UFC-exile Paul “Semtex” Daley unsurprisingly joined countryman Dan Hardy and Japanese MMA superstar Shinya Aoki in decrying the growing trend of MMA fighters employing a wrestling-and-stall-heavy approach in their MMA fights. Daley, who was released from the UFC after throwing a late punch at Josh Koscheck out of frustration at having been controlled but not quite engaged for three rounds, recently appeared on TapouT Radio to offer his two cents on the argument against wrestling in MMA.
“The sport could become quite boring, as it has been in a few fights in the last UFC,” “Semtex” warned. “I know its mixed martial arts and you have to be good everywhere but I think there has to be some kind of rule that you have to work to finish or something.”
Daley is best known for his striking prowess and owns a highlight reel of impressive knockouts. The UK welterweight issued a call for a return to the roots of MMA; for fighters to stop playing it safe and look for the finish no matter their chosen discipline or strength.
“There has to be some kind of way of bringing back the ‘Bloodsport’ – I’m sure I read somewhere that the guy who came up with the UFC based it on Bloodsport the movie – there has to be some kind of entertainment factor,” Daley said. “You should be fighting, not to the death as such, but to finish, you have to be going in there to destroy the guy. If youre going in there to wrestle at least posture up and ground ‘n’ pound the fuck out of him, look to knock him out. If you are sick at jiu-jitsu don’t just lay in guard walking your hips around like some kind of snake – slap a triangle on, go for an armlock.”
“Semtex” didn’t reserve his criticism for ground fighters only, as a striker himself he also took aim at tentative stand up fighters.
“If you’re a striker don’t be hopping around like an idiot looking for angles, throw you punches, throw your kicks,” he said. “If you’re getting in that cage you have to be looking to finish the guy … not just control his hips and lay there for 15 minutes, that’s bullshit.”
Though many fighters (most of them having been recently dominated by wrestlers) are speaking out against the “lay-and-pray” style being adopted by many mixed martial artists, there will likely be little to no change inside the cage especially in terms of official intervention. There may be some merit to the claim that MMA is an entertainment sport and that fans are paying to be entertained but it falls on the fighters to ensure that they can defend what their opponents throw at them, regardless of entertainment value.