"Of course I will, I'm a professional fighter, that's what I do."-Shogun Rua when asked would he fight fellow Brazillian and former team mate Anderson Silva.
One of the biggest challenges as a fight promoter is matching great fights. Anyone can put on a show and put two fighters in the cage who happen to weigh the same, roll the dice and hope for an exciting fight. That's easy, the hard work comes in finding and matching the fights that generate an interest from the audience before the show and increase the odds of a really exciting match up. There are common challenges which come with the game and cannot be overcome like catching a fighter who would not be able to make weight in time, or get a good training camp in, or an injury in training, or not experienced enough to take a particular fight. These are all viable reasons as to why a certain fight cannot happen.
It is another reason that is equally frustrating as is unprofessional in my opinion and that is "I'm not going to fight him, I train with him." or "We used to train together, we are friends." Dana White said it perfectly in a recent press conference "This is a professional business, and these are professional athletes, there are players in the NFL who are best friends with an opposing team member. And they go out do their job, and after the game they go hang out again." When did the fight business become such a personal game? Why is it that our sport is the only sport that the athletes are unable to hang their emotions outside the cage and pick them back up on their way out?
Now don't get me wrong, I do not believe anyone has the right to force two guys who train together EVERY DAY, who know each other inside and out, they love and treat each other like brothers, to fight each other. If Anderson Silva chooses to stay in middleweight as long as he does not have to fight his best friend Lyoto Machida, that is his choice. And to me their is a difference. I mean if Kos has to Fight Fitch, we would possibly be watching a different Kos and a different Fitch fight since they would have to alter their training camps.....or would they? What if we were in a world where they trained together every day, knew each others game inside and out, how to exploit all of each other's weaknesses, hell even spar together every day leading up to the fight. And day before the fight say "It's gonna be about who makes the first mistake, this is a test for the both of us." Get in the cage as brothers and compete as professional athletes. Then when it's over say "Man I can't believe you caught me in that guillotine" or "Bro you could have laid off on the elbows man look at my head." as they laugh and chug down some beer and burgers knowing good and well that their are only very low single digit number of men on earth that could beat them in the octagon. Is that too much to ask??
Regionally this issue has spread to amazing levels. There is a certain gym in my area that some fighters only train at once a month, but they are instructed to NEVER fight each other. This to me is where the lack of professionalism lies. These are professional fighters who have chosen this as their career path and since this particular coach doesn't spend time finding these fighters good fights outside of the region (which is not his job) they have a ball and chain connected to their growth. See as a regional fighter, much like music artist, has to build their name and to do so they have to stay active, fight often, build a highlight reel and get a good manager who can get you in front of the right promotions and sponsors.
This can be a damper if every interesting fight you are offered your reply is "Can't fight him, he trains with my coach every third saturday of the month"...... SO?? I mean how retarded is it that schools that are 150 miles apart, can't even fight each other because they're trainers train in BJJ with the same person twice a month... so a student's students can't even fight? That hurts the sport, and it's ability to make good fights that draw in crowds and generates new fans which generate new sponsors and attention for the fighters...
This is the Fight business, separate the professional from the personal and let the fighters fight, the managers manage, the trainers train and the promoters promote the fights that generate interest in the world's greatest sport. And they all lived happily ever after. THE END.