The most important trait for a fighter?
Brock Lesnar was very clear on the UFC 100 conference call that money is the big reason he fights in the UFC.
“This is prize fighting for me,” Lesnar said. “If you look at it any other way then you might as well fight in the underground, you know with bare knuckles and fight in the streets as far as I’m concerned.”
Now, that was in response to a question on Frank Mir calling himself a true martial artist and saying Lesnar only fights for money. There’s no doubt Lesnar loves the sport and loves doing what he does but the bottom line is what’s paramount.
Lesnar knows how to play the game and how to promote a fight and those are things outside of what happens in the Octagon that have gotten him where he is today.
Mir, whether he’d like to think so or not, is closer to Brock Lesnar than he realizes in that respect. He may have more invested in the sport and may love the sport more but Mir has done his fair share of talking trash and hyping the fight, which are things necessary to improve the bottom line but not to someone who wants to be above the fray.
Another UFC 100 fighter, Jon Fitch, fits that martial artist label a little better. I spoke with Jon this week (the full interview will be up later this week) and he said he doesn’t get wrapped up in the stuff outside of the Octagon.
“I don’t care about making money or putting on a show,” he said. “I’m a martial artist and I want to improve myself and be the best. I could talk smack but it’s not me and not how I think it should work.”
“Some guys focus on flashy fights but I just want to beat good opponents with solid wins and it’s just not my job to sell tickets. Too many new fans are accustomed to the professional wrestling side and think every match should be like a pro wrestling match.”
Fitch isn’t a flashy fighter but he’s impressive in the Octagon and has developed quite a resume. Lesnar, on the other hand, is more flash than anything. I don’t think we’ve seen Lesnar as good as he will become and while he’s pretty intimidating, right now he is still fairly raw as a fighter.
But, he’s an honest guy who knows how to get people interested for a fight. And, like a Wanderlei Silva, he’s got an exciting style (until he gasses).
The mantra always used to be “put on a show” in the Octagon. So which side should be more important? Is it the flash and the pizzazz to sell tickets and hype a fight and to have an entertaining fight style or is it more important to just win?