No Contest?!? No Way!

Up until it ended in the third round, Jake Rosholt’s match with John Ott was easily the most controversial fight at Titan Fighting Championships 18 on May 27 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Then Rosholt hit Ott with an illegal knee and sent the bout into tilt.

For 2+ rounds, there was no doubt that Jake Rosholt was winning the fight. He had beaten and bloodied Ott, cutting him about seven times in the face. Blood was everywhere. The doctor was brought in, and after consulting Ott, allowed the fight to continue.

Truthfully, I believe the fight should have been stopped. Blood was clearly obstructing Ott’s vision, and winning the third round wasn’t going to be enough for him to win the fight. At the end of the second round, at least, it should have been over. I wonder if this had been a UFC fight, would it have been stopped? I think it would have.

All credit to John Ott: the man kept coming with his bloody death mask face on full display and fought valiantly. Spend any amount of time watching MMA, and you’ll see a lopsided fight reverse into a quick conclusion when a punch is landed or a submission is achieved. Chael Sonnen’s gonna have a long time to think about his loss to Anderson Silva, for example. Fight through the adversity, and it’s possible you’ll land a strike or two, maybe the lucky one. Ott had to be thinking that.

Third round, Rosholt has Ott down. Swarms him. As Ott struggles to get up, Rosholt, who’s throwing a flurry of strikes, throws the fateful knee. That’s it. Fight over. DQ.

Frustrating to Rosholt. Frustrating to the fans. But the right call.

I don’t care if it was unintentional. I don’t care if it appeared Ott was rising to his feet. The strike landed. DQ. End of story.

Except it’s not. Rosholt appealed, saying it was unintentional. Said he thought Ott was rising. He couldn’t see the knee on the ground. Besides, Donald Cerrone got his illegal knee loss to Jamie Varner overturned…

And KAC Boxing Commissioner Troye Blackmon caved. Result changed to “No-Contest.”

Look, I’m a fight fan. I want to see lively, entertaining fights. I don’t mind a little blood. But I’ve got two problems with TFC on this fight:

Blood. Lots of Blood.

MMA has a terrible reputation for being a bloody, violent, outlaw sport. A lot of people see it as human cockfighting, based on the early years. It sometimes amazes me how this perception has persisted.

Ask the New York legislature what they think of it. They’ve blocked the UFC coming there, in spite of the revenue an event like that generates. Think about that: They are rejecting money, in this time of no money, because of the way they view MMA.

The UFC understands this. They’ve been working to improve the way MMA is viewed for years. Part of the way you do that is to limit the amount of blood in the cage by stopping fights when they should be stopped.

Another way?

Set strict rules. Enforce the rules.

The whole idea of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, when it was first held, was to throw away the rules. Bring any fighter, any style, and see what happened. Who would win?

It was a great idea. It made for very entertaining and exciting tournaments. It also got them banned from several states.

You see, credibility is vital in sports. Rules and their enforcement produce credibility. Ask any baseball fan about stats and asterisks if you want to hear about rules and their importance.

Again, we can use the UFC as an example. They are vigilant about drug testing. They are strict about fighters making weight. They hold fighters accountable for things like illegal knees to the head of a downed opponent!

These things have allowed MMA to flourish in America and gain credibility as a sport. They’re important. And they’re critical if it is to continue to grow and gain acceptance as legitimate.

Let me be clear: I don’t think Jake Rosholt is a dirty fighter. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. But I think he should have been DQ’d in that bout. We’ll get another chance to see him July 15 when he headlines Shark Fights 17 in Frisco, Texas, on HD Net. He’ll be facing Matt Horwich in a rematch of their 2010 Xtreme Fight Night bout in which Horwich TKO’d Rosholt. With lots to prove, Rosholt should put on a great fight.

Meanwhile, Ott is probably still picking pieces of his face out of that mat in Kansas City.