UFC: Is Fear of Being Fired Leading to Less Exciting Fights?
A fighter must concern themselves with a great deal of preparation before a bout: Training, making weight, studying their opponent, and often times various publicity activities to promote a fight to name a few.
Imagine if in addition to the aforementioned a fighter also had to worry about being fired for losing. That means you lose your job, your source of income. So what would the most viable solution be?
To fight to win, not to finish. The difference being that fighting a bit safer taking less risk if it's within the fighters ability to do so is fighting to win. Not going for the finish and just looking for the points to get a solid decision victory is a means to keep one employed.
This doesn't really concern the upper echelon of fighters in the UFC. Guys such as George St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Brock Lesnar, BJ Penn, Rich Franklin, Randy Couture, and those with such drawing power needn't concern themselves with such issues.
They are far too valuable an asset to let go for a few losses, especially if it means the competition would profit by signing say a Chuck Lidell. Yet at times when one recalls the debacle of Anderson Silva versus Thales Leites it would appear that Silva was playing it safe looking to win not to finish.
However, if you are one of the many struggling in the undercards, making $5,000 or less a fight, you could easily find yourself in the cross hairs of the firing gun.
So does the fear of being terminated in addition to other factors leave the fans with fighters who are less willing to put it all on the line and go for the finish? There is no concrete proof of this, but time will tell, and with more fights becoming tentative battles one must wonder if the attempted tactic of fear has indeed become the double edged sword it usually is.
"You better win or your fired" might drive some to go for broke and risk it all in a glorious brawl. However, it's far more likely that a fighter finds the ways to win with less risk to himself and his paycheck. Think about it if you knew that one method would ensure you are employed and the alternative risked termination: Which would you choose?
That question is rhetorical, especially in such uncertain times and tough economic hardships. With all the responsibility fighters must concern themselves with to perform their job, the added stress of being put out of work cannot be helpful.
Just a theory and food for thought.