Fixing the Fight Game: Super Fights
Welcome to Fixing the Fight Game, in this series I’m going to take a critical look at the bad and downright ugly in the MMA world, and suggest ideas on how to fix these things in a way that pleases fighters, fans, and promoters alike. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
In the first installment of this series, I want to talk about a topic that has garnered a lot of attention in the last couple years, and try to fix it for all those people that believe in a more pure sport (that includes me).
Super fights have a long and storied history in the MMA world, from the early incarnations of super fights like Royce Gracie vs Ken Shamrock at UFC 5, to the recent EPO fueled, single leg grabbing, cringe filled fight between Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw. Super fights have their place in the vast and ever evolving world of MMA, but like everything else in the corrupt world we live in, it must be regulated to the point that when it finally happens it feels like a small miracle has happened right before our eyes. So join me as I take you on an adventure of critical thought and completely subjective ideological reasoning on how to solve the issues regarding super fights.
Why they’re good:
Super fights bring an unmatchable amount of attention and money to the sport, while giving it a platform to build household names that can transcend the sport and break into the mainstream, whilst simultaneously curing the sport of the disease that is the label of being an underground sport. Also, the legacy it can create for a fighter when they become a double champ
Why they’re a problem:
The problem lies in rankings and the perceived meritocracy that governs the sport (only perceived as it doesn’t actually exist, just ask Tony Ferguson). Fighters in the super fight era have gained the ability to immediately jump the line in a division that they don’t fight in and challenge for the title. I’m sure we all remember how Conor McGregor won the title at 145 and without any precedent was handed a title shot at 155 against the then lightweight champion (and current mustache aficionado) Rafael Dos Anjos.
This is a complicated issue that doesn’t have an easy solution, but I think this idea might just do the trick, so hear me out:
For a fighter to be eligible for the super fight, they must have at least 3 successful consecutive title defenses in the division in which they hold their current title, while also not having an interim champion in their division. Both fighters participating in the super fight would have to check these boxes.
I personally am a believer that a fighter is only responsible for their own division, but as subjective as I can be on the issue, there is no denying that sometimes fighters in neighboring weight classes are on a collision course. Unfortunately, throughout history we often missed out on those battles of braun, whether it be Anderson Silva vs Geroges St. Pierre, or the more recent Tj Dillashaw vs Demetrious Johnson, and everyone in between. Let’s hope that a rule implementation like this would encourage those kinds of fights while also curbing the one’s like Cejudo vs Dillashaw from happening again.
This is my simple solution to this complex problem, but I want to hear your thoughts on the issue, comment and let me know what you think and how you would go about fixing super fights!
Passionate MMA writer and personality, host of the Tony Takedown Challenge.