Professional Decision vs. Public Opinion

Miller vs. Alers

As some can attest, an accidental head to head collision opened up a cut on Alers at the end of the first of three scheduled rounds. The tilt in the fight took place early in the second as an accidental eye poke sent the fight into a state of disappointment for fans, unfortunately ending the bout.

Early in the second as Miller advanced in exchange, Alers raised a lead hand as to post on Miller’s lead hand, a common amongst opposing stances, and resulted in Alers hand rolling off Miller’s glove ending with an index finger in the eye. Referee Herb Dean separates the two, giving Miller time to recover in which he stated he couldn’t open his eye prompting the doctor to take a look and waiving off the fight at the 1:44 mark of the second.

At this point fans are a little unruly with the decision and insults begin to be hurled towards Miller for what reasons no one knows. What they don’t completely understand is that an index finger went knuckle deep into the eye of a professional athlete who is first and foremost, trying to protect himself accordingly, and second, earn an honest living. A man can’t see, a man can’t fight. To be battered to the point of no vision is acceptable to fight through, to be gouged mistakenly turns a different tune for a fight. Some fans look at this fight and will call for Miller’s neck on a chopping block, but lets look a little deeper.

It was a professional decision being made by all parties involved. We as athletes cannot dictate who wins the fight just as we cannot control day and night. What we can do is dictate our performances. When a doctor analyzes an injury they aren’t asking if the athlete can still continue and be fair, they are making rational decisions to determine if the fighter can protect himself accordingly. If they do not see the athlete fit to continue, they will waive off the fight. Depending if the injury was the product of a foul or illegal technique will determine if the bout is declared a ‘No Contest’, TKO, or DQ.

We aren’t new to eye poking. We’ve seen a few fights now in the past month ended from accidental eye pokes in which Dana White is calling to instill tighter punishment for the foul, which will cause fighters to make adjustments in style and habit or face the consequences. To taunt an athlete because they can not continue is only bringing the MMA fanbase back to the stone age. Every fan should have an opinion, absolutely, some just shouldn’t voice them. If the only remark you have is to insult a fighter personally because a doctor or referee put an end to their term that night, thus removing their ability to make money to support their families, then you are as shallow as the puddle you walked through on the way to the venue. You may have forgotten how privileged you are. Two athletes that night have chosen to take a reckless and risky route in life in order to feed your own ‘Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda’ mentality of what you ‘woulda done if you didn’t blow out your knee’.

Lets paint a picture…

You build a battlebot to compete at the highest level in the industry. At some point in the fight, this robot which cost upwards of $10,000-$15,000 to build over the course of 6-8 weeks, loses it’s ability to defend itself efficiently and effectively. You have the option to let this robot continue and literally destroy itself to the point where it may never fight again, or quite some time, due to unrepairable damages…or you can put a halt to the battle immediately despite what fans may think so the robot can repair its limited damages and compete again right away. This picture may be a little more fitting to the average fan since we are now discussing finances in building an actual fighter..and yes those numbers are real. Use your head next time you spout out insults at a fighter. If you can’t connect on a professional level, maybe now at least you can connect on a financial level.


December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Cole Miller throws a punch against Jim Alers during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Cole Miller throws a punch against Jim Alers during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports