I’ve been involved, in and around Mma for a good ten years. One of the things I’ve noticed that has never really changed about it is people shouting “fix” at any available opportunity.
A lot of times something strange happens in a fight, (guess what? strange things do sometimes ‘just happen’ in fights and I feel like screaming ‘take off your tin foil hat, take your medication and calm the fuck down’). A good example of this is Rich Franklin v’s Ken Shamrock. If you look at this fight, Ken just seems to fall to his knees while Franklin then lands a couple of heavy shots and finishes the fight. People cried out ‘fix’ straight away. I admit, it did look weird but to actually assume it’s a fix out of looking a bit weird doesn’t make sense. You have to first ask the question, who other than Franklin would benefit from risking everything the UFC has built up and its reputation? What would be the purpose? Franklin won a fight he should’ve won anyway, so who would’ve gained in ‘fixing’ it?
Generally I think there are very few legitimate fixes. I’ll talk about a few below and two of the fights have the same person in them.
In my own career, no MMA Fight Organisation or promoter has ever asked me to throw a fight. It has never happened and I would be shocked if it did.The most that has been asked of me was when I was fighting in Japan (what I was asked was nothing like being asked to throw a fight- but I mention it to let you know the type of things a fight org might say to a fighter). I was asked, badgered and generally pestered to do the ‘gong and dash’ (running at my opponent at the sound of the bell). This was at a time I didn’t really want to do it, since people had got wise to it and I was getting caught out as I rushed them. But I was never threatened or forced to do it.
I was offered a KO bonus against Kimbo (which I had never been offered before for Elite XC) but I can’t see anything wrong with this, although it could be seen as a way to steer the fight in a certain direction. All fights come with these sorts of incentives these days.
People often ask me about the Kimbo fight and if the ref was ‘paid off’. My answer to this is ‘no I don’t think he was at all’. I do think he was swayed by promoters screaming at him to stand the action up and he acted in a biased fashion, add in the fact that Dan Miragliotta has a slightly higher IQ level than a block of cement then it makes sense that he’s going to listen to the powers that be, shouting orders, but I don’t suspect money was exchanged. He was on their payroll, so loyalties led with pleasing his bosses. Was it fair? like fuck was it but shit happens.
I’ve had more than my fair share of fights that have ended in a questionable fashion. I think it’s because I’m in a strange position of being a fighter with a few good wins, but also a lot of bad losses. So when a promoter of an up and coming Mma organisation wants to match his ‘golden boy’ against someone, I get a look in because I have a some creditability, I look the part, I always come to fight but most importantly for the MMA organisation in question, they think I’m beatable.. Thus propelling said ‘golden boy’ to even higher levels of shining goldenness.
This has happened with both Kimbo and Pudzianowski.
Now please don’t think I’m complaining… I’m not. I know I’m lucky to be getting the chances to fight in these massive main event fights, especially when my record has been less than stellar. But with all these incredible chances to fight in the main event on these shows, comes vast amounts of bias from the refs and judges. Whilst it’s far from fair, it’s not fixed.
Let’s take my last fight against Pudz. It wasn’t fixed, no money was exchanged but that’s because it didn’t need to be. Just take a ‘Polish hero’ add three Polish Judges that are around the Polish Mma scene, mix in the fact that they even train with some of the fighters they’re judging and your final outcome is the ‘fucking joke’ of a result we saw ( before KSW reversed the decision to a N/C).
Ok, I’ve gone off on enough of a tangent and explained about some of my fights and expectations of me by fight orgs that…whilst unfair I believe were not fixed. It’s just a simple lesson that, any time an Mma org has built their entire foundations of the company on one fighter…You’re likely to see these unfair questionable decisions. The more the bad decisions are pointed out and the more aware MMA fans become of this, the less likely they are to happen
So, a lot of Mma fights are biased but what about ‘fixed’ fights? What about when a fighter gets X amount of cash to lose a fight? Say what you will about Dana White and the UFC, I can’t think of any fight that was or has been accused of being ‘fixed’ that I myself deem as legitimate. I just don’t think it goes on in the UFC. Dana White & co would have too much to lose. You have to go way back to before White & the Ferro Ties took control of the UFC and that’s UFC 5.
Don Frye vs. Mark Hall. It was a tournament format. Hall say’s Frye offered him ‘£50,000’ to take a dive so he’d be fresh in the next round. Frye says Hall is a ‘very disturbed individual’.
Another fight that I’m pretty sure was a work, was in UFC 6 – Oleg Taktarov vs. Anthony Macias. They were training partners and decided between themselves that Oleg had the best chance of winning the tournament, so Macias gave him an easy pass.
The next fight which I’m pretty sure was a ‘fix’ was Marc Coleman v Takada. The idea was to give Takada more credibility with the fans. Takada is, for reasons that escape me, a Japanese legend, massively popular but with limited Mma skills, that beat Coleman (who was at the time- top of his game) with a heel hook. This is most defiantly a fix as many believe all Takada wins are. I think the commentator Bas Rutten said it best about this fight… “What is he (Coleman) doing!!?”
If ‘fixes’ take place in MMA then I do feel they are more likely to take place in Japanese Mma. I say this having fought over there a lot (please note as I said earlier I’ve never been approached to throw any fights, all my losses are painfully down to me). In my experience the Japanese fighters were controlled more than their foreign counterparts. This also fits in with the Japanese culture, which if you read up on is very ‘them versus us’. When an Mma organisation feels like it has control over its fighters, that’s when you’re more likely to see fixes occur.
One of my favourites is (our old mate) Takada vs. Tamura. What amuses me about this fight is that the only real way you can tell its fixed, is from Tamura’s reaction when he won by KO as Takada rushed at him. Tamura’s reaction was of a man totally gutted that he’d won! He didn’t even want his hand raised at the end & looked completely miserable. I’m guessing he was slightly worried about what the Yakuza were going make of it all since they’d probably betted heavily on that fight! As for Takada, it’s bad when you can’t even win a fight that’s fixed for you to win. I’ll include the video for you to check out, it’s funny.
All the fights I’ve mentioned above are because I’m sure they were ‘works’. The UFC ones happened a long time ago, and I’ve explained how I think it sometimes works in Japan. So summing up, yes fixes happen… of course they do. But they are very very scarce and personally I haven’t seen any legitimate cases in the UFC nowadays, unless the fighters sort it out between themselves and I just can’t see that happening. What is much more likely to happen is an MMA organisation want’s a particular fighter to win because they’ve based their whole organisation on the shoulders of this person, hence the deck is stacked in their favour in as many ways as possible. Unfair but no fix.
Here’s the Vid of Takada/ Tamura