That UFC 202 fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz was something, huh?
There was bad blood, real blood, taunting, near-knockouts, wild swings in momentum, second winds, third winds, a controversial decision—everything that makes violent combat sports great. The two men, having already gone through a vicious battle with each other once before, did away with all of the extraneous nonsense that normally slows down UFC fights and used mostly punches to pummel each other for 25 minutes.
Even before it was over, many were already proclaiming it one of the greatest fights ever:
But we don't need Bill Simmons to tell us McGregor/Diaz II was an incredible fight. Anyone who watched who was old enough to be
desensitized by violenceexposed to that kind of language could tell you the fight was great. But as we stand here in the wake of one of the greatest bouts in recent memory, it's worth asking ourselves: Why was the fight so great?
The answer's pretty straightforward: The punching.
It's wild that no one has thought of this before.
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz used their hands for almost the entirety of the fight, tossing jabs, countering, and swinging wildly with haymakers when opportunities presented themselves. It was mostly a showcase of their punching skills, and it was damn fun to watch. Which begs the question:
Why isn't there a fighting sport where fighters hit each other with just their hands?
It may sound crazy, but a sport where the fighters are only allowed to punch with their hands might be what America really wants. It's wild that no one has thought of this before. Sure, it runs counter to the long and illustrious history of MMA that has been passed down in dusty old gyms since as far back as the Clinton administration. Sure, it would lack MMA's legendary household names like Ken Shamrock and Cro Cop. And sure, it would take some time for it to become popular enough to be featured on FOX Sports 2 like MMA is today. Yet, after last night's mostly pugilistic affair, the idea of a punches-only sport is still worth exploring.
Were there other elements of last night's battle that made it intriguing beyond the punching? Certainly. We can't forget the leg kicks. My God, what a terribly mediocre fight that would've been without those enthralling leg kicks! We all know the leg kicks were crucial in our enjoyment of McGregor-Diaz II, but could a sport still grab our attention without kicking entirely? It's possible.
Look, this is not an attempt to shake up the world of UFC or to shift how Americans have historically enjoyed fighting since way back when LeBron James was on the Cavs the first time. It's just an idea.
As long as the punches-only sport could avoid some hellacious combination of corruption, poor marketing, and a lack of a sound centralized governing body, it's worth a shot.