UFC President Dana White has a job to do as a promoter. From his perspective it must be frustrating when he has a difficulty finding fighters to fight on short notice. This frustration has spilled out into public forum once again as he criticized Cheick Kongo turning down a short notice fight with Roy Nelson at TUF Finale 16 on DEC 15. White is quoted in saying “you’re either fighters of you’re not. You come out and you fight and you put it all on the line and if you win you, if you, back to the drawing board”. With that in mind isn’t it the fighters “job” to be adequately prepared for an upcoming fight? With the popularity of the UFC rising daily the monetary benefits of being in the #1 promotion in MMA fighters on the roster must be adequately prepared to fight.
Let’s take a look at the recently cut welterweight DeMarques Johnson. Johnson lost 4 out of his last 5 fights, 2 of which he stepped in on short notice (about 2 weeks approximately in each case) against Amir Sadollah and Gunnar Nelson. Without taking anything away from both Sadollah and Nelson one cannot wonder if the outcome of each fight would have been different had Johnson had a full camp. Would Johnson be able to prepare better counters to Sadollah’s high volume striking attack? Would a few extra weeks of studying Nelson’s highly touted BJJ game? Again, we as the MMA community can only guess if each of the results would have turned out differently if Johnson had more time to prepare. At the same time though, it is not out of line to think though his performance would have been better with a full training camp.
The legendary UCLA basketball coach once stated "There is no substitute for being prepared and preparedness can be acquired only by concentrated study, determination and hard work." UFC Champions Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre often refer to their preparedness as the reason for their success. You cannot blame Dana White to be frustrated when it is difficult to find injury replacements. Conversely, with so much at stake can we really blame a fighter when he/she turns down a fight because lack of time to prepare? I really don’t think so.