Above is a nice little highlight for you of Lyoto Machida. I encourage you to watch it, check foul 29 in the UFC rules, and then read the following post.
Here’s a question for you: what are the chances that Lyoto Machida gets docked a point for refusing to engage this weekend at UFC 98? They’re pretty low, but not because he doesn’t deserve it. Unfortunately for everyone that doesn’t enjoy the technical aspects of a guy staying out of his opponent’s range for 25 minutes, there’s nary a ref in the universe who’s shown that they’re willing to dock someone a point for not fucking engaging on the feet.
Even when Kalib Starnes did his infamous ‘Running Man’ routine at UFC 83, he still didn’t have a point removed by the ref. Hell, he didn’t even get officially warned for doing countless laps in reverse around the octagon. Now it’s totally apples and oranges to compare Starnes to Machida, but I just wanted to show you how timidity or refusing to engage is almost never called in North America.
The only time it ever does seem to become an issue is if a ground fighter is doing it. ‘The flop’ and ‘the butt scoot’ are pretty much the only two cases where you’ll see warnings, points, and even complete disqualifications. I’m not 100% sure exactly what the spiritual differences between staying on your back for a minute or two and playing catch me if you can for 15 minutes are, but they’re treated very differently indeed. One results in you becoming a laughing stock and the other lands you a light heavyweight title shot.
Yeah, I know. Us people that don’t like Machida’s style are just meathead retards who only want to see people bang. Now this is just a slight possibility, but maybe (just maybe) there’s some middle ground in there where people like to watch fights and not standoffs. Personally I think Machida’s style is technically interesting in theory but cheap in practice. It works simply because you refuse to engage and then counter when your opponent gets frustrated. If you get a fighter who ignores the 15,000+ booing fans and doesn’t, you’ll literally end up with two guys circling each other for 15 minutes.
Other sports had incidents where people came in and took advantage of loopholes … rules like icing, interference, and delay of game were added to stop them from exploiting one aspect of the game. MMA already has a rule in place to deal with Machida. But it’s gonna be a while apparently before anyone looks into doing anything about enforcing it.