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Is UFC scripted? 8 Key Facts

It’s common in the UFC to see fighters do a lot of trash-talking that sometimes seems a bit forced to build hype for a fight. The outcome of some fights is often very surprising, where a clear underdog ends up winning.

So, I will explain whether the UFC is scripted, and why.

UFC Training Ring

1. Fighters Often Get Accidentally Hit In The Groin Or Poked In The Eye

In UFC fights it’s somewhat common for fighters to get poked in the eye or kicked in the groin. 

Based on the UFC competitors’ reactions when this happens, and the fact that qualified doctors often need to step in to examine a UFC fighter’s eye, it’s clear that this was not intentional.

If the UFC was scripted, fighters would change their fighting style, and not do certain moves that would cause this to happen.

Also, UFC competitors are often disqualified completely if it happens too often in a fight.

If fighters do it too often it’s likely they would be barred from fighting again. For example, Rousimar Palhares was dropped from the UFC for repeated infringements, such as not letting go of submissions after an opponent tapped, and the referee called a stop to the fight (source). 

As a result, he would not be able to compete in the UFC anymore, which is widely regarded as the highest-paying MMA organization in the world.

2. UFC Fighters Do Incredibly Physically Demanding Fight Camps

There is a bunch of footage online of UFC fighters training for a fight. During these fight camps, UFC fighters will do very high-intensity cardio, weight training, and sparring sessions. 

Often, UFC fighters will state that they find fight camps incredibly uncomfortable, and are very relieved when a fight camp is over.

If the UFC was scripted, UFC fighters would not put in so much effort. While they would train somewhat to look the part, they would not go nearly to the extent that UFC fighters do.

For example, here is a video of Israel Adesanya training for a fight:

Fighters also typically cut a lot of weight which is very difficult

Cutting weight is a practice used in a range of different martial arts sports. It’s commonly used in wrestling, and kickboxing, but is also done by UFC fighters.

It involves eating at specific times and sweating out a lot of water. 

The idea is to reduce their body weight over a very short period of time, often 2 to 3 days before a weigh-in.

After that, they consume a lot of liquids and food. Doing so, they can be much heavier for the fight than the weight they need to be, according to the rules of the fight. 

For example, in the light heavyweight division, fighters need to weigh under 205 lb (93 kg), when they weigh in the day before the fight.

But, they can often cut weight, and when they enter the ring be 20 pounds (9 kg) heavier.

The process of cutting weight is incredibly difficult. It involves different methods to sweat a lot of body weight, as well as not drinking or eating as much. 

For example, here’s a video of Islam Makachev cutting weight for one of his fights:

If the UFC was scripted UFC fighters would not go to such lengths to cut weight, because it would be too hard.

Often, UFC fighters will need to pull out of a fight because a doctor has stated that they can not continue to cut weight. The reason is if they did it would do too much harm to their body.

3. Fighters Are Often World Champions In Other Sports That Aren’t Scripted

Many UFC fighters are world champions in other sports that aren’t scripted. Such as:

  • Olympic wrestling
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu
  • Kickboxing

These sports are not known to be scripted, and if they are it would be quite difficult to fake. Because when you watch any of these sports it’s obvious they are trying their hardest to win, and are actually struggling a lot.

The World Wrestling Federation also known as the WWE is known to not be real.

And it’s true that some of the WWE superstars have backgrounds in Olympic wrestling.

Such as Kurt Angle. However, if you watch fighters’ interviews in the UFC, and how they perform, it’s obvious that WWE fighters are acting.

4. UFC Fights Often End In A Knockout Or Submission

The result of a UFC fight can be determined in 4 ways.

  1. A TKO
  2. A KO
  3. A Submission
  4. Points decision

All the ways a UFC fighter can win other than a points decision only happen by chance.

And a fighter would not willingly get knocked out, or submitted because it can be very bad for their body. And reduces the length of their career.

Outside of a show where people do crazy things like the movie and TV Show ‘JackAss’, no one would willingly get knocked out.

In some cases, fighters also get choked unconscious, or an arm or leg is broken.

For example in the fight between Jamahal Hill and Paul Craig, where Jamal HIll’s arm was dislocated in an arm bar.
Here’s the Octagon interview between Paul Craig and Joe Rogan after the fight:

While this technically could be scripted to happen, the way the Jamahal Hill continued to fight and was forced to quit shows that it was not scripted. And Jamahal Hill had no choice but to stop fighting.

5. The Winning Fighter Often Gets Paid More Money

If a UFC fighter wins a fight in a spectacular way they get a bonus. There are 4 different types of bonuses that are often awarded to fighters, these are:

  • Fight of the night
  • Submission of the night
  • Performance of the night
  • Knockout of the night

The UFC will state who won each of these after every event on the news section of their official website (source), and Dana White typically announces it at the beginning of each post-fight press conference after each event.

Therefore, there is a big incentive for fighters to do their best, and as mentioned in the previous point, fighters would not willingly get knocked out or submitted. 

6. Some UFC Fights End In A Draw

While not common, some UFC fights end in a draw. This occurs when a fight goes to the scorecards and the judges don’t reach a consensus on who won.

 While a draw does mean a rematch would be very exciting, it could be argued that a trilogy is even more exciting. Where one fighter wins the first fight, the other fighter wins the second fight, and a trilogy is done to see who is the best once and for all.

If the UFC were scripted it would make more sense to script the fights in this way. And to have a clear winner at the end of each fight.

Doing so would make the next fight even more exciting, and garner even more interest. As well as, sales of tickets and pay-per-view events.

There is pressure for fighters to not let a fight go to the scorecards

The judges who score the UFC have gotten a lot of criticism over the years. Often, there are fights where one person clearly won a fight, however, the judges scored it a different way. 

Famous podcaster, UFC commentator, and expert in martial arts Joe Rogan has often been very vocal about the poor scoring that UFC judges have done for some fights. 

He has attributed it to the fact that often UFC judges are from boxing, or don’t train martial arts. For that reason, they can’t make an accurate decision about who won.

Because this is a known fact, UFC fighters will often try their hardest to finish a fight, rather than to clearly win by points.

This can be seen in some fights where one fighter is trying to really finish a fight, and one opponent is trying to avoid engaging in the later rounds so that a fight goes to the scorecards. 

Rather than risking getting knocked out or submitted.

In UFC fights you can often hear the coaches in the corner between rounds state to their fighters that they need to finish the fight, otherwise they are going to lose by decision.

7. UFC Fighters Often Sustain Serious Injuries

UFC fighters often sustain serious injuries that no one would willingly get.

An example of this is the fight between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. In that fight, Anderson Silva threw a very hard leg kick that Chris Weidman checked. 

As you may know, checking a kick is where you lift up your knee, and the person’s foot or leg hits the other person’s knee, which is incredibly hard and boney.

When this happens it’s incredibly painful. And for the rest of the fight the fighter who threw the leg kick, typically won’t throw any more leg kicks for the rest of the fight.

In the fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman the force of Anderson Silva’s kick was so strong that when Chris Weidman checked it, Anderson Silva’s leg broke.

As a result, Anderson Silva needs to be in rehabilitation for a very long time before fighting again.

8. UFC Fighters Have An Urgency To Finish Someone Who Is ‘Rocked’

As you may know, being ‘rocked’ is where a fighter takes a very strong strike and has shaky legs, and slow reaction times. When a fighter is rocked they will typically recover after 10 to 20 seconds.

When watching MMA, you can see that the other fighter recognizes when this happens, and pounces on the other fighter trying to finish them by knocking them out, or taking them down and submitting them. 

This is one of the clearest signs that UFC fights are not scripted.

For example, if it was scripted there would be no urgency to finish a person who is rocked, because one fighter would win anyway.

Dana White Has Said The UFC Makes Fights That Are Fan Favorites

There is a somewhat objective ranking system in the UFC. After a fighter wins one fight they are often eligible to fight for the title. 

However, in some cases, a UFC fighter will not get a shot at the title because there is another fight that will be more popular with fans.

For this reason, this part of the UFC is not exactly objective, and fair. And there is some thought and planning to make fights that will be the most popular, and make the UFC the most money.

Is the Ultimate Fighter Staged

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is a very popular show that features two very experienced UFC fighters who coach up-and-coming MMA fighters.

Each episode has one or more fights at the end. Is the Ultimate Fighter staged or real?

The Ultimate Fighter is not staged. Fights that occur in the Ultimate Fighter often end with a knockout, or submission, which is not fake. But, it’s clear that there is some amount of fake trash-talking.

However, trash-talking is common in combat sports to make more people want to watch them.

For example, below is a video of a confrontation between two TUF coaches, Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha:

During this confrontation, Joanna Jędrzejczy frequently looks at the camera, and it’s a bit obvious she is trying to stir up drama for the cameras to make the fight between them more interesting, and cause more people to want to watch it.

Is the UFC Owned by the WWE?

The WWE is extremely popular, even though most people are aware that it is fake, and is scripted much like a TV show. But, this is a rundown of whether the UFC is owned by the WWE.

The UFC is not owned by the WWE. The WWE is owned by Vince McMahon. Whereas, the UFC is owned by the Endeavor Group Holdings, under a parent company called Zuffa. However, the Endeavor Group has expressed interest in buying the WWE if it were to come up for sale.

Interestingly, estimates of the revenue made by both the UFC and the WWE are identical (sources: 1, 2). Both make an estimated USD$1 billion a year in revenue.

As you may know, revenue is the income a company makes before expenses like paying employees.

Is MMA Real or Scripted?

It has been found in the past that various sports such as cricket have engaged in what they call ‘match fixing’, where players deliberately lose on purpose in exchange for money. 

The WWE was also believed to be real for a very long time, until a documentary came out from people that used to be superstars in the WWE that showed that it was scripted.

But, here is if MMA is real, and if MMA fighters are fighting for real:

MMA is real and not scripted. The decision about who will fight whom is decided by the MMA organization such as the UFC. They state that they consider what would be a good matchup, and prioritize fights that would be very popular for fans. But, the actual outcomes of fights are not scripted.

UFC fighters are often very emotional after winning or losing.

For example, they are clearly very happy, or very upset. Good actors can pull off faking these emotions, but almost everyone can tell when someone is fake crying or fake happy, especially outside of the context of a movie or TV series.