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Monday, November 17, 2008
UFC 91 Commentary: Riley vs. Gurgel Wins Fight of the Night?
by Ivan Trembow

I can’t believe that the UFC gave Aaron Riley vs. Jorge Gurgel the award for "Fight of the Night" (and the associated $60,000 bonuses) at UFC 91.

Any question of whether the UFC prefers good ground fighting (ie, Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory) or sloppy stand-up fighting (ie, Riley vs. Gurgel) has been answered once again.

There are few things more ignorant or more frustrating than seeing a highly-skilled ground fighter choose to abandon their strengths and instead engage in C-level kickboxing... and for what? To please fans and MMA promoters who love C-level kickboxing? (Apparently, yes.)

Now that whole ignorant mindset has just been reinforced by that fight being awarded "Fight of the Night" by the UFC. Other fighters who may be similar to Jorge Gurgel (or Chris Lytle, who often employs the "Gurgel Strategy" as well) have been sent the message once again, "Don't worry about all that 'ground game' stuff, just go out there and have a sloppy kickboxing match."

With its choices for Fight of the Night favoring sloppy stand-up fights, the UFC is playing into the ignorant misconception that ground fighting is inherently less exciting. Go watch Demian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald, or Wilson Reis vs. Abel Cullum, or any other recent fight that was a great ground fight, and you'll see just how ignorant that misconception is.

I’m also not saying that I’m opposed to stand-up fighting. I’m saying that I’m opposed to good ground fighters intentionally abandoning their strengths in order to instead put on a C-level kickboxing match and hopefully get the Fight of the Night bonus.

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