(Who knew keeping your back against the cage was effective defense? This kept Vitor’s knee from ending up like Willis McGahee. Pic Props:Ryan Kightlinger)
By Jason Moles
Yesterday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, your all too friendly, neighborhood reporter-humping, cage fighter made an appearance. And, as per usual, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson left the MMA world with a lot to talk about after withdrawing from UFC 153 and using TRT to trading verbal jabs and “F*ck you!”‘s with former TUF 10 contestant, Matt Mitrione. What was more notable from the interview was Jackson’s criticism of light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and his dirty, dirty knee kicks.
Vitor took the fight on short notice, and this is how you respect him, by kicking his knee backwards and stuff like that? He’s supposed to be a man of God. You can injure somebody, you can sever their career. You can mess people up for life kicking their knee back like that and he does it repeatedly, over and over. To me that has no honor. I take a lot of honor in fighting. He has no honor.
The former Pride and UFC champion went on to question why the athletic commission even allow “stuff like that” to be legal, arguing that if Jones keeps fighting dirty like this, he’ll put everyone on the shelf and won’t have anyone left to fight. As it would turn out, he’s not alone. TheScore.com’s Adam Martin took to twitter to voice his displeasure of the use of linear kicks to the knee as well and reminded his followers that the CSAC already bans the technique.
Just because one state bans something doesn’t make it a good decision (yeah, I’m looking at you New York!). Remember the craziness surrounding the Adlan Amagov/Keith Barry fight on the undercard at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman? Never would’ve happened if everyone fought under the Unified Rules – which allow linear kicks to the knee – but I digress.
You remember when Kenny Florian was in a bloodbath or two and some people wanted to ban elbows? It’s the same argument all over again. All opposed complain that the usefulness of the strike in question is limited and is simply doing more cosmetic damage or causing career altering injuries than actually getting the fighter closer to victory via traditional methods like a knockout or submission. Conversely, all proponents of the (mostly) legal tactics point to their effectiveness at rocking opponents or allowing a fighter to keep an opponent at bay.
Question: Who doesn’t like razor sharp elbows or discombobulating knee strikes? Answer: Anyone who has ever faced a fighter who used them and couldn’t find a way to stop them. Here’s another question for you: What makes the type of kick Jon Jones utilized against “Shogun” Rua and Vitor Belfort (let’s not forget Carlos Condit using them recently as well) any more dangerous than a heel hook? After seeing an injury like this, are you going to tell me you’re more worried about some dinosaur’s knee because of a simple kick? Didn’t think so.
I’m convinced there will always be percentage of the population that fully embodies the “Just Bleed” mentality. The idea that mixed martial arts is little more than a glorified street fight fuels their desire to see defenseless grounded fighters have their face caved in with a devastating knee to the mouth. These people crave gratuitous violence and if given their druthers, would award fighter’s bonuses for soccer kicking their opponents head into the crowd like a Mortal Kombat fatality. These people would set the sport back a decade if they ran the athletic commissions.
Supporting the tactical use of certain attacks, however “dirty” others may perceive them to be, does not qualify you as one of those people.
Watching world-class athletes square off in the Octagon to test their skills is not for everyone, after all it is still (for the most part) two guys balling up their fists trying to punch each other’s lights out. But if it is for you, there are far more threatening problems facing fighters today than the type of kick Jon Jones used against Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on Saturday night. It’s time we realize fighters are going to get hurt from time to time and more often than not, the injury will occur long before his music hits the speakers. Stop worrying about guys getting jacked up during a fight and focus more on keeping him from getting sidelined during practice. (Yes, we’re talking about practice.)