By: Jim Gramm
For all the things that have happened in MMA this past year, most will remember it for the vast amount of canceled fights. Between injury and illness, many high profile fights have been nixed or put on hold in 2012.
Fights being canceled are nothing new in MMA but a whole event is rarity, even at the regional level. However, this summer the unthinkable happened; the largest MMA promotion in the world had to cancel a card. Whatever your take is on UFC 151, it may have started a bad precedent for future MMA events.
After UFC 151, Strikeforce which is owned by Zuffa the parent company of the UFC, canceled two events of its own in 2012. It is not my opinion that these cancellations by Strikeforce led to it being absorbed by the UFC, but they certainly didn’t help the struggling promotion.
Bellator, widely considered the number two organization in MMA to the UFC, also had its fair share of problems when it came to cancellations. In the past six months, two titles fights have ended being canceled due to injuries. Also, a tournament final was scrapped by Bellator after an illness struck one of its tournament finalists just hours before the event.
Out of all this misfortune one question has arose, what can be done to avoid fights being canceled? The short answer: nothing. This may be a glass half empty response but MMA is such a violent and physically demanding sport that will always cause injuries to its participants.
The long answer may lie in the way fighters train for a bout. Instead of training 8 to 10 weeks maybe fighters should only train for 6 weeks leading up to a fight. Sparring and grappling sessions shouldn’t always be done at full speed. Protective equipment should be worn at all times in training.
Time spent training per day could also be reduced. Scheduling three or more fights in a year should be reduced to a maximum of twice per year. Perhaps fighting in a weight class where one doesn’t have to cut as much weight will help prevent injuries.
I am not sure if one or any of these options could help reduce injuries in MMA. What I do know is that people are getting sick and tired of hearing that fights are getting removed from an event. I’m glad 2012 is over and 2013 can begin were hopefully, fight cancellations are not the biggest headlines in MMA.