Once again I was able to catch up with Dr. Ferguson for another Monday Morning Quarterbacking Session and the good doctor has some interesting things to say. We were able to touch on Bendo, MMA research, Jessica Eye, Ronda Rousey, Strongstyle MMA and what he feels about the criticism of people who don’t “finish fights.”
Jack Bratcher: Well Dr. Ferguson, here we are once again for Monday Morning Quarterbacking with Dr. Rhadi Ferguson. In the true sense of being a Monday Morning Quarterback, what was your take on UFC on FOX 10 this weekend?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: First and foremost UFC on Fox 10 was once again an excellent opportunity for fight fans to enjoy the fights and for those new to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts to enjoy the display of some of the best sports entertainers in the world. While watching the fights I could not help but notice how some of the outcomes were heavily influenced by injuries to the hands of the fighters.
I enjoy watching knockouts as much as any other person and I also enjoy the grappling aspect in the sport of MMA but I do think that it is time to look aggressively at a different option than the 4 ounce gloves which are being used currently. “The Incidence of Hand Fractures In MMA In Comparison To Boxing” would be an interesting study for someone to do.
At UFC on Fox 10, the hand injuries sustained by Gabriel Gonzaga in Gonzaga vs. Miocic and by Thomson in Thomson vs. Henderson are believed to have had a huge impact on the outcomes of the match. So much that many have alluded to the outcomes possibly being different.
Well, let’s understand a few things. I recently had a conversation with the President of Bahamas Judo Federation about a set of data from the 2014 Europe vs. Asia Ecco Judo Team Challenge. This tournament was the first of the year where the new 2014 International Judo Federation rules were used. Now, while having a conversation I provided my take on what I saw and he provided his take on what he saw per the data. I disagreed with a few points and he reminded me, “Dr. Ferguson, the data is the data.” To which point, I had to assess the way in which I saw the matches and now have to go back and watch them again, differently. I watched them with a certain amount of bias and if not pointed out to me with the data set provided, I would have continued to believe my biased outlook. Which to me, would have been 100% correct, irrespective of the data. Which is beyond foolish.
Now with that being said, let’s take a step back.
Let’s group Anderson Silva, Gonzaga, and Thomson in the same category and look at what the research tells us.
On average 40% of Mixed Martial Arts bouts end with at least one of the fighters being injured. Within that 40% there are many types of injuries. An injury to the hand occurred 13% of the time.
If you watch an MMA fight, the probability of an injury occurring is the following: 28.6 injuries per 100 fight participants.
And, the research also clearly states that those who lose due to injury or from the effects of an injury are older than their opponent.
So, as much as we would like to attribute the breaking of a hand, leg, foot or arm to chance and happenstance – the data is the data. Now, is luck, chance and happenstance a very real part of sport? Of course. But as my good friend and mentor Professor D’Arcy Rahming so perfectly provided it to me, I will provide it to you…… “The data is the data.”
Jack Bratcher: Dr. Ferguson if some of our readers want to actually check out data on Mixed Martial Arts what should they do or what can they do?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Jack there is not a lot of data out there on Mixed Martial Arts but the body of knowledge is definitely growing along with the popularity of the sport. The studies that I referenced can be found in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. More specifically the article which I am referencing….. hold on for a second please while I find it (Dr. Ferguson taps at the keyboard for a moment).
Here it is, the title of the article is, the Incidence of injury in professional mixed martial arts competitions. It out of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, the 2006 edition, pages 136 to 142.
And the other piece of research is from a gentleman by the name of Dr. Richard Buse. Now Dr. Buse received some vitriol from his article and research especially by those in the non-academic population. Many fail to realize that the research done by people on MMA is necessary for the sport to exist. For it to exist it has to exist on many levels and the body of knowledge must expand through research. And some research is done, many times, so that more can be done. As the young folks say, “There’s levels to this ish.” (Dr. Ferguson laughed)
Jack Bratcher: Didn’t you write some research as well?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Yes, I served as the Associate Editor for the Journal of Asian Martial Arts and penned two pieces of research on the incidence of armbars and chokes in the UFC with the hopes that such research would impact the behaviors of coaches and athletes in the sport in terms of how best to use their time when practicing and what should be the key area or areas of focus per the research.
Jack Bratcher: As always Doc, you bring some interesting points to the table and talking with you is always enlightening, but lets get back on topic here. So what do you think about Henderson?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Benson is a veteran of the sport. He did a wonderful job making sure that he did enough to win. I thought he won the fight and most importantly the judges did too. I’ve read some criticism of him recently in that he doesn’t “finish” fights. That is the DUMBEST and most IDIOTIC thing that I’ve heard people say. It’s like criticizing a wrestler because he doesn’t pin everybody or a judo player because she doesn’t throw everybody for ippon or a boxer because they don’t knock out every opponent. Look, this is a sport. It has rules. It’s also a job where you get to continue to stay and play as long as you win. People do not get cut from the UFC when they are winning. They get cut when they lose. You can win close fights for your whole career and not get cut. If you lose three in a row, close or not, you are going to be on the “bubble.” And trust me, when you have a house note, car note, and the taxes which are due on the new car that Dana gave you, the last thing that you want is job insecurity. So winning is paramount. Other than that, being exciting is great as a bonus in terms of pay-per-view money, but winning is paramount.
Also when the higher-ranked competitors fight each other, the matches are going to be more strategic and fighters will take less chances. They will stick with the staple techniques. Quality takedowns, jabs and sitting on the right hand without exposing much. The champions are those that do the little things correct. I think that people disrespect Benson when they criticize the way in which he’s winning. I think they should spend their time examining how everybody else keeps losing.
Jack Bratcher: What about some of the other fights?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Well, I am very impressed with Stipe Miocic. While working with Brian Rogers and Jessica Eye at Strongstyle MMA in Ohio, I had the privilege of watching Stipe workout and train. There are very few people that I have seen who are his size that move like an antelope. He’s quick, he’s fast and he’s in love with the sport and competition. I picked him to win this past weekend because I just believe that, even in lacking some things that Gonzaga has, Stipe is just a better all-around athlete. He’s improving and getting better and I truly believe 2014 is going to be an excellent year for him in MMA. His biggest challenge or the biggest challenge for his coaches is going to be getting someone in there who can keep him sharp. You need about 2 or 3 heavyweights that he can bang against during the week. Cormier has this at AKA and the heavyweights at American Top Team have this option too. It keeps them sharp. Stipe may have to travel some and/or utilize his contacts in wrestling to make sure that he has some heavyweight that can really challenge him. In the next 10-14 months, he’s going to be one of the best Heavyweight MMA fighters on the planet. And he already believes he is now, which is proof positive of my statement.
Jack Bratcher: So you’ve worked with Jessica Eye too?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Yep. She’s an absolute joy to be around. Just a great person.
Jack Bratcher: So, what will you do if the stars align and Jessica has to fight Ronda? Will you help Jessica?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Jack! What’s up with you and all of the controversial questions? (laughing)
Jack Bratcher: Hey, Doc, I’m just doing my job. You said you wanted to keep it exciting. And you coached Thiago Alves, the only man in history who was able to shut down the judo of Karo Parisyan. And you did it so well that Thiago has spoken highly of your ability to coach. I’m just wondering if you would help Jessica.
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: Look Jack. I have been utilized as a coach slash consultant for Jessica Eye previously. If I get called for that job, I’ll do my job. Cormier has to fight Evans. Evans had to fight Sonnen. Tito had to fight Evans. And that’s just the nature of the business. Sooner or later there will be some personal conflicts. But that’s a bridge that I’ll cross when I get to it. Both fighters have to win their bouts and then maybe Jessica needs to win one more, and maybe not depending on Cat Zingano’s injury and her personal hardships. And then, I have to get the request which I may or may not get. And then my schedule has to permit. So there are many things that have to line up for that to occur, but I do most certainly expect between 2014 and 2015 for Strongstyle MMA to have one helluva year.
Man, Jack, you really know how to put the pressure on me. I don’t feel like I tap danced around that as well as I did the Cormier vs. Evans question that you popped up on me a few weeks ago. But, Jack, it’s been fun man, I must run. We’ll talk next week brother.
Jack Bratcher: Doc, thanks for your time. I never really know exactly where we’re going with these sessions but I know they’re gonna be good. Take care.
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson: You too.
See our previous editions of Monday Morning Quarterbacking with Dr. Rhadi Ferguson.