Gareth A Davies interviews Mirko Cro Cop for The Telegraph.
I don’t like ground and pound too much. I do it in a fight, of course, but it looks brutal.
It’s not a good image for the sport. Something should be changed in MMA – the rules should be changed a little bit. Fighting on the ground should be restricted because sometimes it looks really brutal.
I think elbows should be forbidden because they cause a lot of blood. Many people don’t want to see blood. They want to see skill, art. They want to see good kicking, punching, submissions, not blood.
I know where Cro Cop is coming from: it’s the ground and pound that makes those who don’t follow the sport – the Mums and Dads who are used to seeing boxing – flinch.
That’s mostly because the general public have been conditioned by boxing for a hundred or so years. Following up with strikes on the ground is “unsportsmanlike” according to the unwritten code that boxing suggests to the layman.
The idea of catering to that perception by changing the rules of the sport is batshit crazy, however.
Anyone who follows MMA just long enough to get the feel of the sport realises the brutality of ground and pound is largely an illusion. It looks brutal to the uninitiated. These days, ground and pound is used as more of a distraction than as an offence. And when used as an effective offence, there are few things that make a referee jump in sooner.
On his first fight with Gonzaga:
I won’t say I underestimated Gabriel the first time, but I definitely underestimated the cage. I didn’t pay attention to elbows at all. And he kicked me to the head thanks to elbows.
He threw at least ten very clean elbows to the head. I was lucky, or I wasn’t lucky, to be cut. The referee stopped the fight and I could see three opponents. He threw a kick and I couldn’t see the kick. It was a blur.
I think it’s safe to say both fighters will be very motivated this Saturday. Hopefully they will be motivated to win, and not just to prevent losing.