Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gracie Shamrock Recap

Had to post this way out as there's a lot in the queue. Just watched the Gracie - Shamrock fight. The pioneer of MMA fights the only real rival he had back in the day. To be fair, Shamrock wasn't much of a rival - one quick, decisive loss, and one draw where Shamrock barely moved.

The Action
The fighters circled and played with distance. The occasional punch or kick is thrown - more as a measure of distance than anything else. Shamrock's punches look awkward... as if he has pulled muscles. Gracie looks like he has actually trained this area of his game.

The fighters tie up. Exchange of knee strikes. Gracie hits two in a row - one to the hip in my opinion, and the second to the temple. Shamrock is stunned. Shamrock holds his groin area. Gracie takes advantage and wraps him up and executes tani otoshi - rear roll over takedown.

On the ground, Gracie smoothly transitions to modified Mount and rains down blows. Hammer fist strikes - tetsui uchi - to the temple and face. Shamrock is out. The ref calls it.

The "controversy"
Shamrock claims Gracie hit him low with the knee. He immediately complains to the referee. After the fight, Shamrock yells at Gracie. Sounds like he says Gracie hit him low on purpose. Cooler heads prevail, and Gracie explains he couldn't have stopped the fight - it was the referee that has to do that.

This blow was clearly not in the groin area - it was delivered to the hip pointer area. I recorded the match via DVR and replayed it several times. In my opinion, the knee strike in question hit the upper thigh / hip area. Shamrock had a delayed reaction. Given some of Shamrock's antics in the past, it probably took him that long to try to figure out what he was going to complain about.

Rener Gracie and Lyoto Machida did a short breakdown segment and suggest that either the knee strike grazed the groin, or didn't hit it at all. Machida points out that the referee is looking for the immediate reaction to the groin shot. At best (for Shamrock), he should have reacted immediately. Machida and Rener go on to suggest that if the knee hit the groin, it was not as debilitating as Shamrock tried to portray. This would also jive with how Shamrock reacted to the stoppage.

Gracie was the better fighter striking. (Whoa - did I just say that?) Gracie was better in the clinch. Gracie was better on the ground. Shamrock knew it, and was looking for a way out while "saving face." It wound up being several unabated blows to the face instead.

Shamrock has gone on record in televised interviews, as well as one of his books, to say that in their first match, Gracie choked him with the gi. In reality, Gracie used hadaka jime - rear naked choke.

This time, he will say he got hit in the groin. I don't believe he did, but at least this time, it is closer to the truth.

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