Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
No one will ever accuse Clay Guida of competing at half-speed -- that's just not who he is.
So you'll have to excuse him if he isn't buying into the theory that the reason why so many UFC fighters are getting injured these days is because they're training too hard. In fact, he sees no right answer to the latest hot-button issue plaguing the sport, other than maybe bad luck.
"You're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't," Guida told MMAFighting.com. "People say when you take it easy in training is when you get hurt. I played football growing up and my coaches used to say, The time you take a play off or you take it light is when you get hurt. And then, in most sports, like in MMA training, when you go hard is when you get hurt. That's why I say you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't.
"It's tough. You always gotta be on the ball and be ready for everything, unfortunately."
Over the past month, major UFC fights have been scrapped due to an assortment of injuries. Fans bought tickets to watch the likes of Dominick Cruz, Thiago Alves, Brian Stann, Jose Aldo, Michael Bisping and countless others fight, only to be reminded of the dreaded "card subject to change" line at the bottom of the bout sheet every time another quality scrap was, well, scrapped.
UFC president Dana White said last week on FUEL TV that he thinks fighters could be training too hard these days.
"You have so many talented guys out there now all in the same camp going at it like they're fighting for the title. These guys need to tone it down in training a little bit and stop hurting each other."
Gray Maynard, Guida's opponent at UFC on FX 4 next Friday, tends to agree more with White on this issue.
"I think there's a lot of people out there who push the guys too hard," Maynard said. "They think more is better and more this, more that, but it's not. That's how a lot of injuries occur.
"I'm not saying it's all coaches. I'm telling you that when there's a team it's always, bring in the best guys, hard sparring, everything's hard, day after day after day. Your body can't take that. You gotta pull back. There are camps that a lot of the injuries could be avoided by how they train. They could be a little smarter about it."
Also, as Guida pointed out, fighters often bump into each other while training, which causes unexpected injuries. For example, that's how Guida's former teammate Rashad Evans injured himself before his scheduled UFC 128 title fight against Mauricio Rua last year.
"You just have to be conscious of your whereabouts and who's around you. A lot of times you see this stuff, it might not even be the person you're sparring with, you know, somebody else can shoot a takedown and lands on an ankle or a knee, whatever it is. Sometimes people may be careless, they let their guard down."
In the end, though, it all goes back to the job description. Injuries occur when you fight, and that will never change. Eventually, the dreaded UFC injury bug will leave us alone for a period of time, just like it has over the past couple of years. What a relief that will be for all involved.
"You gotta realize, this is what we do," Guida said. "This is how we make a living."
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