No point beating around the bush: I'm not a huge MMA fan. The little I know of the sport I've picked up through talking to my brother and friends. I've learned enough to get by on a casual conversation. I know most of the main guys, and how tough the sport is.
But one thing that I've struggled with is sportsmanship in the ring, or a lack of it.
Again, I'm willing to be proved wrong. Actually it's the main reason for writing this piece, less an article but more of a trying to gain some education or information.
The MMA that is most popular on this side of the pond is UFC.
We get the Big Brother type program where all the guys are living together before beating each other in competition. We get a couple of hours a week over a few different programs, showing classic bouts.
And we get all the PPV's.
The one and only time the UFC came to Dublin, UFC 95, I think. It went down a storm. The local media came out in force, the fighters were all treated very well, the fans loved the chance to get up close with some of the legends and the atmosphere at the O2 has been touted as the best ever.
So much so that the UFC are negotiating with MCD about doing a yearly "gig" if you will in Dublin.
Friends who went say it was incredible, but I digress. Back to my original question.
Does sportsmanship exist in the octagon?
In all other combat sports that I watch, if one fighter is being overcome, the ref will step in. MMA is no different, the standard of refereeing is very high as far as I can see.
But there does not seem to be any un-written rules as far as the fighters are concerned.
In boxing, if a fighter goes down to one knee, the opponent backs off naturally, not so in UFC, often that leads to the poor guy getting jumped on and then grounded and pounded.
I know they're different sports with different rules, and the example I gave may not be perfect, but I've never seen a fighter back off because his opponent was hurt.
Again, in boxing or martial arts, if one opponent slips, they're given time to get back up. Not so in MMA.
I realise that my examples may not be the rule to the thumb, but I've never seen sportsmanship in the ring.
Have I just missed it? Or have I missed it because I wasn't knowledgeable enough to see it?
Could someone provide an example if I'm wrong? As I've said earlier I'm willing to plead ignorance, but more so, I'm willing to be educated.