UFC 111: Respecting your Opponent

Anyone who saw the PPV last Saturday enjoyed some great grappling action! Nearly all the matches (except the power and ferocity with which Carwin beat Mir) showcased high-level jiu-jitsu and wrestling techniques. Highlights included Miller’s defense against Bocek’s second round attacks from the back, Pelligrino’s successful choke against Camoes, and, of course, GSP’s domination of Hardy throughout their fight.

Each fight was exciting.  It was a great night. There was a downer though: Rousimar Palhares vs. Tomasz Drwal.  You just winced if you saw that fight.  If you didn’t, suffice to say Palhares cinched a heel hook from hell and held on to it like a bulldog.

Drwal was lucky, as tests show he didn’t sustain too much damage.  Still, Palhares was suspended as a result.  According to this article on Sherdog, this has been a repeated problem for the figher.

Here’s one notable quote:

“Alex Davis, Palhares’ manager, said Palhares, an exponent of Murilo Bustamante’s Brazilian Top Team, was mostly adhering to a camp philosophy that stresses fighters holding onto submissions so as to leave no dispute as to whether a fighter tapped or otherwise conceded the bout.”

Overall, this makes sense in a sports context.  If you’re competing against the best in the world, you want to win.  But at what cost?

Martial arts requires you to respect your opponent.  Many traditions require a bow to begin and end each training session–especially when working with a partner.  A fighter shows respect in many ways beyond merely touching gloves–through dedication and focus and by working incredibly hard in the gym.  Even by stepping into the ring in the first place, the fighter is acknowledging the talents and efforts of his opponent.

In a true survival situation, take your opponent’s limbs home with you, or bring them to the police station as evidence.  Hurting someone when training?  That is not respect.  Hurting someone when competing?  That is neither respect for your opponent nor for the sport.

What did you think of the fight?  Comments go below . . .

About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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1 Response to UFC 111: Respecting your Opponent

  1. Curtis says:

    Palhares should be suspended and not allowed back in the UFC or any competition for that matter.

    There was a total lack of concern for his opponent knowing that he could end Drwal’s career or at least put it on hold for a while.

    I’m not saying that you should care more about the health of you opponent – you compete to win and see how you stack up. Otherwise why bother? Everytime you land a good kick or sunk in a choke I don’t expect everyone to stop and say ‘are you ok?’. That would be ridiculous. I’m just saying that to be a complete martial artist you need to have respect for yourself, your opponent, and for the sport.

    What if Palhares’ instructor got a heel hook on him and trashed his knee before his fight? Palhares’ opportunity to be in a UFC fight would have vanished only because his instructor didn’t want to leave any doubt who was senior and who was junior…

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