Sunday, August 25, 2013

Overused and tired cliches in MMA


With a slow week in both mixed martial arts and boxing, it gives me the opportunity to write, or more appropriately vent, about something that has been bothering me for some time now; I'm talking about overused and tired cliches in MMA. Coming off vacation where I got to spend a couple of days lying on the beach at the Jersey Shore, I had time to gather my thoughts and really focus. Thus in my estimation, here are five cliches that have definitely run their course and need to go.

In no particular order because they are all tired, we will start with one of my not so favorites, "I train with the best fighters in the world." No disrespect with the guys (or gals) you train with, but as my good friend Brian 'Goze' Garcia likes to say all the time, "How do you know?" Have you been around the world to train with everyone? That's a pretty bold statement; and to just throw that out there nonchalantly without justification is just not realistic.

I understand people feel strongly about their training partners and that's a good thing, but when they are constantly being referred to as "the best in the world," well that tends to be a bit over the top. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney uses this all the time when talking about his top tier stable of fighters and that's fine considering he's a promoter trying to sell a product; but when fighters use this it's just too much. How about, I train with some really good guys? That's one I can live with.

Next up is a combo in as much as regardless of which one you hear, they go hand in hand. I'm talking about the phrase(s), "This was my best camp ever/I'm in the best shape of my life." I realize fighters are putting their best foot forward going into a fight when they say this, but my issue is simple. If this was your best camp ever, what have you been doing all along? I thought the last one was your "best camp ever."

Shouldn't a fighter, whether amateur or professional always be in the best shape possible? I mean if your chosen profession is putting your health and life on the line, then I would think being properly trained is priority number one. If so, then going through the best camp and being in the best shape is a given and in this case redundant.

This next one was once cool about 15 years ago when the sport was still in its infancy, but it no longer has any impact. I'll explain what I mean after I share, "He's a black belt in jiu-jitsu." In the mid 90's when people were still being mesmerized by the exploits of Royce Gracie and his band of brothers with their unique art, this phrase had some power. To say one was a black belt in jiu-jitsu meant that person was equipped with skills others just didn't possess.

However, very nearly 20 years after Gracie showed the world his 'opponent disarming' and 'joint locking' techniques, jiu-jitsu has become one of the world's most popular martial arts; thus, there are black belts in just about every area. To be a black belt in jiu-jitsu once meant something mysterious and powerful. However, it has become so saturated and watered down that even a black belt like Roli Delgado was questioned about his lineage during his appearance on 'The Ultimate Fighter'. Enough already with the "black belt in jiu-jitsu;" at this point I'd be happy with a simple, "He's one tough S.O.B."

On second thought let's not use that either because this brings me to my next one, which is the exhausted, "He's a really tough guy." Whether it is by the broadcaster or the victorious fighter, this phrase is heard in, during and after just about every fight. It is the fall back line to describe an opponent you know has little chance before hand against a highly favored fighter. It is also the respectful tag placed on a defeated opponent; at least I used to think it was used as a gesture of respect towards the loser, but now I believe winners use it as a means to pat their own back. Let's face it, if a guy is brave enough to step into a cage, he's a tough guy period; end of discussion.

Last but not least is not necessarily a cliche, but more so a word. One word that is used to describe a fighter and is tossed around way too loosely; the word is "great." If there is one thing that irks me more than anything else is how easily the adjective 'great' is used when discussing a fighter or his skill set. Just stop and think about this for a second; if every fighter is great, then what are guys like Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre known as? You see where I'm coming from?

The word 'great' is defined in the dictionary as "unusual or considerable in degree." Considering their careers, that is the perfect description of Silva and GSP; which means this word is only supposed to be used when talking about the very elite. To constantly hear good fighters or just apt skill sets being referred to as "great" drives me nuts! It goes back to my argument for the Hall of Fame, which I feel should be for only the truly "greats" of the sport; but that's a story, or better yet tirade for another day.

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