Arbitrary Punishment of Fighters
“You should have known better than to try to cheat the system, and frankly I’m a little disappointed in you.” (Photo: DissectMMA.com)
If it isn’t clear to you why some fighters are given slaps on the wrist while others get fired for virtually identical behavior, allow me to spell it out for you: M-O-N-E-Y. Your top-level mixed martial artists are valuable, proven commodities, while your lower-tier competitors are wholly expendable. To be fair, it makes sense. It’s the same reason that your boss can stroll into the office twenty minutes late, but you’ll get fired the first time you burn someone’s fries.
To a certain degree, I don’t care if they ban someone for a failed drug test or give them a new bag of needles, as long as the punishment is uniform. The same goes for deliberate fouls, excessive trash talk, criminal charges, etc. When one person gets away with it, the rest of the group assumes they get a free pass as well, but that’s hardly the case. And as we’ve seen in the cases of Torres, Fitch, and Karo, punishments are as easily reversed as they are arbitrarily instated.
We have a clear list of do’s and don’ts for behavior inside the cage, along with a list of punishments for those crimes. Is it a perfect system? No, but at least all of the cards are on the table and both fighters and fans know what to expect when someone runs afoul of the rules. A similar set of rules for actions outside of the cage would be a welcome change as well. I’m not suggesting that the UFC start micro-managing fighters, controlling what they do and say until we have hundreds of perfectly respectable GSP-clones walking the straight and narrow. But I am in favor of the UFC deciding what is important to them, taking a few minutes to jot it down, and drawing a behavioral-line in that sand so that fighters and fans alike can know when it’s been crossed.