If Soccer Is the Beautiful Game, What Is MMA?
Soccer is a game of fluid motions. There is constant running, kicking the ball back and forth. The scores are low, yet fans of soccer find the game to be beautiful and exciting. Many fans of mixed martial arts and the UFC may not understand the sport as much, but the entire rest of the world finds soccer to be a beautiful game and this cannot be ignored.
I actually gave it a whirl when the last World Cup was on television, but I just can't get into the game. I think its mostly because I don't understand much of what is going on. Even if I don't understand soccer, the entire rest of the world seems to see it as poetry in motion.
The reason I am less likely to rip on soccer than most people is because as an MMA fan, I understand what it is like to have most of the world question my favorite sport. I have literally had people tell me "that UFC stuff is just two guys humping each other" or even worse that it is "crazy and barbaric."
I try my best to never say bad things about soccer because even though it is not my cup of tea, that does not mean that soccer isn't an incredible sport. Just because I have not grasped the sport does not mean much. There are hundreds of millions out there that love it like a family member. Who am I to judge what sport a person likes?
However, I do find it difficult to be an MMA fan at times. I went on a date recently and was told by this particular woman that she cannot stand anyone wearing Tapout or Affliction clothing because of the fact that idiots wear that stuff. I think these kind of stereotypes are simply unfair.
I have worn this type of apparel for years, and frankly, when I started wearing these brands there was very little interest in them. I'm sure some of the readers of this article have felt the sting of the UFC fan stereotypes as I have over the last few years. It is mostly unwarranted in my opinion.
But, that still leaves me wondering what is MMA? How would I philosophize about mixed martial arts or rather what would be an accurate description of what the sport means in the hearts of the true fans?
Matt Hughes has often referred to MMA in the past as a chess match of sorts and that is the direction that I am headed, sort of. If someone was to jump out of the bushes and say, "What is MMA? How would you sum this sport up, Michael?"
If I had to answer that question I would say that MMA is honorable combat. MMA is a combat sport first of all. It is impossible to ignore that fact that these men and women are entering a cage to fight in a one-on-one battle.
But, that is far too simplistic for mixed martial arts. After all, MMA involves much more than just one martial art. To me, MMA is a perfect fusion of all martial arts. Georges St-Pierre often describes himself as a martial artist and not a fighter. I think this is because he sees himself as being part of an honorable combat sport.
MMA has its fair share of characters, goofballs, trash talkers, prima donnas and outcasts. However, the modern day UFC is a far cry from pre-Zuffa UFC days where there were little rules and when that was used as a marketing tool. Today's UFC is heavily regulated with weight classes, drug testing and other things that make MMA a much different sport than it was in its infancy.
Fighters such as Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva treat their opponents with respect, and they take their profession very seriously. Yes, it is true that many fighters do an injustice to their sport, but there are also many men who treat themselves as honorable combat artists who bring the sport to another level.
In the end it is very difficult to describe MMA in a single phrase but I think that honorable combat is one of the best ways to describe the modern UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts. The majority of fighters at the top are honorable men and women who compete in a combat sport, therefore I described MMA as honorable combat.
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