MMA: not attracting top talent ?

The loss of Fedor got me to think again how shallow the talent pool in MMA is. In particular because Fedor has lost many times in judo, sports sambo and combat sambo to (just last year), yet in MMA he barely lost 2 times so far. How can that be ?

The fact is, MMA is highly unpopular in the very countries that produce the very best combat athletes, and specifically Russia.

Recently, in Europe, a top junior Judo international tournament attracted 60+ world-class entries in the 73kg weight class and over 70+ entries in the 81kg weight class. These are insane numbers. I was shocked by many of the athletes. They are absolute world-class and physical beasts. At ages 18-19, technically very advanced as well and there are hundreds of them. So where do all these people go ?

Some problems that I saw w.r.t to MMA:

1. In talking to coaches there, people really did not take MMA seriously. They see it more like entertainment business than real sport. They say: oh these crazy guys who are not real athletes, they go to MMA. That is the attitude. Many don't even understand the rules of MMA (btw, BJJ has had absolutely ZERO influence on Judo internationally, but that is a topic for another thread).

2. Common case: the good retired players want to become coaches and stay in the system.

One coach told me that he'd rather stay a coach than go and fight MMA. That guy is a retired Olympic judoka, aged 30 now (retired at 26) and coaches judo, yet he is a superb athlete, MUCH better than all of the MMA athletes that have come out of that country (think Hector Lombard or Randleman but with great technique).

3. Key problem: fundamentally, a champion in MMA is not seen as prestigious as Olympics and therefore MMA only gets retired athletes or athletes who could not cut it in olympic sports.

4. Structure: another problem is that there is no system that young athletes can be offered to join. There are some private gyms, but it is far from structured.

5. Funding: The government is funding olympic sports and the whole system is targeted for this. Top junior athletes live in special places prepared only for world class competitions and they train all the time.

Of all of the best judoka and wrestlers that I know, not a single one is going to MMA, yet they are MUCH better athletes, physically and technically than the ones that do go to MMA and do well.

It seems that M-1 is somehow failing to tap this huge reservoir of athletes and attract them to MMA. I think M-1 can start a promotional and marketing campaign there and perhaps open MMA schools with international instructors as well to attract these young athletes.

judom - The loss of Fedor got me to think again how shallow the talent pool in MMA is. In particular because Fedor has lost many times in judo, sports sambo and combat sambo to (just last year), yet in MMA he barely lost 2 times so far. How can that be ?


 Possibly because one of his best skills is punching guys in the face exceedingly hard.

This is assuming that the top talent in the world are judo practitioners which I disagree with.

Olympic Judo does not transfer well to MMA.