Chunky or smooth peanut butter, chocolate or vanilla, cats or dogs, rings or cages, these are life’s hard hitting existential questions of preference that separate humanity into distinct, unwavering factions. For MMA fans in particular, the ‘ring vs. cage’ debate is one that rages on, seemingly without end, in gyms, dorm rooms, and homes across the world. Purists cite the oft quoted adage that “animals fight in cages; gentlemen fight in rings”, while progressives see the ring as a relic of a bygone era of brutal soccer kicks and vicious knees to grounded opponents.
There’s no right or wrong answer, and it’s a debate that will likely never be resolved. Since the fall of PRIDE in 2007, nearly every major MMA promotion has adopted some form of cage as its staging ground– Bellator, The UFC, Strikeforce, ONE FC, the list goes on. Even PRIDE’s Japanese successor, DREAM, sidelined their iconic white ring in favor of a fishing-net wrapped contraption at DREAM.12. Whether it be for logistical reasons (not everyone is a fan of pausing fights to untangle grown men from ring ropes) or to appeal to a North American audience that has largely grown up watching MMA in The Octagon, the cage seems to be here to stay.
One North American promotion however has bucked the trend. After experimenting with a cage at MFC 29, Canadian promotion Maximum Fighting Championship announced today that all future events will once again take place in the organization’s fan-favorite ring. MFC President, and unapologetic ring supporter, Mark Pavelich cited fan preference as the primary motivation for his decision. Said Pavelich:
I love the fact that our fans are devoted and opinionated. They’ve had their say about everything from where we do the fights, the fighters they want to see, and about whether they like the ring or the cage. We’ve listened.
Fight fans can expect to see the familiar white ring at MFC 34: Total Recall, set to take place on August 10th. Whether or not MFC finds itself on the right side of history in the cage vs. ring debate is yet to be seen; however, the company’s willingness to remain unique among major promotions is commendable in and of itself.
By the way, that thing I said earlier about there not being a right or wrong answer, I lied. Consider me a purist.