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Quote of the Day – Tim Leidecker on UFC’s handling of brutal knockouts

By Zach Arnold | December 15, 2008

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Sports or sports entertainment?:

The way the UFC handled the situation after the “Fight for the Troops” main event between Koscheck and Yoshida brought a lot of critics to the scene. Koscheck knocked out Yoshida with two crushing blows that left the 34-year-old Japanese veteran motionless on the canvas for minutes. During the remainder of the broadcast, the announcing team did not provide any updates on the condition of the fallen judoka.

This approach may only be explained by Zuffa’s desire to portray its athletes as indestructible supermen whom fans and viewers need not worry about under any circumstance. However, since MMA is not professional wrestling, and if it wants to be taken seriously as a sport, live spectators and television audiences deserve to learn every important facet that concerns a downed fighter, even unpleasant facts about a competitor being taken to the hospital for further examination.

The UFC had already failed to inform its viewers about the condition of Sean Salmon after he was knocked out by a brutal Rashad Evans’ head kick at UFC Fight Night 8 in January 2007. It’s understandable that UFC President Dana White & Co. want to portray the sport as safe and family friendly. With that said, it would be a welcome change to see them focus not only on entertaining the masses but keeping their fans informed as well.

Don’t forget about Chad Reiner, Jordan Radev, Tra Telligman, and Terry Martin. It’s time for the company to start changing its policy on this matter.

Speaking of brutality, it’s time that someone stops Gary Goodridge from fighting again. Gary is/was one of my all-time favorites in the business, but he has taken so many blows to the head that I am concerned about his long-term health. Is it already five years since Gary’s “retirement” in the PRIDE ring against Don Frye?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 38 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

38 Responses to “Quote of the Day – Tim Leidecker on UFC’s handling of brutal knockouts”

  1. Preach says:

    Wow, that Gary Goodridge “fight” was really painful to watch…

  2. BM2 says:


  3. MMA Game says:

    It’s got nothing to do with having their fighters portrayed as supermen. It’s simply that they don’t want to give discreditors any visual ammunition.

    If they acted in the way you guys would like, we would have seen (in the last week alone), one fighter get stretchered out the cage unconscious, presumably receiving oxygen, a broken leg, a broken arm and also numerous shots of people being attended by doctors whilst convulsing.

    Bombarding both the viewer and the critics with such frequent reminders of the brutality of the sport would do it absolutely no favors at all and THAT is why they don’t do it.

    Now, having said that, I 100% agree (and have said plenty of times in the past), that they MUST give verbal recognition of the condition of fighters throughout the broadcast, however, showing it on camera serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever and would only hurt it’s image amongst the general public.

  4. 45 Huddle says:


    You are grasping at straws if you need to quote a Sherdog article to prove your point.

    1. The UFC has a young fanbase who uses the internet a lot to follow the sport. The UFC put an update of Yoshida on their website.

    2. If something DID seriuosly happen to Yoshida, then and only then would I expect them to announce something during their cards.

    This is such a non-issue to the vast majority of fans.

  5. Fluyid says:

    Goodridge is supposed to be with XARM. I’d hate to see him destroyed while tethered to the arm-wrestling table.

  6. D.Capitated says:

    Gary’s not the only guy hanging on too long. In fact, most of the top guys from that era are still fighting from time to time. Coleman is on a UFC card in a month. Randleman is active. Frye still fights and wrestles. Kerr, Couture, Henderson, Newton, Sakuraba, Horn, etc. And right now, next to none of them seem about ready to retire.

  7. Fluyid says:

    You’re right, D. Capitated.

    It’s an ongoing saga for aging athletes.

    I always hope that the person progresses past the point that he feels the desire to put his well-being at risk by competing in a kid’s game. Then again, it’s their life and I have no say in it.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    I thought Carlos Newton has retired and just running his own gym now? He hasn’t been in action in well over a year now.

  9. Grape Knee High says:

    Saying Goodridge is hanging on too long presumes he was ever any good to begin with. His only win against a good opponent seems to be against Oleg Taktarov back in PRIDE 1. (No, I don’t consider a win over Don Frye in 2003 significant.)

  10. […] are now calling for Gary to hang up the gloves – small and large – before he ends up hurting himself. He’s […]

  11. banter says:

    surprised there is no anti UFC Ivan rant so far.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    I think Carlos Newton is making another comeback.

    Fighting is a sad sport when athletes don’t know when to retire. I would say for MMA fighters, a lot of it is money based. It is the easiest way for them to make a buck. Then again, there are millionaire boxers like Holyfield who just can’t quit the sport. Kind of sad.

  13. dave2 says:

    A lot of these early UFC pioneers were never really that good to begin with. They may have been great way back in their heyday but once the sport evolved, it past them by.

    Lets use Newton as an example. Carlos Newton’s performances make him seem old but he’s actually only 32 believe it or not. It’s true that he is past his prime in his abilities. For eg. He beat Renzo Gracie in 2003 only to lose a rematch in late 2006. That should say something about how early and badly Newton peaked in his career. But aside from a win over Pat Miletich when Newton was 24, what has he really accomplished? And Miletich is from the old school. The game evolved a lot since then. Was Newton ever really as good as we thought?

    I know a lot of people say Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Willie Pep, Rocky Marciano, etc. were the best of all-time but given the big skill disparity between the MMA pioneers and the ‘modern warriors’, it makes you wonder if these former boxing greats would get beat beat by modern boxers as well. Or perhaps boxing hasn’t really evolved that much since then, unlike MMA, and maybe boxing in their time wasn’t as raw as MMA was in Goodridge’s, Newton’s, Frye’s time? I wouldn’t be surprised if boxers did get better though. In almost every sport, the athletes do get better. That’s why the world and olympic records constantly get broken.

  14. D.Capitated says:

    The difference with boxing is that among higher weight classes, there’s been an appreciable drop in the level of talent produced in the US and Canada over the last 25-30 years. While its picked up talent from Africa and Eastern Europe, training in those nations is often subpar for professionals. That’s why people look at Larry Holmes and think he could smoke every heavyweight currently active.

    OTOH, MMA is a different game. There are 20-30 times the number of events now than back in 1997, thus necessitating perhaps 100 times the talent. With that volume, obviously some will continue to be successful and others won’t. Some, like Goodridge, just get old. No matter what, the kind of money guys have made and will probably continue to make will force them to fight for long periods of time. Goodridge might have made a couple million dollars as a fighter. Sounds great to most of us, right? Half of it left him with his wife. Another big chunk was taken by the Canadian government and the foriegn countries he’s fought in. Some of these companies don’t offer medical care. He has agents, managers, and trainers. Soon enough, Gary ain’t exactly in a position to retire. What would he do? He hasn’t worked a real job in almost 2 decades.

    Physically should he? Oh, definitely. But he can’t. And you should learn to expect it.

  15. dave2 says:

    I know Gary probably lost a big chunk of his income with the divorce and paying the Canadian and foreign governments taxes but he is opening up a gym. He could use that to make his money. If he’s successful at running the gym of course. Most Canadian MMA fans probably don’t know who he is but anyone who is serious about training MMA is probably very knowledgeable about the history of the sport and likely knows who Gary Goodridge is. So he should be successful with that business venture IMO. Especially in Barrie, Ontario, where there probably isn’t a lot of gym competition. Toronto is probably a difficult market for a mma gym owner though considering they have an Xtreme Couture.

    And even if the gym is not enough, your health is more important than the money IMO. What’s good having all that money if you’re going to be in a nursing home for the rest of your life with dementia caused by repeated brain trauma? That’s exactly where Goodridge, Frye, Ken Shamrock, etc. are headed if they don’t stop. Look at old washed-up prizefighters who carried on way too long before hanging it up. That’s their future. They are just likely that brain trauma in MMA is much less of an issue than in boxing. But it’s still an issue as we’ve seen with Sam Vasquez.

  16. D.Capitated says:

    Yeah, but is every old fighter gonna open up a gym and be successful? Coleman has one, but I don’t see people flocking to Sandusky, OH for anything other than roller coasters. Being a trainer isn’t likely to make you tons right away if you need money now, especially in a recession.

    We can talk about money vs. health as well, but Goodridge is thinking (rightfully) that his life isn’t gonna be much better if he’s out on the street instead of looking for soft spots in the ring mat to fall into and collect a $2000 check. Obviously that forces the sport to be in a spot where someone ends up like former heavyweight boxing alphabet champ Greg Page is, but I don’t see any way around that.

    And just more food for thought: Its not just the legends. Bryan Pardoe is still fighting. So is Jonathan Ivey. So is Travis Fulton. And Warpath, Takahashi, Ron Waterman, Matsui, and many many many more.

  17. Zack says:

    Newton is definitely making another comeback, fighting for a promotion I’ve never heard of in Canada this month or next month.

    He’s one of my all time favorites and hasn’t taken excessive damage in his fights, so I’m glad to see him back. I’d actually welcome a swing fight vs Renzo.

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    The Klitschko’s would beat up almost all of the small Heavyweights of the previous era. It’s sad for me to write that, because they are so ultra boring… But it’s likely the truth. I think they would stuggle against some of the better bigger Heavyweights of all time, mostly because those guys were talented and tough. The Klitschko’s kind of lack a certain toughness.

    The level of boxing is definitely the best it has ever been in all of the lower weight classes. People love to glorify the “Golden Years” of boxing, but I tend to agree with dave2. If MMA has taught us anything, it is that the athlete is constantly getting better. With MMA, it just happened at a quicker pace, so the legends were around to get beaten up by the current fighters.

    However, if the sport of MMA progressed more slowly (like in boxing), guys like Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, and Igor Vovchanchin would be talked about like fighting gods…. Who were just too good and too tough for the modern day fighters to beat.

  19. ilostmydog says:

    I have to point out that Newton is only 32. It’s not like he’s nearing or in his 40s like most of the guys who have stayed around too long. I think his problem lately has been that he’s fighting at MW, so he doesn’t have any incentive to stay in good shape. And HERO’S was giving him extremely short notice when he was fighting there.

  20. dave2 says:

    I don’t necessarily believe that Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Willie Pep, Rocky Marciano (well Rocky and many other heavyweight legends wouldn’t with the heavyweights), etc. couldn’t hang with current boxers but there is a good possibility of that given how much athletes have evolved over the years. Athletes constantly get better plying their trade over the years.

    Rocky Marciano and many other small heavyweights would certainly be too small for heavyweight. If Rocky Marciano was transplanted to 2008, he’d probably try to cut to Light Heavyweight since he’s too small for Cruiserweight even. He’d be fighting Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins instead of Wladimir or Vitali. And for all we know, Calzaghe and Hopkins might even win against Rocky! The Klitschko brothers would just to be too big and physically dominating for Rocky.

    Muhammad Ali would fair better being an actual true heavyweight by modern standards but you have to wonder if boxing skills have progressed to the point where the Klitschko brothers could take him. As blasphemous as it sounds. The American boxing media is so biased in favor of American fighters that they don’t even want to think about ‘boring’ Ukrainians and Russians beating charismatic American legends.

    Then there is Sugar Ray Robinson, #1 p4p of all time. How would he fair versus a prime Bernard Hopkins at middleweight? Floyd Mayweather Jr. at welterweight? I know this sounds blasphemous but I think it’s a good what if.

    How about Willie Pep vs. Manny Pacquiao at featherweight? Roberto Duran vs. Pacquiao?

    I know that the Fight Nights and Title Bout Championship Boxing video game allows you to simulate these possible historical dream match ups but it’s very likely that the past legends may be over-rated.

  21. D.Capitated says:

    Watching heavyweight boxing from 3 decades ago and then watching it in the modern day is astounding in the differences one sees, not merely physically but technically. Heavyweight boxers today are getting by with less and less impressive amateur resumes and often more with pure size (much of that artificial bulk). Chris Byrd’s success against the “giants” is a tribute to that, and he was markedly smaller than Holmes or Ali and had way less pop.

    The other burning example? How about George Foreman, heavyweight champion….for the second time.

  22. Jim Allcorn says:

    Sad to say, but at this point, I think poor Gary Goodridge is a lost cause when it comes to pugilistic dementia. I mean, he’s already obviously in the early to mid stages of it & he’s still out there competing. And, as evidenced by that video, taking a tremendous amount of head trauma & physical abuse in the process.

    The difference between Gary & other old, broken down fighters ( especially boxers ) is that he takes virtually every blow thrown his way. Full force.
    Over his years of competition, he hasn’t picked up ANY sort of defensive skills at all. So, there’s nothing to rely on as far as self preservation is concerned.

    As far as him just hanging around for a couple/few more years collecting checks while he finds a “soft spot” to go down on, it wouldn’t be such a concern if he had the skill set in which to do so. But, he doesn’t.

    He invariably just stands there & gets pummled unmercifully enroute to suffering yet another brutal KO defeat. It’s almost sickening to watch when one is aware of just how often this has occured to him in the past.
    Seriously, all one has to do is Google his name & it’s almost guaranteed that the first several videos of him are those in which he’s been blasted into unconsciousness.

    Now, there’s talk of him being tied up & beaten on some more in that X-ARM bullshit?!!!
    Are promoters not going to be satisfied until he’s entering the arena as a semi-conscience, near vegitable?

  23. Ivan Trembow says:

    MMA Game— If that’s the case, that doesn’t explain why they show close-ups of giant cuts and why they endlessly replay brutal knockouts. But as for actually showing the unconscious fighter benig taken out on a stretcher, they would not necessarily have to actually show that. Even just a little verbal acknowledgment would be a lot better than nothing. On that point, I think you and I agree.

  24. D.Capitated says:

    Until Goodridge is no longer worth ticket sales or interest, the answer is in fact, “yes”, Jim. But until something comes up that’s an easier option to make about $30,000-$40,000 a year for a guy with, you know, no appreciable skills other that “strong, can smash”, this is what he’ll do.

  25. rainrider says:

    It’s easy to say “he’s ok”, but it’s not possible to evaluate brain damage right after the incident. Zuffa obviously don’t want to be responsible for any announcement that could be untrue.

  26. Ivan Trembow says:

    Again, you don’t have to say, “He’s okay,” either. It would take two sentences of saying, “We will keep you updated on Yoshiyuki Yoshida’s condition,” or, “Check our web site later for an update on Yoshida’s condition,” or, “Fighter safety is the most important thing in the UFC, and Yoshida is receiving the best medical care possible.”

  27. ilostmydog says:

    They better say that, or people will just assume that fighter safety is the least important thing in the UFC and that medical staff are doing their utmost to ignore Yoshida.

  28. Chuck says:

    I just watched that Gary Goodridge kickboxing video. Seriously, I want to cry watching that. Not only should Goodridge retire (look at how woozy he was. And that wasn’t being tired so much as him being punch-drunk) but shame on the referee for letting it continue after the four or so unanswered shots he received from his opponent (I will not fault his opponent. He was just doing his job and was nothing but class after the fight), shame on the promoter for putting on such a farce, and shame on Goodridge’s corner for letting Goodridge taking that beating. Okay, maybe not so much the promoter (for now), but if he decides to use Goodridge again, then shame on him.

    If Goodridge wants to continue to fight (remember, he is a grown-ass man) then he should only do MMA, where he won’t take as many head shots as he would in kickboxing. Because, earlier this year, he didn’t look NEARLY as bad when he fought and lost to Paul Buentello.

  29. klown says:

    I met Gary Goodridge once at a kickboxing event. He is good friendly guy but there were signs of him being not all there. I am seriously concerned for his sanity and physical health.

  30. dave2 says:

    Does Gary really have signs of pugilistic dementia these days? He should freakin quit right away then. If his gym doesn’t offer enough income, it’s not like Gary would be out on the street. Even if Gary hasn’t worked at a ‘real job’ in ages, he could get a low-paying job Barrie and somehow manage to live. By continuing on like this, he’s only delaying the inevitable. Better to be a poor pugilist with your health than a poor pugilist with early on-set dementia in a nursing home before he turns 50. His end is going to look ugly no matter what he does so he might as well try to achieve the least ugly fate.

    As for his income, if you count the $25,000 paycheck from Affliction, I’m sure Gary made more than $30-40k in 2008. Gary has fought a lot this year between MMA and kickboxing. Most of the time, Gary probably gets paid peanuts per fight. If it wasn’t for Affliction grossly overpaying fighters, Gary would be in a really shitty financial situation maybe. Unfortunately T-Shirt Guy isn’t going to stick around in MMA long enough to give Gary Goodridge and other fighters more paydays. That’s what happens when a promotion spends beyond their means.

  31. rainrider says:

    > Again, you don’t have to say, “He’s okay,” either. It would take two sentences of saying, “We will keep you updated on Yoshiyuki Yoshida’s condition,” or, “Check our web site later for an update on Yoshida’s condition,” or, “Fighter safety is the most important thing in the UFC, and Yoshida is receiving the best medical care possible.” (Ivan wrote)

    I see your point and I do think educated people like you and Mr. Leidbacker are needed in the MMA supporting community. However, trust me, Zuffa was NOT ABLE to keep fans updated on Mr. Yoshida’s condition on that night or later as it is impossible to determine anything about brain damage without a series of follow up exams. Do you really want to hear them say “Mr Yoshida is receiving intensive medical treatment and we hope everything will be alright”? That would spoil the show in my opinion. If you’re that much worried about fighters, do not make them kill each other in the first place. This is MMA, not hockey.

  32. rainrider says:

    A lot of people think that MMA now is a safe sport due to the regulations and improved refereeing. I say this belief is wrong and not reflecting reality at all.

    I’ve watched and analized many fighters of different nationalities and fighting styles. The majority of MMA fighters who fight regularly can not speak the same way they did a while ago. They stutter and they cannot concentrate on their thoughts. Please do not assume that MMA is a sport, this is a brutal killing contest between blue collar exiles.

  33. D.Capitated says:

    As for his income, if you count the $25,000 paycheck from Affliction, I’m sure Gary made more than $30-40k in 2008. Gary has fought a lot this year between MMA and kickboxing. Most of the time, Gary probably gets paid peanuts per fight. If it wasn’t for Affliction grossly overpaying fighters, Gary would be in a really shitty financial situation maybe. Unfortunately T-Shirt Guy isn’t going to stick around in MMA long enough to give Gary Goodridge and other fighters more paydays. That’s what happens when a promotion spends beyond their means.

    Okay, when you think about the $25,000, think:

    -subtracting for manager (percentage, probably somewhere between 5-10%)
    -subtracting for trainer (percentage, probably somewhere between 5-10%
    -taxes (???, depending on how he’s taxed, what he claims for income and where he claims, along with applicable CA State taxes)

    We assume his travel was paid for, but who knows? When all is said and done, money in his pocket is nowhere near $25,000. Even with that, compare it to his options in Barrie given that he has *no job skills or experience*. As dangerous as kickboxing in Romania for peanuts might be for him right now, its loads sexier than throwing around boxes in a Supermarket and has the potential to pay better.

  34. dave2 says:

    Gary Goodridge is screwed financially no matter what D.Cap. He’s only delaying the inevitable. Considering that we know he’s going to be dirt poor eventually, he might as well prioritize his health right now. It’s also possible that Gary could maybe get some sort of social assistance from the government. Though considering that the government is breaking his balls over alimony, that may not be the case.

    This situation really saddens me. In a society like Canada that prides itself on good government, we should be helping out men like Gary, not bankrupting him with divorce and alimony payments and forcing him to choose between beating himself into a demented stupor or being put out on the street. It’s disgusting. Society should be able to provide him with a job and/or some social assistance that will get him the means to live.

  35. Procannonfodder says:

    Will you let this go already? Fightopinion is the only site whining about this. I’m fairly positive there was no nefarious plot or even benign neglect behind it. Do you think Dana was called by the show’s director in the control trailer and asked if they should show Yoshida in the cage? Big Deal!!!

  36. skwirrl says:

    Comparing boxing’s golden days to comparing MMA’s early days is friggin stupid people. Boxing by the 1920’s had been around AS SPORT for at least 40 years. Boxing had already evolved to the point where most of the form was trained properly. There are other things about boxing that differ from other sports where you see better athletes dominating. First and foremost chin and toughness. Nobody knows precisely why one guy can take a punch and another can’t but its something that cannot be trained and cannot be taught. You either have it or you don’t. Secondly, punchers are born not made. Guys that hit like trucks in the 20’s 40’s 60’s and 80’s still hit like trucks today and most would be in the same weight class or 1 weight class down today. Third, defense is a SKILL in boxing. It doesn’t require amazing athleticism just skill and good reflexes. Look at fat ass James Toney. He’s one of the best defensive boxers in history. Willy Pep’s defense would make him damn near untouchable in any era. Last, speed and skill KILL in boxing. Sugar Ray Robinsons hands would be blisteringly fast and devastatingly powerful in any era and he combined punches with a level of skill not seen before or since.

    Evolution of the athlete might push the mid tier guys and some of the smaller heavyweights down some but the smaller weight classes and the all time greats would still be as dominant as ever. Remember back in the day all the best athletes played baseball or boxed and you had a much deeper talent pool to draw from with people making prize fighting a profession of choice during tough times.

    Fighters like Manny Pac, Bernard Hopkins, Calzaghe, RJJ and PBF Mayweather (as much as I despise him)and DeLaHoya all belong somewhere in the top 40, with Pac, DLH and Bernard earning positions in the top 20 and PBF well position to move higher if he would challenge himself at some point.

  37. Ivan Trembow says:

    First, it’s not whining. Second, FightOpinion is not the only site criticizing it. Third, even if FightOpinion was the only site criticizing it, would that automatically make the opinion invalid? Finally, nobody had to call the producers and tell them how to handle the situation. The UFC has a policy on this for both TV bouts and PPV bouts, dating back to 2005.

  38. Chuck says:


    Excellent post about old time boxing, but there is ONE thing I must correct you (or more like add on to it)…. it’s about chins. You are correct for the most part, but there is one thing you can do to help alleviate a glass jaw…….neck bridges. Sure, it doesn’t strengthen the chin per say, but it strengthens the neck, so that a fighter’s head doesn’t rock back as much when getting hit, which helps a fighter’s endurance to getting hit. And a stronger neck meaning it won’t get knocked around as much means a lesser chance of getting a concussion via rotational forces. If ANY of that made sense…


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