Two cars leave Jon Jones’s pelvis at 8:00 p.m., traveling three miles per hour. How long do they take to reach the ground? You’ll soon have all the information you need for a proper equation, because the UFC is adding leg reach statistics to its “Tale of the Tape” graphic before every fight. “Nice gams, Carano,” a 1950s-era film character yells from the front row. But how nice are they really? It’s right there on the monitor, sir. According to Mike Bohn at MMA Junkie, Joe Rogan has been asking for this information for years. Perhaps it makes sense to depart from boxing’s traditional catalogue of anatomical measurements, considering MMA fighters do so much kicking.
But will the stat be as valuable as, say, pointing out a 6-inch reach advantage? Michael Carroll, live statistics producer and research analyst for FightMetric isn’t sure.
“We know what arm reach is, we know what a sizable discrepancy is in arm reach,” he said. “Jon Jones with his 84.5 versus, say, Dan Henderson with 76. That’s a huge difference. But what’s a huge difference in leg reach? I have no idea. It’s going to take a little while on the analytical side of things to figure out what’s a good length in proportion to what weight class you’re in and what’s a sizable discrepancy. A sizable discrepancy in leg reach might be much smaller than arm reach.”
UFC commentator Jon Anik isn’t convinced that the differences will be all that pronounced.
“You’re not going to find as much discrepancy in these numbers as you see in some of the traditional reaches,” he said. “When I looked at them for the first time today, the number that jumped off the page is Jack May at 6-foot-8, and his opponent Shawn Jordan is 5-foot-11, and their leg reach is only two-and-a-half inches different.”
Ultimately, nobody has a clue if leg reach really makes a critical difference. Regardless, it’s always nice to have more information. But where does it all end? Head circumference, fist weight, elbow pointiness. The list of relevant statistics goes on. At some point, I suppose it could all start to look like a business transaction at a cattle market. Perhaps in ten years we will know the extent of Cro Cop’s impressive potential groin strike radius. For now, enjoy this perfectly harmless and not medically privileged information.