Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why I don't like Colton Smith's pathetic excuses

I read this article about why Colton Smith isn't a very good representative of the US Army.  It mostly comes down to the justifiable perception that he's a total douche.  He's a smug, self-important asshole who is a bit of a dirty fighter, who brags about cheating to win in the cage ("if you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough") and is basically a jerk.

What bothers me about him, though, is that he makes excuses for his losses before there's even a fight.  Before his fight with Carlos Diego Ferreira (which he lost in humiliating fashion in 38 seconds . . . his third straight loss, I should add), he said, "On the base, we train soldiers, and I’m a combative instructor right now. But that’s life and death stuff, that’s not sport stuff like mixed martial arts.  Missions come first, soldiers come first, then MMA was a pretty distant second. Now it’s just changed, and the Army has been very supportive of me. I took a personal leave for this fight."

I could be critical of the US military's combatives training as a waste of time.  It is.  US soldiers have guns.  There is almost no unarmed hand-to-hand fighting in combat.  Additionally, it takes years of dedicated training to learn unarmed martial arts thus almost a tiny handful of soldiers ever learn combatives.  One would be hard pressed to find a single situation where military combatives actually saved a soldier's life in combat.  I did some googling and couldn't find a case - and even if you can, it doesn't change the point, it's rare as hell.

Though I did find that the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the dudes in charge of deciding how the US Army is trained, wants to get rid of the current combatives program and replace it with a two week course.  This is an ongoing thing.  Soldiers dig martial arts, so when some soldiers get good at them, they get a few officers behind them, get some funding, create a program and then someone notices once again that unarmed combat has no place on modern battlefields and the program gets scrapped.  Combatives is merely the latest in a long line of martial arts whose usefulness has been overblown to rationalize soldiers acting like tough guys who can kill a person with their commando moves.

OK, ignoring that TRADOC wants to get rid of combatives and there is no indication that it has saved any soldier's life, what Smith is basically doing is making an excuse why it's okay for him to lose.

It's bullshit for a couple of reasons, if you ask me.  The first is that it's just some chickenshit thing to say - he is giving himself an out, an excuse to lose.  Mind you, he is losing.  Three in a row.  But he's saving lives . . . oh, wait, except that there is no proof that Army combatives have done anything of the sort, to the extent that TRADOC wants to cut the program.

Second . . . Colton Smith isn't the first guy in MMA to be in a dangerous job.  I can't think of a single policeman who said, after getting their ass kicked in 38 seconds, the third time in three fights that he's been finished (which might not happen so much if he didn't give himself so many ways out).  Before fighting Ben Askren, Karl Amoussou didn't go, "Well, if Ben whips me, it's because my police work in Paris, fighting gangs, is why will have lost.  That's important work, not like this MMA stuff."  (Note: he did lose, but not as badly as Smith makes a habit of losing.)  Mirko Crocop never used his service with Croatian anti-terrorist special police as a justification as to why he lost.  Tim Kennedy hasn't done it when he was a Green Beret sniper.  Even though those guys could legitimately say they're saving lives, or at least fighting a war.

Most MMA fighters hold a day job, even many in the UFC.  Since the kind of guys who beat up each other in a cage have that mindset all the time, many MMA fighters have jobs that are risky - cops and soldiers have populated MMA's ranks from nearly the beginning.  Smith's excuses are a slight to every person in MMA who has done their job and fought and lost and never made excuses - Smith's excuses are doubly bullshit because he made them before the fight.

After three straight losses, it was normal for a dude to get bounced from the UFC.  Especially at lightweight, which is a shark pit.  Smith was never a very good fighter and he keeps getting his ass kicked so I don't imagine he'll be with the promotion very much longer.  Still, he's a jerk.

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