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More Than Meets the Eye
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Do rematches have any place in MMA?

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Do rematches have any place in MMA?

The list of great rematches in MMA is pretty extensive - Rampage/Liddell, GSP/Penn, Griffin/Bonnar, Big Nog/Fedor, Penn/Hughes, Penn/Pulver, Hughes/GSP, Serra/GSP, Franklin/Silva, Faber/Brown, Lawler/Smith, Coleman/Shogun - I could go on for some time but you catch my drift. All of these had something in the first fight that made people want more...and what the people want, the people tend to get.

Clearly the circumstances play a part but, in the grand scheme of things, rematches are an important part of the business. Rematches provoke rivalries, rivalries bring hostility and hostility creates interest (people watching, buys etc)...and there’s nothing a MMA company wants more than interest.

People want to know if a big win was a fluke, a one-off, or whether someone was just better on the night. People also want to see the big names go at it as often as possible. The fans want to see their favourites given the opportunity to avenge a loss. The majority want to see a fight with a disputable finish (contentious decision, early stoppage, even split decisions etc) given the chance to make it right.

On the majority of occasions rematches bring a higher level of anticipation - has the loser changed his game?, will the winner be complacent?, was it a lucky KO?, cage different to ring? etc, etc - all these factors contribute to a fight people are eager to see.

As I alluded to earlier in this debate, rematches provoke rivalries, hostility and interest - all the ingredients for a great feud. And where would the sport be without feuds? Let's look at a couple of feuds and how important the rematches were in the bigger picture.

Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell - The two biggest names in MMA, more specifically UFC, history had a trilogy for the ages. Couture was coming off the back of 2 defeats at HW and Chuck was cutting through the LHW division like a hot knife through butter, riding a 10 fight win streak going into the bout - apparently there was little question that Randy was set-up to be the fall guy. However, the supposedly washed-up Couture defied the critics to beat the up and coming Iceman, earning his Captain America nickname in the process. Was there ever a choice but to have a rematch??

And when Liddell avenged his defeat in the rematch, claiming the LHW title in the process, and levelled the scores at 1 win each, how could a rubber match be denied?? Of course, it couldn't and it wasn't - Liddell settled the conflict with a decisive win to bring an end to the argument.

There's little debate for how important the feud was for the UFC, and it’s probably second only to the combination of TUF and Bonnar Vs Griffin, in bringing MMA into the mainstream. The fact Chuck and Randy are probably the most famous and recognisable MMA fighters of all time owes a part to their fight and subsequent rematches.

Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock - Built on the back of Ortiz's dispute with the Lion's Den, Ken decided it was his job to teach the cocksure "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" some respect. In this case, Shamrock wasn't worthy of a rematch, having been so convincingly despatched but the feud itself carried huge public interest. The fact Tito demolished Ken in the first fight only increased interest for Shamrock to get his revenge.

With TUF3 breathing new life into the quarrel, they fittingly had another battle - Ortiz triumphed again but this time by stoppage, which was disputed as being too soon by Shamrock. A 3rd battle was announced to finally settle the debate and after another crushing defeat for Shamrock the beef was squashed.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was another trilogy of huge interest (as well as my personal favourite). Probably the most brutal series of matches between any two competitors, the two had an intense dislike of each other and it showed. In the first fight the highly touted Rampage was stopped after a barrage of knees and a couple of soccer kicks but this wasn't without controversy. With Rampage in control on the ground, the fight was stood-up due to inactivity (a fact many fans, as well as Rampage himself, disagreed with), shortly after the stand-up, Wandy locked in the Muay-Thai clinch and the rest is history. Under the circumstances a rematch was inevitable.

In the 2nd fight, Jackson succumbed to the Muay Thai clinch once again and, in an image famous in MMA circles, was left sprawled between the ropes with blood pouring from his mouth. That seemed to be the end of it but some 4 years later the UFC ignited the rivalry once more. Even though both previous fights had been fought in Pride and under different rules, the bout was heavily promoted as another rematch. Old fans eagerly anticipated another war and new fans, who hadn’t seen the Pride fights, questioned whether Rampage could stop the man who had brutally destroyed him twice - Jackson KO'd The Axe Murderer in the very first round to end the rivalry.

I think it's pretty clear that rematches create rivalries and rivalries create rematches. Where would MMA be without the interest and new fans these rivalries created?

You only have to look at the main event of the biggest UFC show of all time for an indication of how important a rematch is - Brock Lesnar Vs Frank Mir. The UFC Heavyweight Champion Vs The UFC interim Heavyweight Champion for the right to be called the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion. And yet, a large part of the hype is built around the fact that this is a rematch. Mir won last time out, many feel in controversial fashion and, no doubt, Brock is looking for redemption. It's a huge selling point.

From a business prospective, rematches are a hell of a lot easier to promote. The previous fight(s) can be pulled apart and analyzed from pillar to post in an attempt to second guess how this fight will turn out. Will we see the "best version yet" (thanks Joe Rogan) of a fighter or will the old flaws still be in evidence - all of this adds to the allure a rematch brings over a regular fight.

The list of potential rematches that we could see in the near future is huge, and of course increases all the time, but let me throw out some biggies - Sanchez/Florian, Shogun/Griffin, Shogun/Rampage, Rampage/Griffin, Hendo/Silva, Hellboy/Alvarez, Couture/Lesnar - Now try and tell me that list won't create interest.

So do rematches have a place in MMA? Without a shadow of a doubt, YES, yes they do.

4,123 Posts
Do rematches have any place in MMA?​

Some of the most hyped and exciting fights of MMA have been rematches. They are a way of getting rid of a loss to another fighter and they can serve as a way to determine a clear winner when the first fight ends in controversy.

Many of the UFC’s highest grossing events have had high profile rematches on the card. UFC 52, 66, 71, 79, 83, 92 and 94 are some of the highest. So we now know that rematches generate huge interest with the fans.

Rematches also deliver a definitive winner. An example of this is seen when BJ Penn took on GSP at UFC 58. BJ Penn lost by split decision and fans were torn on who won the fight. BJ Penn always wanted a rematch as he thought he had won the fight. So then at UFC 94 GSP vs. BJ Penn II happened. UFC 94 was one of the most highly publicized UFC events of all time and also was the first to incorporate UFC Primetime a special show which followed GSP and BJ Penn as they trained for the fight. Of course BJ Penn lost the fight in a one sided drubbing which then gave us a definitive winner.

So do rematches have any place in MMA? yes they do as they are a proven draw and are also used to find a definitive winner.

A weak debate sorry for not having a better one as ive been extremely busy but I didn’t want to pull out again.
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