In perhaps the surest sign that mixed martial arts have finally made it into the popular consciousness, lawyers on both sides of the George Zimmerman murder trial spent a full half-hour on Friday discussing the nuances of the "ground and pound." For the remaning UFC neophytes out there, or those who didn't have it explained to them on Nancy Grace's network this week, that's a complex "on top" move that a witness claims to have seen Trayvon Martin perform on his killer.
The witness in question is John Good, a Florida neighbor who's been pushed into using a cop's "ground and pound" terminology to describe the penultimate battle between Martin and Zimmerman on that fateful night last February. Here's CBS News on his cross-examination:
The struggle moved to the cement pathway, and he said the person in dark clothing straddled the other man in "mixed martial arts position" he later described to police as a "ground and pound." ...
Later, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda asked whether it was possible a police officer could have used the term "ground and pound" before he did.
"It's possible," Good said.
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In its MMA formulation, the "ground and pound" is a maneuver that involves one fighter straddling another, with the combatant on top punching the one below. And Zimmerman's defense team loves Good as a witness almost as much as it liked making Rachel Jeantel look dumb, because his testimony makes out Martin to be the man on top, apparently painting him as the dominant fighter, making Zimmerman look like a defensive UFC weenie, despite the neighborhood watchmen being older, stronger, and, you know, a gun-toter. And that's essentially why de la Rionda, the prosecutor for Martin's case, did everything in his power to say that this terminology came from a police officer, and wasn't the organic product of an organic eyewitness report. Indeed, if Rachel Jeantel's endless day on the stand was the day "creepy-ass cracker" almost somehow turned Trayvon Martin into the racist, Friday featured the testimony when "ground and pound" transformed the defenseless 16-year-old Skittles fan into Rampage Jackson.
But enough with words. Here's a terrible "ground and pound" as demonstrated by HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell — terrible in that it borders on dry-humping:
Because you endured some of that, we've also turned Velez Mitchell's reenactment into a GIF:
Anyways, here's one actual "ground and pound" that shows the intricacies of the move, and actually illustrates what Good was talking about — or at least what the defense wants him to talk about to make Martin look like a dominant pro fighter:
As pointed out by Dennis Kang, the instructor in the video above, the fighter on top has the advantage, but the fighter on the receiving end of a "ground and pound" isn't exactly powerless. He notes that the person on the bottom — say, George Zimmerman, alleged murderer — is still able to block punches. The person on top — say, a kid with a bottle of iced tea — can get fatigued.
Ultimately, of course, MMA moves don't prove or disprove Zimmerman's claim of self-defense. Good himself said he could only see downward movements, which doesn't confirm the defense's narrative that Martin was bashing Zimmerman's head against the sidewalk and using the pavement as a weapon. And, of course, the UFC is much different than fighting for your life.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.