 2010 at 11:13 am
I have thought about this problem a lot and here is the fix that doesn’t break the system: Introduce the draw. It’s as simple as that - either you won the fight through a submission or a knockout in the time allotted, or it was a draw. In the event of a draw no one gets a win bonus, because no one won. You don’t make it to the top of your division by getting draws.

Fighters now have a huge incentive to finish fights. They want the win bonus, they want the title shot.

The best part? This rule eliminates the need for judges.

I challenge anyone to find a flaw with this solution.
Jesus Frijoles- October 12, 2010 at 11:05 am
I come from a wrestling background and I think that some of the freestyle wrestling rules would help. Escapes and reversals should count.Make submission attempts from the bottom count like a jab. Make a slick reversal as valuable as a takedown, give and escape or a shot stuff value. Call stalling at 30 seconds if no damage is being done.
831 Father- October 12, 2010 at 10:52 am
Why is the MMA media still talking about that Dan Hardy article?

If people had basic reading comprehension and/or read a little slower, this whole shitstorm of "Dan Hardy attacking wrestlers" could have been avoided.
Admiral Allah Ackbar- October 12, 2010 at 10:49 am
I'm sorry, but NO ONE said Machida was exciting until he Knocked out Evans. I was among many who thought Silva was an aberration.