And in this corner...
October 25, 2006 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Last week, Pride Fighting Championships had their American debut in Las Vegas. Pride FC is a Mixed Martial Arts organization from Japan that boasts a lineup of fighters arguably superior to those of other MMA groups. Their heavyweight champion for example, Fedor Emelianenko, is considered the best MMA fighter ever by most fight commentators. They are famous for their operatic production values, regularly filling out 30-60,000 seat arenas in Japan. However, many in MMA circles assert that their product is "too foreign" for the US, and that they need to "Americanize" their product for the mass market. Is this true? Given the popularity of video games, Anime and Manga in the US, they might not have to change all that much.
posted by ishmael (68 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I actually caught a little of a Pride Fighting broadcast last week. I wouldn't call it "too" Japanese or anything, except maybe waaaay too brutal. It left me feeling a little creepy, like perhaps I had watched some little girl's father getting the shit kicked out of him and possibly disabled for life just for a little cash and some sort of dubious fame.
posted by nevercalm at 11:07 AM on October 25, 2006

The name always make me think "Oh cool, is this a GLB thing?".
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I agree that it's brutal, but perhaps the surface damage is misleading. Boxing is far more dangerous then mma, because of the repeated punching and power that padded boxing gloves allow, which lead to longer term injuries and deaths. In mma, you just can't punch as hard and as often as you can in boxing, and there is also a ground game which focuses on wrestling and submission techniques rather than striking, which are also less damaging in the long term.

But yes the fighters do get knocked out and cut. Perhaps that is more for a discussion of whether all fighting, including boxing, should be curtailed.
posted by ishmael at 11:21 AM on October 25, 2006

Oh, Fedor ♥. Check out this highlight video, especially the fight at ~7:15.
posted by boo_radley at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2006

I always felt that traditional boxing was pretty silly as an attempt to offer some kind of mythical 'gentleman's fight'.

But this is pretty brutal (and brutalizing) stuff.
posted by loquacious at 11:28 AM on October 25, 2006

That's interesting, that the gloves may actually cause more damage that they prevent because the fight lasts longer. Is that an actual statistic, or something you're just thinking about? I wonder about damage from one or two really good short, sharp shocks vs the long-term but padded pummeling of boxing. I could see both sides, somehow.

Still and all, can you look at the guys in these videos and think that they're not suffering long term damage? They start to look like the neanderthals in the ge*co commercials after a little while.

Despite all that, I think I'd be against any sort of legislating against boxing, ultimate fighting, pride fighting, whatever. You do what you want...I just wish I lived in a society that didn't get such a thrill out of ponying up big bucks to watch two grown men beat the everloving shit out of each other. But I don't, and "bumfights" grows ever more popular.....
posted by nevercalm at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2006

......."than," of course.
posted by nevercalm at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2006

At first, watching boo_radley's video, I was thinking this stuff wasn't all that big a deal, just some massive lunkheads flailing away. But dang, that Fedor is a seriously, seriously bad dude.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:40 AM on October 25, 2006

Oh, and tell me the Asian woman wiping away tears isn't the wife of the guy getting his face pummeled in. Because that's just cruel.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:42 AM on October 25, 2006

This is no more brutal than UFC. And, yes, it is too bad that it doesn't get more press here.

In Europe, K-1 and Pride are both huge.

For those of you horrified by the "brutality," rest assured that fighting of this sort is an art and - at this level - these men know what they are doing.

Just look at UFC here in the US. In the beginning, it was a little out of control and the guys were doing a bar-brawling type thing. Then, people started realizing that it took more than being "tough" to fight. Guys started to train in mixed martial arts (particularly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Muay Thai) and it turned into more of a science.

Sure people get knocked out and bloodied up, but they don't subject themselves to harsh abuse on a daily basis. These guys train for months for fights like this.
posted by pwedza at 11:51 AM on October 25, 2006

This is one of those topics which I, unfortunately, know little about. But from friends who follow this, I had always heard that the best ever at this stuff was a guy named Gracie... a fact I always found to be too awesome.
posted by dios at 11:53 AM on October 25, 2006

That asian woman wiping away tears is an announcer, I believe.

And yes, Fedor is frightening. He's among the most complete fighters ever: he has a good judo background, and easily chucks most people to the ground; he has incredibly fast, hard hands, and hurts people with them both standing, and on the ground after throwing them; and should you actually manage to put him on his back, he can submit you from there, as this fight shows.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 11:54 AM on October 25, 2006

dios-Gracie (Royce is probably the one you're thinking of-there are many brothers/cousins) was at the top of the sport around 93-94.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 11:57 AM on October 25, 2006

How does the Pride fighting style compare with UFC? Are there any substantial differences?

How would an average Pride fighter do in the octagon versus the other way around?
posted by event at 12:03 PM on October 25, 2006

nevercalm, here's a pretty good article.

And thanks boo_radley, that was the original hl reel I was looking for.
posted by ishmael at 12:03 PM on October 25, 2006

The name always make me think "Oh cool, is this a GLB thing?".

That's the first thing I wondered.

A few months aho I had an arguement with a TG woman about rainbows and the word "pride" because I find it offensive that I can't put a rainbow sticker on my car or use the word pride in many contexts without assumptions being made about me or my intent. Some things deserve more respect than they are given.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:03 PM on October 25, 2006

I'm actually a new pride fan, having just seen Final Conflict Absolute. The best match of that event was CroCop v Silva (warning: extremely violent video). Plus, I just downloaded Final Conflict 2003 just to see the last time Chuck Liddell lost.

I've been a fan of UFC since the beginning and figured I'd check out Pride. It is a much different beast than UFC, just a little more brutal, different fight format. I liked the different feel of it though. It's nice to see some diversity in MMA. I hope they don't change it.

Thanks for reminding me about the latest pride event, I've have to download that now.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:13 PM on October 25, 2006

There's another highlight video of a match between him and his brother (in a Sambo school, iirc) and part of the video is their training routine -- punching tractor tires and chopping wood for strength training. It also shows Fedor with his family, where he's just a big teddy bear.
posted by boo_radley at 12:21 PM on October 25, 2006

Emelianenko is amazing to watch, he seems to pull out so many different tricks depending on the stage of the fight and the style of his opponent to get the job done. Ultra-violent poetry in motion. I wonder what David Foster Wallace would write about him?
posted by peeedro at 12:23 PM on October 25, 2006

Some of the main rule differences between PRIDE and UFC...

* Kicking and kneeing the head of a downed opponent is allowed in PRIDE but not in UFC.
* Stomping a downed opponent is allowed in PRIDE but not in UFC.
* (Non downward pointed) Elbows to the head/face are allowed in UFC but not in PRIDE.

Also, PRIDE takes place in a ring while UFC takes place in a cage. PRIDE does not use strict weight classes like the UFC, except for deciding a weight class champion. It is not unusual to see some odd looking mismatches.

IMO, MMA fights are far less brutal than American boxing, even though they appear far more brutal to the observer. The rule changes in the UFC in the past few years have been designed to make the sport more mainstream in the US and to appease the people who claim it to be too brutal. They now use light gloves instead of no gloves at all, for instance. They also transitioned from a tournament structure (the winner defeats 3 or 4 opponents in a single evening) to fight cards similar to boxing. As a result of this, we now see the surging popularity of MMA in the US.

Boxing takes away a fighter's arsenal, essentially turning a human into two padded hammers which bash repeatedly into their opponent, preferably their head. They are given rest periods between every 2 or 3 minute round so that they are able to get back up and give/receive more punishment. This stretches out the fight for an eternity, when a street or MMA fight would have been decided much earlier. I believe that boxing is far, far more brutal and much more harmful to the fighters.
posted by utsutsu at 12:25 PM on October 25, 2006

Maynard James Keenan (lead singer for Tool) FTW. [YouTube]

(Explaination: Tool is playing "Pushit" at show. A fan jumps on stage. Maynard studied Brazillian Jui-Jitsu under Rickson Gracie. Ensueth hilaritae. Maynard only misses singing about 6 words.)
posted by BeerFilter at 12:32 PM on October 25, 2006

Yeah there are some techniques that Pride allows that the UFC doesn't, and vice versa (Pride allows kicking, stomping and knees on the ground, the UFC doesn't. The UFC allows elbow strikes, Pride doesn't, unless they point down.)

But I would say that the most substantive difference between the two is the caliber of fighter. There are some great fighters in the UFC, Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Georges St. Pierre, but Pride just has the larger roster of the best fighters in the world, Fedor, Mirko CroCop, Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva, etc.

The example that comes to mind is Anderson Silva. He is the current UFC middleweight champion, but prior to that he fought in Pride and other organizations for a number of years. This is my personal opinion, but it seems that Silva's just used to a much tougher opponent than what he's faced in the UFC, and that's why after two completely lopsided, extremely quick fights, he's the new middleweight champion.

I think that both the UFC and Pride would benefit from having their fighters face competitors from other organizations to prepare them for for tougher fights and increase the fan base. I can just imagine the incredible rivalries. I hope Chuck Liddell does fight Wanderlei Silva.
posted by ishmael at 12:36 PM on October 25, 2006

MMA is much more of an art form than boxing.

MMA is developing and changing so much now, it's the birth of a new sport. And it's a fascinating chess-match that requires strength, intelligence, and study.
posted by Espoo2 at 12:47 PM on October 25, 2006

Don't forget your monocle and top hat on the way out, uncle harold.
posted by boo_radley at 12:48 PM on October 25, 2006

I can't for the life of me understand the appeal of this. is it like wrestling, only not staged and (judging by the name) with even more repressed homosexuality?
posted by ethocin at 12:49 PM on October 25, 2006

I like Pride better than UFC. For the rules sets mentioned above. Pride allows for a more diverse game.

The UFC the strategy is slightly more limited. Get your opponent to the fences.

The UFC is often either ground and pound or sprawl and brawl. Seeing EVERYBODY emulate Tito Ortiz or Chuck Liddel - IE: dropping elbows on downed opponents or throwing overhand bombs is frankly not enlightening for me. Though I am not bashing the athletes in the slightest. Liddel and Ortiz are fantastic fighters. But they will adapt to perform according to the rules they have to work with... the most efficient way to win. That is why in UFC you see much more heavy striking and not as much wearing people down working for submissions. For most spectators it's boring.

Pride has ropes. In Pride they will move fighters to the center of the ring if they go to the ropes on the ground - rather than stand them back up. That way the guy who worked hardest on the ground isn't ripped off by forcing the fight back to the feet. In the UFC a striker can stall up against the fences and wait to be put back standing.

Pride does carry some baggage. The early ancestors to Pride events in Japan were notorious works. More like WWF. The Japanese don't really seem to care if matches are works if they are well performed. A number of great fighters went to Japan because these worked matches had the best payday and it was SAFER.

Americans have such a duplicitous hypocritical attitude about sport fighting that many fighters could not make a living in the US without turning to Boxing or, worse, WWF. Where people REALLY got hurt. Sounds crazy huh?

Much of fighting is counter intuitive.

Somebody, Utsutsu, mentioned it above. Boxing, the gloves and rules structure, forces a fighter to stay standing and trade bombs well past the point he can safely do so. Concussive trauma is cumulative.

It's actually smart to turtle up or flop to guard on the ground sometimes. Make your opponent follow you there where big blows are harder to land. You can tie a guy up and rest on the bottom. This is why in the early days of NHB little guys, like Gracie, could beat big guys. That. And few knew how to fight on the ground.

Good thread.
posted by tkchrist at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Actually, Pride does adhere to weight classes, but every so often has an "Open Weight Grand Prix" where fighters of adjacent weight classes fight. However, you never have a situation where a light or welter weight fights a heavyweight. For the Wanderlei Silva/ Crocop fight, Silva ramped up several pounds over his normal fighting weight to fight CroCop, which probably made him slower and contributed to his loss.

And it's not an unheard of practice. In boxing and the UFC, you also have fighters gain or lose several pounds to change weight classes.
posted by ishmael at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2006

obligatory "i'd hit it" comment.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2006

Uncle Harold, please stop using such big words, they make my browridge hurt.
posted by fenriq at 12:58 PM on October 25, 2006

Yes ethocin, it's fags beating each others up. And it's actually called Mixed Martial Arts, Pride being a subset of that. Try to get it right, jackass.
posted by bob sarabia at 1:03 PM on October 25, 2006

That video is HILarious BeerFilter.
posted by ishmael at 1:04 PM on October 25, 2006

HighTechUnderpants: dios-Gracie (Royce is probably the one you're thinking of-there are many brothers/cousins) was at the top of the sport around 93-94.

Royce won the first couple of UFCs, but lost in PRIDE to Sakuraba; He's got to be talking about Rickson Gracie, who is unbelievable, and undefeated with an 11-0 pro record.
posted by Gamblor at 1:05 PM on October 25, 2006

Well. To be honest. Uncle Harold does have a point. Normally I'd lay into him. But I'm growing soft in my old age.

Let me tell you a secret.

A lot of fighters don't really dig the fight day part all that much. Let me explain.

They are driven to compete. They are driven to dominate and be better. However, ultimately, a sizable portion (NOT a majority but more than you'd think) fucking HATE that crowd and their inane gibberish and howls for blood. It's only an end to a much more enjoyable means.

UFC or whatever is the last step in the art form, the last phase in the physical expresion they are addicted to. They have to fight. And it's a pay day that let's them do what they love. Train.

Many of these guys also do straight up grappling competitions like Abu Dhabi. They want to beat guys. They want to win. But they'd like it to be honorable, pure, and not such a godddamned freakshow.

Another secret. I don't like going to these events either. I train with fighters sometimes. I hate that crowd. Most are fucking idiots. They have no idea the level of sacrifice the fighter goes through. The pain. The hard work. And they don't care.

They do pay the bills, though.
posted by tkchrist at 1:08 PM on October 25, 2006

Another thing that's misunderstood is that in Japan, much of professional wrestling were "shoot" fights, meaning that they were real. Royce Gracie learned this when he went to fight former Pride star Kazushi Sakuraba, who's background was "catch" wrestling.

I linked to this before, and it gives a good synopsis of the organization.
posted by ishmael at 1:09 PM on October 25, 2006

I haven't actually been to an event, but from what I understand, Pride fans tend to be respectful and applaud the fighting spirit win or lose.
posted by ishmael at 1:28 PM on October 25, 2006

Sure people get knocked out and bloodied up, but they don't subject themselves to harsh abuse on a daily basis. These guys train for months for fights like this.

People think they kill eachother all day. They don't. Though the trianing is really tough. It isn't like in Bloodsport or anything.

It is a science. You had guys who come from some deep athletic pools... collegiate wrestling and other sports and adapting to MMA fighting. But the trianing programs have been around for nearly twenty years now. It's getting honed to perfection. You got guys who WOULD have been olympic level athletes in whatever doing MMA.

I see these guys and I feel pathetic. Where as ten years ago I could at least nurse the dream from the Karate dojo four days a week. Now? Forget it. I can't even pretend anymore. They are elites who do this full time as a job.
posted by tkchrist at 1:28 PM on October 25, 2006

I was at that fight in Vegas. The over the top Japanese "operatic production values" and the "foreigness" of it made it extra good.
posted by gummo at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2006

I haven't actually been to an event, but from what I understand, Pride fans tend to be respectful and applaud the fighting spirit win or lose.

I have heard this, too. Why they may regret bringing it here.

My bud Dan trained at the Shooto Acamdemy in Japan. He said it was unreal the difference in awe and respect people showed at events.
posted by tkchrist at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2006

I haven't actually been to an event, but from what I understand, Pride fans tend to be respectful and applaud the fighting spirit win or lose.

I'm an uber wrestling nerd an watched quite a lot of Japanese stuff and thats how the Japanese audience reacts, its the total opposite of western crowds, where we would be screaming and shouting they sit still, almost silent.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 1:55 PM on October 25, 2006

MMA is where it's at. I really haven't watched a lot of Pride, but I've watched a ton of UFC wince UFC 1. Far more engaging than any other combat sport.

It has obvious utility beyond the cage/ring. It's pretty close to how a real fight would operate - punching, kicking, grappling, etc... . Anyone can sit down and start watching an MMA fight and know, somewhat instinctively, what's going on and forming opinions on what the fighters "should" be doing (i.e. it's easier to armchair quarterback).

Everything else is just too formalized and academic - perhaps even antiseptic. They're interesting on their own merits, but not as easy to relate too unless one devotes time to learning the intricacies of the sport (be it Boxing or Judo or whatever). Furthermore, unlike professional "wrestling", this is the real deal.

I'd love to see Fedor vs. a UFC heavy like Sylvia or Arlovski. I suspect Fedor for the win, and all I've seen of him are the highlight reels in this thread. Jesus, that guy is a beast!
posted by C.Batt at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2006

tkchrist - "Where as ten years ago I could at least nurse the dream from the Karate dojo four days a week. Now? Forget it."

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
-Hiro Protagonist (Neil Stephenson), Snowcrash

posted by porpoise at 2:31 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Gamblor- it's possible the referenced Gracie was Rickson, but it seems unlikely to me. While he's the acknowledged family champion, and in the eyes of many the 'pure incarnation' of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he did not, in his career, fight the best or brightest in MMA. He is in his mid-40's, and has not been active since Colliseum, which was in May of 2000. So Rickson's fan-base has always been smaller in the US than in Japan.

Total aside, really. But it's been impossible to say that ANY Gracie has been a dominant MMA fighter for a while. Which is not meant to deny their contribution to the sport, or to dog them at all-I've met several, and they were very cool.

And I'll agree with tkchrist, above. These shows are always semi-painful for me. I've done BJJ for almost 6 years, and really find the sport to be beautiful, when practiced by determined, trained athletes at the highlest level. And yet, my enjoyment of the events is often ruined by the loud, drunken rednecks who are shouting in the seats next to me. They rarely understand it at any level other than a brawl, and it's just a drag. I've been to some lower level shows only to see fights in the parking garage as I was leaving the event. Pretty depressing.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 2:38 PM on October 25, 2006

posted by Smedleyman at 3:18 PM on October 25, 2006

Wow, I've seen Pride before but have never seen Fedor fight. That video was amazing.
posted by Loto at 4:04 PM on October 25, 2006

It seems to me that Pride has better fighters at the top levels, but it also has a lot of people who were kind of washed up in UFC a long time ago (Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Vitor Belfort, even Robbie Lawler, all on the recent PPV).

I hope that Pride and UFC can start doing some more work together, trading fighters back and forth, matching champions together. The problem with MMA ever becoming fully mainstream right now is the different rules and formats in different organizations and the fact that fighters are contracted to a specific company and not allowed to fight who they wish.
posted by papakwanz at 4:22 PM on October 25, 2006

The best entertainer in the sport is Genki Sudo.

Amazing theatrics? Check.
Doing the robot mid-match? Check.
Giant flying dropkicks? Check.

He's the one fighter who looks like he came straight out of some cartoonish video game and I love him for it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:11 PM on October 25, 2006

Unlike the redneck crowd that likes to see blood pouring from facial cuts, the strategy in this sport is really fun to watch. You can almost hear what the fighters are thinking - close distance, break the guard, set up an armbar or choke, whatever. Watching two highly trained grapplers go at it is fascinating, especially with good commentators that can explain what each fighter is trying to accomplish, and what the other guy needs to do to counter it. Speaking of which, that Fedor clip was just awe inspiring (though you'd think a good striker would punish him with a stiff cross for throwing all those looping hooks). He gets suplexed from over 5 feet in the air, then less than 20 seconds later he has the submission win. Incredible.
posted by Nquire at 5:16 PM on October 25, 2006

Great thread. My friend called me from the intermission to rub it in my face that I was just watching it on tv...:(

I'm just glad I finally got to see that freakin lady with the amazing announcer voice. I always envisioned her as a squat little Japanese woman, all mean as hell, and she's actually some redhead american dressed up like a P.I.

Go figure.

The Mark Coleman and his daughters thing was weird, though. We were joking around during the end of the fight about getting his daughters out of there, after his eye swelled, AND THEY WERE ACTUALLY THERE. They were actually brought into the ring, started crying, and introduced to the man that had just reduced their big ol' strong daddy to a bloddy, puffy, crying mess. They got daddy's blood all over them.... WTF? Great stuff.

And ethocin, if you think someone getting the shit kicked out of him is erotic, hey, whatever floats your boat. I get turned on by women's shaving commercials. All in the eye of the beholder.
posted by dozo at 7:11 PM on October 25, 2006

Optimus Chyme,

I made a Genki Sudo highlight clip about 4 years ago. Maybe I can still find it and I'll post it up. He is really awesome.
posted by dozo at 7:13 PM on October 25, 2006

How much longer till we add animals to the matches, and give the gladiat-, I mean athletes, weapons?
posted by nightchrome at 7:19 PM on October 25, 2006

Holy fucking shit, Genki Sudo is now one of my top ten favorite people in the whole world. Awesome, thanks Optimus.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:26 PM on October 25, 2006

I half agree with you, papakwanz. But Lawler is someone who still has a lot of fight left in him, as he showed with that flying knee KO in his last fight. And Randleman, as many have said, he's got a lot of natural ability, and if he trained his ground game more he would dominate. I think of all of these fighters are still amazing athletes, just some have hit on harder times (ie. the terrible situation of Belfort's missing sister messing with his head).
posted by ishmael at 7:34 PM on October 25, 2006

Great thread!
posted by pwedza at 9:20 PM on October 25, 2006

This is a pretty wicked clip too --> Not pride. Just PURE BJJ!
posted by pwedza at 9:24 PM on October 25, 2006

My favourite was always Taktarov. Classy, scary guy.

I used to watch these matches a lot, but after awhile it got really boring and same-same. IMHO grappling (and that's what the Gracies are famous for) may be the best way to win these fights, but it is also incredibly boring to see.

As I recall, one of the UFC championships ended with two guys grappling for about 35 minutes, which was essentially like watching two half-naked men hug for a half hour while an arena full of other men cheered them on. The cognitive dissonance between the homophobic interview rhetoric and the visual reality of the matches can make your head explode.

Also, Tank Abbott is an ass clown!
posted by stinkycheese at 9:26 PM on October 25, 2006

Hm, just started watching the Pride las vegas event and apparently the athletic board in LV doesn't permit any use of elbows of any kind. Lame.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:30 PM on October 25, 2006

Oh also, the one thing I really hate about Pride is the female announcer. She sounds like Female Hitler or something.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:32 PM on October 25, 2006

Could these girls be the future women of Pride? (a little brutal)
posted by pwedza at 9:57 PM on October 25, 2006

stinkycheese, that's exactly why I got bored with UFC when I was first exposed to it in the mid 90s.
posted by flaterik at 10:00 PM on October 25, 2006

flaterik: nowadays, if they stay on the ground for a few minutes and there's not a lot of action the ref stands them back up. So the 35-minute grapple doesn't happen anymore. It's usually no more than 4-5 minutes tops.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:21 PM on October 25, 2006

stinkycheese/flaterik: also, there are guys who are incredibly fun to watch on the ground. I love the Gracies and all they did for the sport, but their technique is based on patience. Guys like Matt Serra, BJ Penn, and the great Frank Shamrock were awesome to watch on the ground.

Genki Sudo is one of my favorite fighters. I wish the UFC would bring him back (now that they've brought back the 155 lb division, maybe they will). And yes, Tank Abbott sucks.
posted by papakwanz at 10:34 PM on October 25, 2006

I like how Genki Sudo was all about world peace at the end of his matches.

The crowd at the Real Deal Vegas show apparently booed the NSAC special rules and the NSAC officials, who were sitting in front, when they announced them. ha!

And dag, I really like the female announcer. I know a lotta people don't but the theatrics of Pride events kinda needs a voice like hers. Pride matches would lose a little umph without her.
posted by ishmael at 11:00 PM on October 25, 2006

It's really neat to see how having a regular, formalized inter-discipline martial arts arena has served as a crucible to help progress traditional martial arts into the MMA we see today. Watch the first 10 UFC tournaments to see what I mean. (they're floating around on torrents here and there...)

Back then, Royce Gracie just rolled over his early opponents, because good BJJ absolutely dominates an opponent with no take-down or submission defense. But put him up against a modern fighter, say a striker with a good sprawl such as Chuck Liddell, and he'd get beaten to a pulp. Fighters adapted quickly, with kick-boxers incorporating grappling & BJJ into their striking and wrestlers adding striking & kicks to their grappling.

Traditional martial arts (and boxing, for that matter) has been demystified for me; we see in MMA what *works*, because fighters that used what doesn't work (sumo = wtf!?) got beaten and dismissed early on. It's not pretty like the kung fu movies, although the submission game is pretty neat; it's generally more of a scrap. And it's pretty clear that the old traditional, god-like martial arts "masters" (Bruce Lee, for example) that I used to worship wouldn't stand a chance against modern MMA.

I do like Pride, but I do miss the elbows of UFC. It does decrease the bloodiness of fights, but I that's mostly superficial damage; it just seems like a useful and obvious tool has been taken away from them. And I think Pride referees let some of the fights go on too long before stepping in. I watching a good fight, but I don't like watching an unconcious guy get beat on for 5+ seconds.

Still, it's good to have a little different flavor of MMA competition out there. Let's bring it on, come on!!
posted by LordSludge at 8:54 AM on October 26, 2006

Lord Sludge: A couple months ago, the UFC owners threw Royce Gracie in against Matt Hughes, the welterweight champ. Hughes completely dominated him. Most every serious follower of the sport knew it would happen, and the UFC owners were very happy; it was there opportunity to prove just how great the new breed of MMA-ers are than the early UFC fighters.

Also, all the MMA fighters train in boxing. Boxing *works* in a boxing match; its a sport. Boxing *works* in an MMA match when combined with other things as well. Boxing *works* in the real world even, to a certain extent; hell, I'm not going to pick a fight with a 105 lb boxing champ, even though I outweigh him by 70 lbs.

As for someone like Bruce Lee, well, he really was a god-like martial arts master. If you read is Tao of Jeet Kune Do, you'll see that he was basically talking about a kind of proto-mixed martial arts. He talks about punching, kicking, grappling, judo, jiu-jitsu... His basic philosophy is that "Jeet Kune Do" is just a name; don't get too attached to one particular art; take from all arts what works, what is efficient. His movies were one thing; he was fighting for flash and impressive visuals. His own philosophy of martial arts was far more advanced. I think that if he was around today, he'd train in MMA.

Re: Pride vs. UFC rules... I actually like the UFC rules better, largely. Taking away elbows means that fights might last longer without a nasty cut, but like you said, it's only superficial damage. I really think allowing kicks/knees to the head of a downed opponent is too dangerous. Allow kicking, knees to the body, sure, but not the head. I do prefer the ring to the Octagon, but unfortunately that will never change for the UFC. They are way too identified with the 8-sided cage.
posted by papakwanz at 9:48 AM on October 26, 2006

LordSludge: because fighters that used what doesn't work (sumo = wtf!?) got beaten and dismissed early on.

OMG, did you see that UFC where the Sumo guy got his nose broken like immediately, first blow, and was out? Ah ha ha ha...whew, this is bringing me back. I feel like I should be passing the bong around.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:13 AM on October 26, 2006

As for someone like Bruce Lee, well, he really was a god-like martial arts master.

I feel bad for saying this, like telling a kid there is no Santa Claus, but Bruce Lee was never a god-like anything.

Wait! Wait. Let me tell you why he WAS important.

You hinted at it. He did, through JKD, begin to popularize cross-training (lots of people did that before him, though---- Jigaro Kano for one) and stressing function over form. He was a dedicated artist. He did train like a lunatic. He was an innovator (though most of the props should go to Dan Inosanto, there) of sorts. He was fairly gifted in some natural attributes-- speed & coordination.

What Lee didn't do was come up with anything new (though I don't think he ever really claimed to).

He only trained formally in Wing Chun for blink of an eye. Less than five years. Most of that was a child. That's it. Nobody becomes "god-like" in four years of anything.

He never really fought anybody of consequence. The "boxing championship" he won was an informal high school match NOT a championship. And the guy he fought was a nobody.

He was upper middle class and went to private schools.

And the "roof-top" gang fights people talk about when he was young were tame school-yard scraps by our standards NOT Crips vs. Bloods. The "triad" stuff is mostly bullshit.

He was an athleticaly gifted and articulate movie star who excelled at self promotion.
posted by tkchrist at 7:20 PM on October 26, 2006

I didn't say he was shooting lasers out of his eyes.

As I was trying to get at, he was pretty crucial in making martial arts (and martial arts movies) super-mainstream in the US. His impact on the film industry alone is pretty god-like.
posted by papakwanz at 8:15 PM on October 26, 2006

Nobody becomes "god-like" in four years of anything.

BJ Penn?
posted by the cuban at 3:29 AM on October 27, 2006

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