The Specialist Always Wins

There is a panoply of ignorance on display in the recent UFC vs Navy SEALs debate in the sports world:

Sean Strickland, the UFC superstar, made some waves when he claimed no Navy SEAL could make it through the training he does. While he didn’t specify, it definitely seemed like he meant fight training. Could a Navy SEAL beat Sean Strickland in the octagon?

You know who else found the response to Strickland absolutely cringe? Andy Stumpf. For those of you who might not have heard of Andy Stumpf, he’s a legit dude. He was an operator in SEAL Team 6, got shot in Iraq on the same mission Tyler Grey was blown up, recovered and deployed again. The man isn’t a joke or someone pretending to have knowledge of the topic. He’s fought alongside some of the greatest warriors in America’s history, and he thinks this entire situation is embarrassing…

I spoke to another ST6 operator and one more Spec. Ops. veteran about Strickland’s comments. Both had reactions that mirror Stumpf’s and both admitted it wouldn’t be a fair fight against Strickland…..and that many UFC fighters would struggle in a Spec. Ops. training pipeline.

I don’t know about UFC fighters making it through the military training. I have no experience in that regard. But I am 100-percent certain that no Navy SEAL could ever beat a top UFC fighter in the Octagon. The two SpecOps guys are right. It wouldn’t even be a fair fight. Allow to explain:

I was never one of the top five fighters at my dojo, which was much respected by the other dojos in the Twin Cities, where we practiced an early form of MMA. Being the only dojo to ever take all the trophies from white belt to black in a statewide competition – it was only point-fighting, it must be said – we were basically the Cobra Kai of the state right down to the black gis, although the base of our style was, ironically enough, much more akin to Miyago-do, being Okinawan. I think it’s fair to say I was one of the top ten fighters there, as I was selected for a few of our public demos, including a pretty wild one at Glam Slam that involved fighting under strobe lights.

On several occasions, I had the opportunity to spar with guys who had military training, usually Marines for some reason. And while they weren’t completely hopeless like the normal guy walking in off the street with absolutely no training, they were never above the level of a fairly recent gold belt who had just started sparring a month or two prior. Never. I maintained a weight of 170, and didn’t even need to break a sweat to take apart a Marine who went 235, although, as I’ve said in the past, my little physics experiment in trying to go toe-to-toe with him was a complete failure.

When the Commandant of the Marine Corps was talking smack one day about the lethality of the Marine Fu that the Corps had adapted from the Israeli Krav Maga, I just laughed at him, pointed out that six weeks of fight training is inadequate preparation for going up against anyone with six years of fight experience, and told him to bring it on. He came at me and tried a basic takedown at the waist, so I put him face-down on the carpet in a neck-breaking lock that forced him to tap out in about five seconds.

Now keep in mind that my training was built around the striking arts and that my preference was always for counterattacking with a combination of speed and upper body strike power to stun and overwhelm an opponent. And yet, it took less than 10 seconds to completely incapacitate a very highly-trained Marine a) without harming him and b) without throwing a single strike of any kind.

Think about the degree of total superiority that implies. And yes, there were no shortage of witnesses, including Spacebunny.

Now, based on my experience fighting two national champions and one guy who was better than either of them, a fighter like Strickland would probably beat me in my prime in about 45 seconds. I’m confident that I’d get two or three good shots in – I was benching 295 then and even the very best guys had to be wary of my speed – but I’d definitely lose and lose comprehensively. So, there is no way, none whatsoever, that any military training would prepare a Navy SEAL or anyone else to beat a highly trained specialist like Strickland. It would be like spending a few weeks shooting clay pigeons with a shotgun, then challenging a Force Recon sniper to a long-distance shooting competition.

No, he does not have next…