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The Hunger Factor

MMA Betting: The Hunger Factor

By Loot, Mixed Martial Arts Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

In the fight business, there's an old expression--it's hard to get up and run in the morning when you've been sleeping on silk sheets for the past 10 years. In a combat sport, the hunger factor can be a major variable in handicapping a fight. The younger fighter is eager to prove himself and enjoy all the spoils of victory--fame, respect, and money. The older fighter who already has all that could be at a disadvantage.

This is a young man's game. That's not only because youth makes you better in some kind of physiological way. It's mental. A fighter comes up the hard way, using desire to fuel his career progression. But once a fighter achieves a certain level of fame and personal wealth, he needs to find new reasons to maintain his edge. Even the slightest mental and spiritual waning can result in a complete turnaround of form and effectiveness.

Keep your eye out for established fighters and whether they are able to fight, despite no longer really needing to fight. Personal pride and legacy, support of fans, and any number of factors can make it so established fighters maintain their razor's edge. The funny thing about fighting is that these athletes are fighting, in essence, so that they don't have to fight. You get in this sport to get out of the sport.

Then why in boxing and MMA do you rarely see a fighter make a bunch of money, earn his fame and accolades, and then retire? It's a pride thing. Fighters want to prove themselves as the best until there is conclusive evidence that they can no longer do it. What really happened is that they just lost their hunger. It's not saying anything bad about their character. Who in the world has millions in the bank and wants to get hit in the face anymore?

This certainly does not apply to everyone. The fighters who go down as the best ever are ones who can stay hungry despite their lifestyles indicating that they no longer need to be. But it's important in the world of MMA betting to be aware of the hunger factor. Sometimes in this sport, it just comes down to who wants it more. And when you're eating steak and lobster every night in your mansion, it can be hard to match the hunger of a young lion who has never enjoyed the "good life."

Fighters Talking Retirement

In short, it's almost always a bad sign. All sports require total focus. But in a fighting sport, a fighter's commitment to his job must be unwavering. His head needs to be riveted to the task ahead. But when a fighter already has one foot out the door, how dedicated can he really be? Again, everything might seem normal at the surface, but what do you make of a fighter's mentality who is talking retirement?

Retirement is something that fighters should either do or not do. Being caught in the middle can be poison to a fighter's mind. A fighter who is already starting to check out mentally is going to be facing a guy who is totally immersed in the sport--trying to develop and make the right moves for a successful career. That's a major gap in mental states.

MMA requires things out its participants that very few vocations can claim. A baseball player thinking about retirement can still be productive. But MMA is on a different level. The techniques and moves of the fighters are of critical importance, but mental commitment is really what separates it from other sports. It takes a special (some say crazy) breed of man to do things like blow off a knee to the face or a kick to the side of the head. A fighter talking retirement has already paid a lot of mind to not doing this for a living anymore. And once the mind "goes there," it can't possibly translate well to his success.

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This pertains to all aspects of life. If you are working at a job and decide to quit, are your final two weeks very good? If a woman is married and totally committed to the marriage, she will be a much better wife than the woman who is pondering divorce. And while working and marriage are often times challenging aspects of life, at least you're not getting hit in the head (hopefully).

The more extreme the activity, and MMA is certainly extreme, the more single-minded focus is required. The things that are asked of MMA fighters are things that are not asked of the general public. A fight has the tendency to bring out things in a person that are normally not seen. A fight can serve as a portal into a person's soul. And if a fighter is no longer 100% mentally dedicated to his work, chances are that will be revealed during the course of a fight.

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