Alex Davis sees critical flaws in sport's structure he believes must be addressed 'for a better MMA'

For the past few days, I’ve been sitting here and reflecting over the 20-odd years I have been working in MMA, and one thing really bothers me. The fighting, itself, has evolved exponentially in that time, seeing MMA develop into an exciting and technically beautiful sport. But it’s not possible to say the same about the structure around it.

We seem to be simply stuck doing the same things – committing the same errors over and again. There is simply no effort or attempt to really improve anything about the sport as a whole. These guys and their camps work extremely hard to do what they do. It would be only fair if we worked extremely hard behind the scenes to try and evolve, as well – to try and improve. We need to work together to make a better MMA.

For example:

  • How about if we announced the score between rounds?
  • How about if we create, as I have said before, a fight gradings system based on entertainment value. Every fight would be rated with either a 1, 2, 3 or 4. This way, if you have a guy that’s lost three fights in a row, but they were all recorded as grade-4 fights, it would mean that even though this fighters lost, you know he came to fight every time, and we want him back!
  • How about the weigh-in system? Why don’t we try something similar to ONE Championship’s weigh-ins, a system that doesn’t let anyone go through extreme dehydration?
  • How about if we had five judges?
  • Or how about if the strike count was fed to the judges from one of these FightMetric-type sites, leaving only the subjective parts to the fights for the judges to evaluate? That might narrow the error margin in judging.

These are just some ideas, and I am sure there will be many people who don’t agree, who have different opinions and ideas – and that is OK. What is not OK is that we do not discuss, that we do not try. It is not OK that we do not evolve.

It seems that we are stuck in this trend of trashtalking, social media battling. MMA journalism reads more like a soap opera review then sports journalism! Dozens of new journalists are entering the sport every year, and most of them with a very poor understanding of what they are actually watching and writing about. Name me one MMA journalist who actually discusses the technical aspects of the sport!

Some people will say, “Well, with the UFC, Zuffa is a company with a primary goal is of making money. It’s not up to them. Although their help would be great, at the end of the day, they are making money.”

But it is simply undeniable that there are structural problems in many areas. Just look at how many controversial decisions are given out? Look at how these athletes are suffering with the current weight system?

This is our fault. We do not get together and discuss these things. If they are not discussed, if there is no thought put into an effort to evolve the sport, then we absolutely will not evolve.

We are a very fragmented sport. I write this to shout out at the public – to everyone who participates in or follows MMA – to point out a problem, to encourage discussion, and create change and evolving. I would ask that everyone who reads this and cares, please help spread this article, this feeling. Although I have been doing this for over 20 years, I do not own the truth; I am but one individual. But I do know that if we do not try, if we do not fight, if we do not discuss, nothing will ever change.

We need to get together as a community to help build a better MMA.

Alex Davis is a lifelong practitioner of martial arts and a former Brazilian judo champion. A founding member of American Top Team, Davis currently oversees the careers of a number of prominent Brazilian fighters, including Edson Barboza, Antonio Carlos Junior, Rousimar Palhares, Thiago “Marreta” Santos, Antonio Silva and Thiago Tavares, among others. Davis is a regular contributor to MMAjunkie, sharing his current views on the sport built through his perspectives that date back to the Brazilian roots of modern MMA.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

Read the full article here: Alex Davis sees critical flaws in sport's structure he believes must be addressed 'for a better MMA'