Monday, August 23, 2010

Bobby Lashley: Part Time Fighter?

Allow me to say right off the bat that I truly don't know what to think about Bobby Lashley.  Because I don't know what to think, I can't really formulate cognizant thoughts and opinions.  Because I can't formulate cognizant thoughts and opinions, I may even contradict myself...But none of this means I don't have something to say.

There were a number of things that went wrong at last nights' Strike Force event, but there is one in particular that stands out in reference to Bobby Lashley: for his ring announcement, his credentials included being a 2-time WWE heavyweight champion.


First, and most importantly, how is being the WWE champ in anyway relevant to MMA?  One is the fastest growing combat sport in the world, while the other is a testosterone based soap opera with predetermined conclusions.  Why would you want to make any reference where one is compared to the other? 

Second, the last I knew, the WWE didn't have weight classes, so why make the distinction of being the heavy weight champ? (I know I am knit-picking, but it's irritating).

Next, let's discuss his physique.

Lashley is an immensely muscled man.  While this is great in the weight room or for intimidation factor in "Big Time Wrastlin'", it is definitely not conducive to fighting.  It takes a massive amount of oxygen to keep blood flowing to those gargantuan delts and rippling pectorals.  Lashley falls into the extreme end of a category occupied with Phil Baroni and Thiago Alves.  The fact that Lashley boasts such incredible muscular size, thickness, and density tells me one thing: He hasn't been doing his cardio.

Don't get me wrong; I'm sure he spends plenty of time on an exercise bike or walking treadmill.  I know from experience, however, that there is a world of difference between bodybuilding cardio training and fighting cardio training.  The intensity demanding from a fighter's cardio training is guaranteed to create what is called "catabolism".  By definition, catabolism basically  means "muscle destroying".  Think about the difference between Lashley and cardio monsters like Forrest Griffen or Clay Guida.

Speaking of Guida...

For his second professional MMA fight, Lashley faced Jason Guida (whose only claim to fame is that his brother, Clay, is a mid/top tier UFC fighter).  Jason Guida, however, was a late replacement for Lashley's original opponent, Ken Shamrock.  Ken was removed from the match up due to the fact that he tested positive for anabolic steroids.  My thoughts on this immediately go to....

Lashley's collegiate wrestling weight his senior year was 168 pounds...

Ken got busted, but Bobby was clean?  He probably just has really good genetics.
Now, let's talk about his performance last night against Chad Griggs.

Bobby is a wrestler, Chad is a Jits far as a ground game goes, there are a number of parameters and objectives.  Even in MMA, the most important thing to think about in a ground scrap is "space".  If you are on bottom, you need to create space in order to create opportunity.  If you are on top, you want to eliminate space in order to exude control.  Wrestlers are naturally very good from a top position in eliminating "space".  Bobby, an accomplished wrestler, didn't accomplish his objective.

While Lashley secured a number of takedowns, his top position transitions (against an unheralded/ unknown opponent) were sloppy at best.  As a matter of fact, his shots (while effective in the first round) were not nearly as crisp, technical, or fast as I would have expected.  This in turn gives me cause to ask: How much training did you actually do for this fight? 

Lastly, there are a couple of technicalities that I noticed:

Near the end of the first round, Griggs landed a strong uppercut that opened Lashley up.No one likes to get cut.  When blood gets into your eyes, it not only stings, but it'll gum your eye shut. With that in mind, Lashley's cut was below his eye, negating the aforementioned effects. It will, however,still gush blood, and coming out for the second round it appeared that Lashley's eye was curiously devoid of Vaseline.  How was it that that could be overlooked?

The second cut issue was instigated by the official.  While Lashley held top mount the official called a stop to the action to stand things up.  Really? A fighter holds an incredibly dominant position, and the official stands things up?  A doctor then inspected Lashley's cut, and gave an affirmative approval.  The official then restarted the fight without placing Lashley back into his previous position.

As the round continues, Lashley is visibly more and more fatigued.  While he maintained dominance, his shots are becoming noticeably weaker and weaker.  The bell finally rings, and Lashley struggles to pick himself up off the canvas ( see the previous paragraphs on cardio and training).  Rather than allowing the one minute break allotted any fighter in any combat sport, the official called a stop to the fight after the bell.

Are you kidding me?

While I understand that the officials are there to intercede on behalf of a fighters safety, unless the fighter himself, the fighter's corner, or a doctor calls it "quits", the end of the round is the end of the round.

Lastly, after Chad Griggs was confirmed as the winner, Bobby Lashley left the ring without comment.  After the fall out with Forrest Griffen and Anderson Silva, I can't help but wonder about the fan based repercussions.

I can't help but ask Mr. Lashley: what are your intentions? He has been confirmed/ withdrawn from a number of fights ( for reasons ranging from injury to not being on a televised card).  He has taken a lengthy hiatus from MMA to go back into professional wrestling.  Now, after his first defeat, he flees the scene.  This does not strike me as someone that is taking the sport seriously.

While he may have all the tools to become a contender, I don't feel like Bobby Lashley has the dedication.  Professional fighting in a high league organization is not a part time job.  It's not just what you do, it's who you are...and it's not for everyone, no matter what you did in the WWE.

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