Friend of our site


MMA Headlines


UFC HP


Josh Gross


MMA Fighting


MMA Torch


MMA Weekly


Sherdog (News)


Sherdog (Articles)


Lowkick


Liver Kick


Fightsport Asia


Caged In


MMA Junkie


MMA Mania


Bloody Elbow


Fightlinker


Fightnomics


MMA Ratings


Rating Fights


Infinite MMA


MMA Convert


Fightline


Fight Medicine


CompuBox


CompuStrike


MMA Frenzy


Ult MMA


Fighters


Kevin Iole


Yahoo MMA Blog


MMA Betting


Search this site



Latest Articles


News Corner


MMA Rising


MMA Chronicle


David Williams


Audio Corner


Oddscast


Tapout Radio


Sherdog Radio


Joe Ferraro


The Fightworks Podcast


Eddie Goldman


Pro MMA Radio


MMA Torch


Video Corner


Fight Hub


The Fight Nerd


Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index


To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site


Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback


Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

Site Meter

« | Home | »

UFC loses both Jake O’Brien and its credibility

By Iain Liddle | April 14, 2008

Print Friendly and PDF

Buried amongst the YAMMA headlines on Saturday morning came the news that the UFC have released Jake O’Brien from his UFC contract with Palace Fighting Championships likely to be his next destination.

The 10-1 heavyweight who is fresh off a loss to Andrei Arlovski had two fights remaining on his contract and was widely considered one of the best heavyweight prospects in world MMA. The reported reasoning for the decision is that the company simply had too many athletes under contract and he was purely one of the unlucky few chosen for the chop.

Until this news broke, and even now, I have no strong opinion on O’Brien as a fighter. I have seen maybe one non-UFC fight of his and have never interviewed him. I can’t even say that based on what I have witnessed that I could class him as a particular favourite of mine. His style is often derided as boring (sometimes unfairly) and there is no apparent charisma radiating from him to instantly grab a viewer’s attention.

Despite this however the news of his release was greatly disappointing without being too much of a shock. In fact it serves as a perfect microcosmic example of an issue that plagues the entire company. Quite simply, they aren’t a sporting league or entity and no longer can they have any claim to be so.

The aim of a sport is to determine who has the most legitimate claim of being the best in the world in their specific field / division. It’s impossible for the UFC to claim that this is their objective and must now be classified as an entertainment company rather than a competitive fighting league.

O’Brien has all the potential you could ask for. Bursting onto the scene boasting a decorated amateur wrestling pedigree he finished his first eight fights within six minutes. Two more dominant wins followed including a victory over a Heath Herring before he sustained what was a described as a potentially career threatening injury.

He suffered his first and only loss last month when returning from having his body re-built to take on a former UFC heavyweight champion in Andrei Arlovski. Ironically he was chosen as The Pitbull’s opponent in the hope that he would give the Belarussian a loss in the last fight of his contract – thus lowering his stock to any potential suitor.

It should be noted that O’Brien is still only 23 years old. Regardless of your opinion on his fighting style you cannot diminish his accomplishments in such a short space of time.

I’m not saying that every young fighter deserves to receive the Roger Huerta treatment where they are nurtured to stardom with a carefully selected list of opponents designed to test every facet of their game before moving on to fight a high level of talent.

Similarly the UFC do not owe anyone a contract. They could have as many or as little athletes under their control as they choose. However when the reason given for releasing someone is that you have too many competitors and yet people like Antoni Hardonk have an upcoming fight booked then it becomes clear that there is a massive case of double standards afoot.

Total MMA currently ranks O’Brein at number seven in their heavyweight rankings. There are only two people ranked above him in this weight class that are currently available to the UFC. One is belt-holder Rodrigo Noguiera and the other is Fabricio Werdum. Whilst these lists are obviously not official it illustrates the point that there are far more deserving candidates to face the boot.

The simple reason for his departure is that his face doesn’t fit. His style is not aesthetically pleasing in the way that say a Brandon Vera’s is and so he is considered dispensable. That he could beat the majority of the other heavyweights under Zuffa control is deemed irrelevant. It boils down to personal favouritism in much the same way that Dana White has twice reneged on his promise that the winners of supposed number one contenders fights would be in line for a title shot.

Arlovski defeated Werdum by unanimous decision at UFC 70 but did not fight again until nearly a year later with his stoppage of O’Brien. His performance in Manchester received the Dana White equivalent of a gladiatorial thumbs down and his recent bout was buried in the prelims and never shown on UFC programming due to an ongoing squabble over contracts.

Similarly the winner of the Gonzaga / Werdum fight in January was scheduled to face the UFC heavyweight champion in their next contest. Werdum stopped ‘Napao’ in the second round but now finds himself taking on Brandon Vera in June. It seems that number one contenderships are only valid if the person you want to win does so and even then it has to be in a fashion personally pleasing to the decision makers.

Those who have suggested that a few wins on the independent scene will see O’Brien return to the octagon should run that particular theory past Matt Lindland and see if he agrees.

It would be grossly unfair to apply the tag of being unprofessional solely to the UFC and maybe it is sometimes easier to choose the companies that do not fall victim to it. Elite XC, for example, are set to headline the biggest show in their short history and what will likely be the most viewed MMA card of all time with Kimbo Slice against James Thompson.

In the undercard of the same event Phil Baroni will face Murilo Rua. Both men are coming off at least one loss yet are given prominent placing on network television. Once again the message is loud and clear – if we like you then it doesn’t matter if you win or not as we’ll look after you anyway.

Whilst I understand the need for entertainment, depressingly it sometimes feels as though asking two poorly-skilled pugilists to stand in front of each other is all the men in charge feel the sport has offer.

Topics: Iain Liddle, UFC | 83 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

83 Responses to “UFC loses both Jake O’Brien and its credibility”

  1. D. Capitated says:

    D. Capitalized is pretty much wrong.

    Silva/Marquardt wasn’t the draw of UFC 73, Ortiz/Evans was. Half the audience had left before Silva had even stepped in the octagon.

    That it wasn’t the draw doesn’t diminish what that fight was supposed to accomplish. Hell, how is Ortiz/Rashad a fight intended solely to entertain? Are you trying to make the point that fights that interest hardcore fans can cross over to have mainstream appeal and give the sport legitimacy, or was that accidental?

  2. D. Capitated says:

    In both cases, the sports organization is trying to make their product more palatable for their fans in order to increase revenue.

    There’s a difference between making rules changes to increase scoring and eliminating competitors because they are too dangerous to give to guys you want to sell shows with. One changes the sport. The other directly impairs the legitimacy of the competitive nature of the sport in that they’re basically saying that winning and losing is meaningless.

    These situations are extremely similar, whether you have the intelligence to recognize it or not.

    I see exactly what you’re trying to say and you’re way off base.

  3. Grape Knee High says:

    There’s a difference between making rules changes to increase scoring and eliminating competitors because they are too dangerous to give to guys you want to sell shows with.

    I disagree, they are one and the same. Have you ever even watched the NHL?

    The NHL made rule changes to specifically prevent “boring” teams like the NJ Devils from going to the playoffs every year and lowering their revenue.

    They made these rule changes not just to increase scoring — they could have just made the goalmouth bigger if they wanted to do that — they wanted to put a premium on smaller, faster, skilled players like Sidney Crosby. And they wanted to get rid of muckers and grinders and goons (in other words, the LNPers of the NHL).

    And guess what? It worked. The game is much faster and the “boring” players they wanted gone, are have been eliminated through attrition.

    So, in other words, you’re pontificating out of your ass as usual.

  4. Dave2 says:

    If HBO stopped putting Klitschko (who the American fans can’t stand) on their televised shows, the fans wouldn’t give a damn. So why should UFC keep O’Brien around?

  5. D. Capitated says:

    I disagree, they are one and the same.

    No, they are not “one in the same”. The UFC is not changing rules about standups or about activity on the ground or about elbows or anything else because, clearly, they don’t want to. They could. They could ask for shorter periods on the ground and no elbows and a wide assortment of other things and get them tommorrow. But they aren’t going to do that because there are people like Tito Ortiz and like Sean Sherk who make that their bread and butter. The legitimate competitive nature of the UFC is thus minimized virtually to nothing because it clearly shows that winning fights is meaningless.

    The NHL made rule changes to specifically prevent “boring” teams like the NJ Devils from going to the playoffs every year and lowering their revenue.

    But this doesn’t work as a comparison because the sport was changed as a result. You’re right, players who slowed the game down and made it more defense oriented have to adjust or leave because the rules ascertain it to be so. There is no rule against lay and pray. There is no rule stating that standup is the most exciting form of combat, and thus is clearly preferable. There are no rules beyond the current rule regarding standups as a result of inactivity in place in MMA to change this. O’Brien is fighting within the rules given to him and is getting treated differently than other fighers, fighters as boring as he is who aren’t even as good as he is or whom have the credentials he has, basically on the promoter’s whim.

    So yeah, I don’t think its the same at all or even comparable.

  6. D. Capitated says:

    If HBO stopped putting Klitschko (who the American fans can’t stand) on their televised shows, the fans wouldn’t give a damn.

    Instead, he would be on Showtime. Do you really believe a guy that’s sold out MSG on his own twice and is a major international draw would be completely forgotten overnight? Do you even actually know any boxing fans? This is asinine.

    So why should UFC keep O’Brien around?

    You are not connecting with the point at all.

  7. George Lucas says:

    “Are you trying to make the point that fights that interest hardcore fans can cross over to have mainstream appeal”

    LOL what? I’m just pointing out that your argument sucks, isn’t based on anything resembling a fact, and has strayed so far from your original point that you don’t even know what you’re trying to say anymore.

  8. Grape Knee High says:

    D.Cap, I can see where you’re coming from but you’re splitting hairs to make some arrogant point of never being “wrong”.

    Regardless of the means, the end results are the same in both cases. They got rid of athletes they didn’t want who were accused by fans of being “boring” and potentially affecting their bottom line. For you to say these situations are not comparable is amusing to say the least.

    Anyway, we’re just going around in circles. Let me just say one last thing that I actually agree with you that the UFC is employing a double-standard with regards to O’Brien and I don’t like the constant stream of shitty one-dimensional brawlers the UFC has been feeding us recently. And I do agree that the UFC is testing their sporting legitimacy.

    What I don’t agree with is that other sports don’t effectively do the exact same thing; many, if not most sports manipulate the rules and the players to get the results that they want.

  9. Grape Knee High says:

    Oh, and btw…

    No, they are not “one in the same”.

    If you’re going to be condescending, make sure you’re right.

    My usage of “one and the same” is legitimately correct. You are just plain wrong.

  10. Dave2 says:

    The UFC can’t change the rules because the SAC sets the rules. And I bet that if they changed the rules to discourage lay n pray and stalling instead of just getting rid of boring fighters, a lot of the same purist mma fans would be on fightopinion and sherdog protesting bloody hell anyway.

    As for Grape Knee High’s comment on one-dimensional brawlers, I agree. Seeing brawlers with no technique and throw wild punches is getting old. I actually want to see more K-1 quality (not freak shows) strikers imported into MMA instead.

  11. D. Capitated says:

    LOL what? I’m just pointing out that your argument sucks, isn’t based on anything resembling a fact, and has strayed so far from your original point that you don’t even know what you’re trying to say anymore.

    You don’t even understand what it is I’m arguing. Do you still think the argument made in the piece is that the UFC owes him a contract?

  12. D. Capitated says:

    Regardless of the means, the end results are the same in both cases.

    They are not the same. Making a rule change affects every team in the NHL. Cutting a fighter affects that fighter. Why do you keep making this point over and over when its clearly a poor one?

    Anyway, we’re just going around in circles. Let me just say one last thing that I actually agree with you that the UFC is employing a double-standard with regards to O’Brien and I don’t like the constant stream of shitty one-dimensional brawlers the UFC has been feeding us recently. And I do agree that the UFC is testing their sporting legitimacy.

    This is the entire point that the article made and that I’ve defended. Did I ever say I liked watching O’Brien lay on Herring? Did I say I looked forward to him coming back to lay on other dudes? I didn’t, did I? I pointed out repeatedly that Iain said right from the onset that the UFC has all the legal and moral right to cut whomever they want and promote MMA bouts in any way they see fit. Will actions like this create a positive image for the sport? Will it be good for the sport? Does it foster legitimate competition? Those are actual questions posed by the article, which 95% of the negative responses to have mindlessly missed to try and prove that which is admitted midway through the article.

  13. Grape Knee High says:

    This is the entire point that the article made and that I’ve defended.

    You need some meds. And a better Grammar Nazi Handbook.

    If you actually read any of my posts in the midst of your blog rage, you would have noticed that I never even attacked you.

    Why do you keep making this point over and over when its clearly a poor one?

    Maybe because the end result is the same? It is manipulation by the leagues to make their products more palatable for casual fans. If really you can’t see that, you’re lacking some brain cells.

  14. D. Capitated says:

    Maybe because the end result is the same?

    But its not the same. For it to actually be the same, they’d need to eliminate *everyone* that’s guilty of it. Sean Sherk is getting a title shot after losing his belt because of pissing hot. There is no equivalent to that in the NHL.

  15. Chuck says:

    I agree with D., that they (UFC getting rid of O’Brien and NHL’s rule changes) aren’t really the same. It’s not like K-1 MAX changing the rules to better fit Masato, or the NBA bringing in the shot clock, or anything like that. It’s more comparable to the WWE getting rid of a wrestler because the writers have nothing to do for that wrestler (it happens A LOT). The NHL can’t just go to a player and say “listen, the fans don’t like you, you’re boring, et al YOU’RE FIRED!!!”. But Zuffa Sports can do that. What the NHL did was more “weeding out” than getting rid of players. Like let’s say you go to join the wrestling team of your high school before the season starts. So you go to pre-season practices, and the coach(es) works your ass off with exercises. It is too much for you (either because you are too lazy, not in good enough shape, not athletic, you didn’t take it seriously enough, whatever the case may be) so you and others quit (I wrestled in high school, I have seen it happen). Were you kicked out by the coach or coaches personally? NO!! Because of their practices you quit, maybe even forcibly. That is weeding out. To compare to what happened to O’Brien, the coach would have got right up to him and say “I don’t want you here anymore, get out!”.

    There is a major difference between weeding out from example and/or practice, and outright getting rid of people personally for whateevr reasons. The latter happened to O’Brien. I am not saying the UFC was in the right or wrong (I’m sure O’Brien can do fine for himself in other feds, but it does suck when a person loses his/her job for whatever stupid reasons) I am just saying most of you guys’ comparisons to NHL changing its rules to Zuffa outright firing a guy is down right ridiculous. We don’t even know for absolute certainty that the reason he got fired was because he is a LNP guy.

  16. Jeremy says:

    One other thing:

    The winner of Werdum/GG was not talked about as getting a title shot. Bot guys were coming off losses and each needed a win to get back on track.

    Saying it certainly helps the authtor’s argument, but it simply is not correct.

  17. Grape Knee High says:

    But its not the same. For it to actually be the same, they’d need to eliminate *everyone* that’s guilty of it. Sean Sherk is getting a title shot after losing his belt because of pissing hot. There is no equivalent to that in the NHL.

    I think you’re making an assumption that Zuffa is employing a standard of getting rid of fighters who LNP. They don’t.

    They simply dump fighters they don’t think are marketable. Zuffa obviously thinks Sherk is marketable.

  18. Grape Knee High says:

    Jeremy, Dana White confirmed that Werdum would get a title shot against the winner of Sylvia/Nog. Of course, that was when Zuffa fully expected Sylvia would beat Big Nog.

    White also said that Arlovski would get a title shot if he beat Werdum and we all know that never materialized either.

  19. Iain says:

    Jeremy,

    The Napao/Werdum fight most certainly was walked about as a No. 1 contendership fight. I shall try and find an article that supports this.

    It’s arrogant and frankly offensive to say I made it up for the purpose of my article.

  20. Grape Knee High says:

    There is a major difference between weeding out from example and/or practice, and outright getting rid of people personally for whateevr reasons

    Yes, of course, the process is different. That much is obvious. You guys are thinking too much about the “how”, but not enough on the “why”.

    The “why” is exactly the same: they wanted to get rid of athletes and styles of play that reduce the marketability and revenues of their sports.

    The end result? The players that the NHL wanted gone and the fighters that the UFC wanted gone, are gone.

    Are we arguing semantics here, or are you and D.Cap really arguing that “fair” application of rules is acceptable?

    Because if that is the case, I have a hard time believing that you guys wouldn’t be upset if the UFC instituted a 15-second standup rule. But that’s “fair”, right? Because it affects everyone?

  21. cyph says:

    Wow have we gone off on a tangent!

    Sports league cut players because they no longer help the bottom line.

    The UFC cut fighters because they no longer help the bottom line.

    People need to understand that all businesses make decisions for a reason. They do not do things randomly. The NHL cut players for business reasons and so do the UFC.

    Everyone is assuming that O’Brien was cut because he’s boring. That may probably be part of the reason, but there are other reasons that we may not be privy to. If you only look at the roster of the heavyweight division currently, you can see that there is some order out of the madness: new faces coming in and old faces out. O’Brien’s been around for two years. He hasn’t progressed much. Cut the losses, no?

    Look at Koscheck and Ken Flo and other fighters who have progressed greatly over the last two years. How many new faces have we seen in the past few years? The UFC’s modus operandi has always been to give fighters a chance to see what they can do and then cut out the excess. Then they bring in new fighters and the cycle start anew. Why is this a surprise? What’s surprising is that people actually cares that this particular fighter is cut. Weird.

  22. Mike Farrow says:

    Has anybody watched O’Brien-Herring? He hardly lays on the guy. He takes him down, passes his guard easily but he has absolutely no submissions, so Herring takes defensive positions to stop any damage from punches.

  23. Mike Farrow says:

    O’Brien has been with the company for 20 months and had a 13 month gap in fights due to injury. So he’s only been active for 7 months. Considering the severity of the injury, he’s lucky to still be fighting. He’s a good young fighter. He is one of their top guys so why cut him? They’ve stood by far duller fighters than him.

  24. sved says:

    The NHL made rule changes to specifically prevent “boring” teams like the NJ Devils from going to the playoffs every year and lowering their revenue.

    Funny how they’re in the playoffs again—

    back to the issue at hand…the UFC started as a tournament and its working in more mma orgs around the world so it clearly has validity. They dont’ need the live gate to be amaazing as long as they can get the big spenders to come. They can have live events anywhere and get them outside the NSAC rules limitations make the events have Vale Tudo rules (actually a sport) and get judges that really understand Vale Tudo not Boxing/Kickboxing(C.Peoples..etc..)

    Also it would be nice to realize that the UFC is technically not a sport and the ruleset it uses and the matchmaking it has has clearly stated this fact. A true sport has even tournaments to decide winners not just oh….whoever we feel would be exciting/profitable.

    Also important to consider is that the Fertitas based their decision to purchase UFC on the success of the PRIDE grand prix in 2000. The pride formula has always been that an exciting competitor is invited back if he can show true warrior spirit and compete no matter the results of the match. Guys who are boring/ lackluster would get the axe quickly. So there is definitely some things that the UFC could do to better legitimize its sport like trading elbows on the ground for knees on the ground and giving contracts to its tournament winners…which could be hosted in Puerto Rico/Costa Rica/ etc…to avoid the whole NSAC nonsense. and as far as having good judging get a few experienced MMA judges like Matt Hume and maybe even let Big John be invited as a judge(not a conflict of interest that being a ref would be.)

  25. ilostmydog says:

    How would trading elbows for knees better legitimize mixed martial arts?

  26. Dave2 says:

    I’m afraid that the MMA puritans just won’t understand how the business works. The whole goal of any professional sports business is to make money. Let’s just leave the whole “he’s boring” thing out of this for now. I ask this: What money is Jake O’Brien bringing into the UFC? Aside from a small minority of MMA purists, no one cares to watch O’Brien. Do you expect the UFC to lose money on purpose? They won’t even pay over half their roster livable salaries and yet you expect them to not downsize financial dead weight like Jake O’Brien? The UFC would lose less money and make more money employing other fighters. In the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL, teams cut financial dead weight all the time by releasing players and trading them to other teams. Why can’t the UFC do the same?

  27. Chuck says:

    “Why can’t the UFC do the same?”

    Difference between UFC andNHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL……UFC fighters don’t have union protection, those other sports do. As I said before, I am not saying Zuffa releasing O’Brien was a good or bad thing, but it is different that comparing to those other sports. And as I also said before, it’s more comparable to a pro wrestling company releasing a guy than those other sports getting rid of guys. Hell, I am of the opinion that O’Brien is PROBABLY better off in other feds (possibly EliteXC, or maybe even IFL) than in UFC, for now at least.

  28. BrikkCity says:

    Can anyone make an economic argument for why Jake O’Brien should not have been cut?

    Here’s the answer: if the UFC continues to arrange fights based on public opnion instead of pure sport (ie WINNING THE DAMN FIGHTS) eventually the mob rule of public opinion will have undeserving fighters getting title shots at champions and with the punchers chance and 4 oz gloves, can and will happen. See Serra vs St. Pierre. This fuxx the rankings, and in the end gives fans what they dont want to see, talentless and unskiled fighters as paper champions. Which, after word gets around, undermines the promotion.

    The UFC is being short sighted here, in the interest of showcasing “exciting” and Adonis-like fighters such as the grappling deficient Kongo, the O’Briens, Lindlands and Buentellos are pushed out and we have lackluster and frustrating title matches like Arlovski vs Eilers, and top name fighters are top shelved. Top shelved because they can only fight once or twice a year against big name fighters who match UFC preferential criteria.

    Which is bad for fighters, fans, and ultimately the promotion. It’s being short-sighted and while I can see why the UFC wants to make the most of its 15 minutes, disappoints guys like myself who want the longterm success of the sport and its major promotions.

    If the UFC was really serious about keeping wrestling relaint fighters out of the game, they’d lobby the athletic commissions to change the rules. What they’re doing to O’Brien is really underhanded.

  29. BigD says:

    Overall, I enjoyed the article but I think most fans already know this is the type of thing to expect in the MMA world and the UFC.

    It comes down to entertainment and yes, that comes at the price of trying to eliminate the possibility of boring fights. Fighters are very aware of this nowadays and many are focused on putting on a good show as much as they are focused on winning. Some have responded by changing their whole fighting style and strategy. For example Chris Lyttle went from being a a kinda boring defensive fighter to being a raging slugger and its only done good things for his career. Maybe Jake O’brien needs to follow suit.

    Still, I dont think the business model of the UFC is to make a fight league as it seems their business model is more like the WWE and pro wrestling.

    I just wish some organization outside of Japan would really get more involved with the Grand Prix tournament style format of fighting. Then you could actually create a legimate sport where you basically have elmination tournaments held over the course of 6-8 months (much like a season). That way, fights are not picked but are earned instead. As long as you have match makers like Joe Silva making fights, MMA will be nothing more than prize fighting and not a true sport.

  30. Dave2 says:

    Correction: Bad for the fighters (like O’Brien), the hardest of the hardcore fans but not for the promotion.

    The UFC catering solely to the hardcore fan is a suicidal business move. If the UFC promotes more and more Jake O’Briens, you know what’s going to happen? Fans are going to stop going to the events in large numbers and fans are going to stop ordering the PPVs in large numbers. And you’ll be stuck with lackluster 1.1-1.2 ratings on Ultimate Fight Night as was evident in the last event, which was hardcore-heavy but didn’t offer much appeal to the casual fan.

    Do you think Zuffa wants to jeopardize their cash cow? Zuffa turned their business into a success story off the backs of Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture, all charismatic guys who met their star potential. Liddell = Rockstar, Ortiz = Arrogant Bad Boy, Couture = All-American Hero. Their characters/personality won the fans over. Liddell vs Ortiz II wasn’t the fight that made the most competitive sense back then but it was the largest drawing fight in UFC history. Think about that. A UFC that caters to only the hardcore fan is a UFC that probably wouldn’t have hit the big time in the first place.

    As for the idea of a fighters union in the UFC, I like it. A fighters union would give the UFC more legitimacy.

    Boxing on the other hand has been hurt by the fact that there is very little money in the sport except for the very top tier. If the UFC had a union which ensured better money for all UFC fighters, more quality athletes would enter the sport. If you are an athletically gifted man who is 6′8″, 260 lbs., are you going to play ball in high school in college and try to make it in the big leagues where you’ll be set for life? Or are you going to get punched in the face for $100 a fight like many boxers do when starting out?

    Many quality American heavyweight athletes decided to play football and basketball instead of taking up boxing because the easy money is in the NFL, NBA and MLB. That’s why you are left with little guys in boxing like Mayweather who are too small to make it in the NFL or NBA. And even then, smaller athletes have choices like MLB since not all baseball players are steroided sluggers. There’s also the NHL but the NHL doesn’t have much of an impact in stealing American athletes away from combat sports.

  31. Dave2 says:

    Even myself, growing up as a kid I wanted to be a professional soccer player (of course I was never good enough but all kids dream right?). Never have I even considered the prospect of being a professional fighter. I would never get into a sport like boxing where I could end up with brain damage or a sport like MMA where I could end up like Kazushi Sakuraba before I’m 40. And for most fighters, you get peanuts for doing this. But if you’re sitting on the bench for an English Premiership club or a NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL team, you’re already making an easy six figures and it’s a lot less hard on your body. Very high risk to reward ratio in combat sports. But the risk is much lower in mainstream team sports.

  32. Chuck says:

    And don’t forget that NBA, MLB, NFL etc. also have pension plans for retired players so they will still make money in retirement. There is NOTHING like that in combat sports. Fucking A, they need it much more than some ball-slingers.

  33. I am deleting my bookmark to FO due to this article.

    cyph, Grape Knee High, Dave2, thank you for your intelligent comments. Unfortunately, your efforts are wasted on these fanboys and trolls.

Comments

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image