MMA Journalists Chime in on Wrestling in MMA

Posted on May 20, 2010


(Quick follow-up to my previous post, “You Can’t Have MMA Without Wrestling (Rebuttal to Michael Schiavello“)

Since posting about it, some real honest to God MMA journalists have added their two cents regarding Michael “The Voice” Schiavello’s editorial on wrestling taking the “martial arts” out of Mixed Martial Arts.

Maggie Hendricks over at CageWriter – who in full disclosure has extensive experience with wrestling as both a fan and a journalist – is in the same boat I am in terms of thinking the real issue might be that fans just aren’t educated on the finer technical aspects of wrestling.’s Ben Fowlkes chimed in on the controversy with his blog post “The Wrestler’s Dilemma.” In it, he also notes – accurately – that wrestling is still a very hard sell to fans, citing the manner in which major MMA organizations avoid Antonio McKee as if he were dripping with open sores due to leprosy. It also includes great quotes from Phil Davis, Shane Carwin, and others who are befuddled as to why certain fans and pundits think a fighter should abandon a winning strategy just because it’s more exciting.

Again, drawing the comparison from another major sport, that’s like asking a team that makes it to the Super Bowl on a superior defense and a strong running game to completely abandon the strategy and have their Quarterback throw Hail Mary passes on first downs every time the ball is snapped.

What? It’d be more exciting, wouldn’t it?

Some have made note of the controversy in a dismissive fashion, noting that Michael Schiavello was simply trying to be inflammatory. Regardless of whether or not he was earnest in his thoughts, I’m glad someone like him is willing to at least push the issue despite the fact that I might disagree with some of his points.

I need hardly say Mixed Martial Arts is still fighting for mainstream acceptance. We still have a ways to go, and I think one of the things that needs to occur is that the fanbase itself needs to become more educated on the sport. They need to be able to sit through and appreciate more than thirty seconds of a fight, and not enter the arena having just come off watching a highlight reel on YouTube.

For what it’s worth, THE VOICE responded to my Tweet about the article:

Unfortunately it was the Tweet and not the article. I think he was under the assumption “You can’t have MMA without wrestling” was the entirety of my rebuttal.

Miscommunication and my bad for an awkwardly worded Tweet, I suppose. That and I’m sure he’s a busy guy and doesn’t have time to read every single thing that’s written about him on the internet.

Regardless, I agree to disagree with him on many points (no, Irene, it is NOT a good night!), but I thank him for at the very least bringing the issue to the forefront.