The Bellator welterweight challenger, Jon Fitch, believes that introducing yellow cards in MMA fights would greatly benefit both the fighters who are really looking to fight and the quality of the fights. Fitch has been part of many fights in which opponents have tried to do anything but fight and he thinks that introducing yellow cards can reduce this phenomenon to a minimum.
The former PFL Welterweight champion enters into most fights as the bookies’ favourite to win and as a result has to face opponents who are usually heavy underdogs. Betting operators such as bet365 always give the American very low odds for victory and with those odds it is almost never enough to only deliver the victory as it is expected from the fighter to triumph in style with an attractive knockout whenever possible.
Punters often try to increase the miniscule odds offered for Fitch by betting on propositions such as to win by knockout or technical knockout which come with higher odds and if Fitch fails to deliver those outcomes it is fair to say that betting aficionados are quite disappointed.
The Daley Incident
One such instance was the Paul Daley fight which took place in San Jose, California a year ago. In it, the WSOF Welterweight champion was a heavy favourite with bookmakers to triumph in the Bellator 199 event, but due to Paul Daley’s defensive style and visible insistence on slowing down the fight he could only win by decision.
On that occasion, Daley was more focused on yelling at the crowd, protesting to the refs and using foul language towards the broadcast team. Basically, he spent all of his energy on doing nothing as Finch so eloquently put it. Finch is certainly known for grappling his opponents quite a lot during a fight and has to take some of the blame for the slow pace, but Daley’s insistence on holding onto his wrist and not doing much else bode well with no one.
Yellow Cards Could Help the MMA
Fitch feels that the easiest way to remedy this increasingly popular tendency among underdogs is to introduce yellow cards. If the MMA decided to take such a step, Finch thinks that most of the fights will change for the better.
Due to his sluggish style of drowning opponents with punches while pinning them to the ground Fitch has often been blamed for slow fighting action which is unattractive to watch himself. However, as the guy on top, he is definitely not the only one who should be blamed. This is because the other fighter probably spent the majority of the time with a closed guard and refusing to give the fans the fight that they paid for.
This can easily be resolved if the fighter with a closed guard got booked with a yellow card for his negative fighting style. This would serve as a warning for the fighter and the next step, the red card, could be much more costly if he refuses to become more proactive.
Something like this has been part of boxing for a long time. In boxing, if one of the competitors is hugging and holding the other fighter all the time, he gets a warning. If he continues, he gets a point taken away from his tally. Something similar would make MMA fights much better according to Finch.
Time will tell if MMA authorities will get on board with Finch’s idea, but encouraging fighters to get involved in the fight and to prevent stalling can only be considered as a good thing. Finch might not be the most attractive fighter on the eye, but his points are valid and have the potential to make the MMA much more interesting.