MMA demands mastery of a suite of complex physical skills: grappling from disadvantageous positions, countering head kicks, camouflaging punches, and, for competitors in the most recent Georgian Fighting Championship event, standing. Our latest trip through the world of regional MMA promotions takes us to Kazbegi, Georgia, whereGFC 13: International was held on Wednesday. The loose theme of the card, which can be watched in full here, was supposed to be Georgians vs. non-Georgians. In practice, that quickly took a backseat to the true dynamic of the event: fighter vs. fighter vs. the Japanese slippery stairs.
The fights were held in an octagon plopped down in the middle of what appeared to be a field at the foot of a mountain. It's a lovely place to hang out, probably, but a terrible site for an outdoor MMA event. Roughly 100 locals gathered around, many in raincoats because, well, it was raining. Officials frantically tried to towel off the octagon floor between fights, which really only appeared to equally distribute the rainwater across the canvas. One of the funniest bits was when the towel crew would frantically do their thing and leave, only for the fighters to touch gloves to start a round and immediately start slipping around again.
More or less every attempt to throw a strike, across all 10 fights, went like this:
Skip to any point in the broadcast, and if fighters are standing up, they're only moments away from losing their battle with gravity. (They could stand to learn from the experts.) Most fights quickly went to the ground, and most bouts consisted of noodling around on the canvas. At GFC 14, fighters will presumably have to contend with large foam boulders rolling through the octagon.