Less knockouts resulting in more fans?

Did all of the longtime MMA fans have the thought process backwards?  Did anyone else think that the way to introduce people to the UFC was to show them a Chuck Liddell knockout?  Maybe show them the vicious ground and pound of Tito Ortiz? Well it turns out, that may have been the wrong approach.

Maybe potential fans were turned off by the violence.  It could have been too brutal for their liking.  Maybe they wanted to see more strategic fights.

While statistics show that the total number of knockouts have increased over the last ten years, the percentage of fights that end in knockout has decreased significantly.  The rate of knockouts has gone from 44% in 2000 down to 26%.  Submission rate has increased by 3% and decisions increased by an impressive 18.2%.  The most surprising fact of all this is that it is the big name fighter, the popular fighters that are winning by decision.

Frankie Edgar, current UFC Lightweight champion and fan favorite, has only 2 knockouts in his fifteen wins.  This means only 13% of his victories, not total fights, are ending in knockout.  George St. Pierre, arguably the most popular fighter in all MMA, has won twenty-one fights with eight coming by knockout.  This is a decent 38%, but in his latest eight fight win streak, only two of them came by knockout.

It is only fair to show the exceptions.  Anderson Silva is exactly that.  Considering he can finish from anywhere, he still has knockout his opponent in 57% of his victories.  One more fighter that does not follow the trend is the new Light Heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.  He only has fourteen fights, with thirteen of these being victories.   Eight of the wins coming by knockout, which is 61%.  Very impressive indeed and may be the reason for all the hype.

Even with these exceptions, it is hard to ignore the fact that the rate of knockouts has decreased significantly.  The fights are still exciting, but maybe the new fans want to see the tactical battles that George St. Pierre and Frankie Edgar go through each match.  It will be interesting to see what the up and coming fighters will do to the trends, but if Jon Jones is showing us anything, the knockout rate may be increasing drastically.  Let’s hope that the fans don’t go running when it does.

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