Brash UK welterweight Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy recently led the public charge against wrestlers in MMA using their grappling to control without looking for the finish. He wrote a scathing article for This Is Nottingham where he criticized those wrestling-first fighters and even called for rule changes to amend the situation. Though several fighters and fans have come out in support of his argument or have made the same argument on their own, as many fans and fighters have come out supporting the other side of the argument. Greg Jackson-trained UFC middleweight Nate Marquardt was among the fighters who took issue with Hardy’s comments and, keeping with his pattern of behavior, Hardy did not let that slide.
“One guy who struggled to keep up with the points I made was UFC middleweight and charisma donor Nate Marquardt, who always seems to have something to say about me, for no other reason than I once competed against one of his friends,” Hardy wrote for his Nottingham blog (props to MMAMania for the find). “Sadly, we can now add ‘literacy test’ to the types of tests Nate has failed, because he either misread the whole thing or – like writers from AOL and Yahoo did – just read the first paragraph or two and had to stop because reading gives him a headache. Ultimately, people can agree or disagree with what I wrote, but the facts are on my side. The Nick Lentz fight at UFC 118, which was the catalyst for my column, was the only UFC Prelim fight to ever lose TV viewers. That hurt the pay-per-view buy rate, it hurt Andre Winner’s career, it hurt lightweight Joe Lauzon – who had an amazing performance immediately after Lentz’s effort, which fewer people witnessed because of Lentz – and it hurt the sport as a whole. No one watching that Lentz fight was entertained, no one turned to their buddy and screamed ‘Damn! This fight is so awesome! He’s holding the hell out of him!’ I would never presume to speak for the UFC, but I can’t see Lentz getting any more prime time opportunities anytime soon.”
The debate rages on and while there may be some merit to Hardy’s argument, do not expect any official rule changes coming down against stifling wrestling control. Hardy and fighters like him will and should remain free to express their opinions on the matter but must adapt in order to deal with the rising role of wrestling in mixed martial arts lest they fall by the wayside.