Tonight, Thursday, January 24th, Bellator Fighting Championships hosted it's 86th event in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The event so far has consisted of welterweight tournament semifinals bouts, a lightweight and middleweight bout. This fanpost will focus on the gritty, ugly fight between Raul Amaya and Jose Gomes. Let's get to why this bout was so tough to watch.
1: The technique. Certainly, a barn burning slobber-knocker is a fight that most fans can get behind. It's a veritable concoction of testosterone and bad feelings, which typically culminates in a knockout or an exciting fight. However, when you watched this fight, you saw something slightly different. Over the course of the bout, Amaya and Gomes disregarded fighter safety and tossed punches with little set up that saw both of them slip to the ground, regardless of contact being made or not. The few instances the fight hit the ground (slips aside) neither man showed very sophisticated grappling skills.
As to why this sort of thing is bad? These are men who have applied for and been given the title of professional mixed martial artists. While neither man shows a record worth berating (both having excellent win/loss ratios), this fight proved that professionalism can be disregarded. When potential customers of mixed martial arts come across a fight like that, what they see aren't two men who have spent weeks in training preparing to fight a highly skilled opponent. What they see are two men swinging wildly at the faintest vision of an opponent. Skill-wise, this bout left much to be desired.
2. The referee. Kerry Hatley blew it in this fight. When the fight proper was happening, and both men were capable of defending themselves, he did his job by letting them do theirs. However, as soon as Gomes was caught, and toppled backwards with his head hitting the canvas like Yves Edwards' did against Sam Stout, his job was to step in and protect the fighter while he was down. Did he? Not even remotely. The fight continued on, with Hatley telling a clearly out of it Gomes to defend himself, all the while Amaya doing his job of punching in Gomes' face. I don't know if sitting upright with your guard away from the area being bulldozed constitutes as defending oneself, but it must have to Hatley. After several more unfettered blows, Hatley finally decided to step in. That took far too long, and was by and large a tremendous disappointment.