G.O.A.T Debates and Why No One Wins
I wish people would just say, “greatest of all time” instead of calling someone an animal (GOAT in all caps) but it’s been used enough, and I have to use it in this post since I’m writing this because of something I answered on Quora.
The question was, “In your opinion, who can be considered as the G.O.A.T in boxing, wrestling, and MMA, the Pound 4 Pound King champion who retired with a loss, or the champion who retired undefeated?”
In short, my answer was “no one.”
Time is constant and when you refer to all time, you cannot say who will be the best in the future because we have not seen it yet. I think the time they really mean is relative to the scheme of the top competitors out there now. So, I answered with the following:
The “greatest of all time” (G.O.A.T) term gets thrown around a lot in combat sports. It’s fun for debates, and combat sports media folks who like to use it for opinionated click-grabbing posts, but the truth is you can’t really say.
Why? Because time is constant and when you refer to “all time” even the greats of our lifetime and those before us are not as well known to those who had the pleasure of watching whomever they would say fit that bill compete.
Of all the combat sports, unless they were able to compete in a straight-up fight it really is hard to say. Mixed Martial Arts is the closest rule set to having no rules at all. Not many (some have but not many) that are very good at boxing like to expand the rule set because they know their weakness would be on the ground. We’ve already seen MMA fighters be bested by relatively new boxers, just watch Jake Paul fight Tyron Woodley (twice) and Ben Askren.
The rules they compete under will favor the man most experienced in those rules, but that’s a whole other post.
So the title and record don’t matter. They’ll definitely be retired since time is constant and it retires all of us but unless there’s an endpoint where we can all look back and say, “That’s the guy (or gal)” who the G.O.A.T. is will always make for popular debate.