Most people who’ve frequented this and our former site at MMAHQ know that I am a Pride fan boy, defender, and apologist, and most times will stand by the corners of all former Pride fighters, especially those from Chuteboxe, Nova Union, along with Fedor, and Hunt.
I have to draw a line in the sand with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. He’s been wobbled or knocked out in every fight for two years and I fear that his wars with Hendo have done him in. Specifically shots to the back of the head.
If you’ll notice, he’s taken MASSIVE punishment over the years and direct to the chin for the most part in Pride and UFC without a problem. The man had/has a chin of granite and is known for being able to take head shots, chin shots, and beatings without batting an eye, only to return fire and win with heart and toughness. This is not the case anymore.
Here’s the twist. I don’t think Shogun’s chin, or light switch is that bad at this point, it’s the BACK of the head shots that he took from Hendo in the second fight that have done him in. If you’ll notice, in the first fight with Henderson, when he took heavy fire to the chin and head his defense as is with most instances is to grab a single leg, and shift to a ground position in order to defend the chin or “bury” it, and work a ju-jitsu angle to recover. This worked great in his first fight with Hendo, and helped him survive the first two rounds over and over while recovering. In the SECOND fight with Hendo did drop Shogun with a face punch, (not uncommon) but Shogun managed the single leg recovery attempt, however in this fight, Dan got visibly frustrated trying to hit Shogun in the sides of the head, (where shots are actually legal) and just went on a back of the head rampage of punishment until Shogun went limp. These shots were ILLEGAL but as Hendo probably saw that no referee in any of Vitor Belforts fights have enforced the rule while he used it to KO several opponents, Hendo probably figured what the heck and went for it. His probably theory proved correct as no ref enforced the rules and Hendo was given a clean KO victory over Shogun even though it was done with illegal strikes.
The next fight Shogun was in he was again grazed on the back of the head and it was lights out and queer street for him. Saturday night at UFC 190, no chin shots could finish the great legend from Chuteboxe, but one glancing hook off the back of Shogun’s head while ducking in and out nearly put him down again for a KO.
The shots that are wobbling Shogun to the back of the head are hitting his brain stem, and all replays show that clearly. When you have a guy like Hendo with the power he has hammering down five or six times to the brainstem of another person who’s head is positioned against a firm canvas, the long term effects to the brain stem and even the hair-like cells that are embedded in the jelly-like cupula can get damaged along with the utricle and saccule organs that are responsible for detecting linear acceleration, or movement in a straight line.
I have had this happen before, from back of the head shots and it can take YEARS to heal. My friend who is a doctor, diagnosed the issue, and has stated off the record, he thinks Shogun is in the same bad spot now. If Shogun’s opponents continue to hit the back of the head, this will continue to cause instant concussions, which will wobble and gas him instantly if not knock him out. One of the signs of this type of concussion is an almost INSTANT fatigue, or as we say in mma, gassing. Which is why I think he should retire or at least step out of a cage for two years and re-think the fight game and the long term damage it’s causing him.
The last time the headshot rules were enforced in a UFC fight was when Jon Jones was disqualified for doing a different but non-the-less dirty head shot tactic to an already beaten down Matt Hamill at the UFC’s TUF 10 finale. Afterwards and for years following, UFC President Dana White actually CRITICISED the ref for enforcing the rules and disqualifying Jones, mentioning that it was a bad call and that it can effect and hurt a fighters long term legacy, (because now Jones wasn’t “perfect” in record).
Until the refs start getting tough on these sorts of shots, even if it upsets Dana White and co, I don’t see a reason for fighters to engage bob and weave firefights that could end their careers, and furthermore I believe this sort of nonsense has probably ended the career of Mauricio Shogun Rua and most likely effected the win/loss record of “TRT” Vitor Belfort.
Rampage Jackson called out Shogun on twitter following Shogun’s scrape by win at UFC 190, and it’s this fan’s opinion that Shogun take this victory and ride off rather than engaging Quinton Jackson in another fight. If they engage, it’s my fear the Jackson’s punches, could end the fight much like what happened to Wanderlei Silva, thus Jackson get’s the final victory over both of his old Chuteboxe rivals, not because he’s better, but because he’s less damaged.