Sometimes, legends need to be laid to rest
Fighting is a merciless sport. It does not care much for who you are, were, or could be. When it comes to sports, and especially one as physically demanding as Mixed Martial Arts, you best believe that ‘age’ DOES matter. Time not spent in a gym, does matter. Time spent away from the ring or a cage, DEFINITELY matters. How many times are we going to see these legends get back into the ring to prove the phantom of greatness, to ‘come back for a title run’, only to be badly hurt and sent home with concussions. Age and youth are every athlete’s curse, it’s healthy to realize that you are NOT who you used to be 5 – 10 years ago.
‘No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’
What is also healthy to realize is the very nature of MMA. A sport that changes every day if not every second. Its constant evolution discards all the methods of old that just cannot cut it in today’s ring/octagon, and have been modified into something completely new, almost unrecognizable. Such is the nature of creativity – the old comes together to make the new, and only the new may be useful, the old can sometimes become irrelevant. Mixed Martial Arts involves the practical, the most efficient and pragmatic of approaches when it comes to deploying itself. Basically – if you’re not in the MMA machine learning new techniques, and improving your health situations, then you’re just food for the hungrier, angrier and more well-prepared wolf.
BJ Penn – The Prodigy
BJ Penn – 2nd out of 3 TWO division belt holders. He was called the Prodigy because that is exactly what he was in his prime, defeating the best in both Light and Welterweight divisions. He fought the who’s who of the times – Matt Hughes, Matt Sera, Caol Uno, Georges St. Pierre, Nick Diaz, Renzo Gracie, Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Frankie Edgar; the list goes on. He is the same man that won the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship only weeks after he earned his black belt (which took him a total of 3 years).
Yes, this is that man. Is he the same? The answer, unfortunately, is no. One can respect his will and need to fight top contenders but it’s just not wise. The top contender of his day is considered average by fight standards. A black belt from 8 – 10 years ago cannot be compared to a black belt of today.
It took Yair Rodriguez no more than a round and a half to put a stop to the Prodigy. He tested that once legendary granite chin of BJ Penn’s and he tested it well. BJ didn’t have an answer for him.
Rowdy Ronda Rousey
The same can be said for Ronda Rousey – she built the women’s bantamweight division in the UFC. She is the reason most women enjoy MMA in two different divisions in the most popular of fighting organizations. Her Judo background made her the most feared woman in the octagon until she abandoned her bread and butter and decided to become a striker. After her terrible loss against Holm, the once queen of the UFC was no longer the same. Revisit Amanda Nunez vs Ronda Rousey – the result was horrendous.
Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva
Anderson Silva – no matter what you say, was considered the Greatest of all Time, today he is still respected as the once most prolific, most scariest, and deadliest of strikers; can he pull the same techniques he’s pulled from his hay day? Maybe not. After Chris Weidman – he too has not been the same.
Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre
Who’s next in line? Maybe it’s Georges St. Pierre? He’s apparently in tip top fighting condition, and as supporters we can only wish him the best. After seeing all the legends return though, we can only hope he’s better than the GSP of old – because today’s fighters are of a different league altogether.
At the end of the day athletes are the ‘never say die’ sort. Quit is not in them, and that is a trait that makes them great, legendary. How far does one go to prove a point before he/she is injured severely? Athletes need to realize what is good for them and what is not – pride, ego and name aside.
When it comes to MMA – this point cannot be emphasized more upon. We cannot stress enough that health, and safety should always come first. It is ironic that one must care so much about breaking something in a sport that is all about breaking ‘something. Money, fame and glory is one thing – permanent brain damage is another.
As a brand that makes protective gear for athletes – RDX wishes only the best of luck to fighters who wish to become fighters like BJ Penn, Rousey, Silva, or St. Pierre – legends that shaped and built this sport into what it is today. We also wish their safety and wellbeing for themselves, their families and of course, us, the fans.
RDX Sport – Giant Inside