Lead Jab – The Misconception Of Fighting Off Your Back

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Posted by Mika Frankl
There are two parts to MMA- striking and grappling, but for some reason people have gotten it into their heads that a fight is over or a dominate thing has occurred when a takedown is successfully completed.  The biggest example of this, and a fight that should have changed minds, was UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen. As the larger stronger wrestler continued to land takedowns and work ground and pound for more than four rounds. In the end a technically sound Jiu Jitsu fighter waited for an opening and sunk in a choke to retain his title in the final minutes of the fifth round. This proves that just cause you’re down doesn’t mean you’ve already lost.
When you get taken down in a fight the fight has not ended, it has just begun. If you’re throwing your legs up attacking looking for the submission or landing elbows off your back it’s now in the hands of the refs and judges to recognize who is being active, who is trying to end the fight, and most of the time who is stalling the battle.
The worst case of bad judging of offense from the back was UFC 130 when Demetrious Johnson defeated Miguel Torres by unanimous decision. In a fight where only the takedown of “Mighty Mouse” was counted, but left unrecognized, where several submission attempts and tons of elbows off the back that just didn’t seem to be factors of the decision because of Torres being on his back.
Takedowns usually don’t end the fight unless it’s a freak accident like with Demian Maia and Dong Hyun Kim.
If being on your back meant the fight was over Jon Jones woudln’t  have almost lost to an arm bar by Vitor Belfort, Fedor Emelianenko would not have lost to Fabrico Werdum, and Paul Sass wouldn’t have 9 wins by Triangle Choke.
I believe it’s a mindset that needs to change when you hear someone say he got the take down now time to go to work, you’re in the cage- you’ve been working. Maybe the fighters need to change their tune. Instead of I’m on my back waiting to get hit to I’m on my back now you need to deal with my submission game. Fighters need to embrace all areas of Jiu Jitsu not just top control.
I’ve seen too many fights ended by Armbar and Triangle Choke. Never believe that when you’re on your back that the fight is over or that anyone is at a disadvantage everyone says they train for where ever the fight may go.
The main point is judging needs to be more about context instead of simple top bottom.
Follow Mika Frankl on twitter @cagdemindsmma