Can somebody who has never listened to music appreciate the work of Beethoven, Brahms or Chopin?
Can somebody who has never watched a second of baseball understand how impressive it is to throw a 100-mph fastball?
The learning curve in MMA is no different than in these instances, and that creates a brilliant complexity understood only by fans of the sport.
It is a beautiful sport.
It is a brutal sport, too.
It is both, and that is why we love it.
The way he dodged his foe and avoided punishment with a smooth defiance was absolutely stunning to watch, and it was truly a thing of beauty.
Think about what happened next though. Anderson Silva, a grown man, punched Forrest Griffin, another grown man, in the face.
Hard enough for his brain to say, "What the hell just happened?!" and cause his equilibrium to take a ride in a blender of pain and confusion.
Which is it?
No matter how awesome it was to watch, that is pretty brutal.
We are talking fists, knees, elbows and shins colliding with human skulls.
I hate to break it to you, folks, but that is not the way our bodies are supposed to be treated.
Whenever you watch Jon Jones crushing Matt Hamill's face with elbows or choking Lyoto Machida into unconsciousness, the resulting satisfaction can only be described as primal.
That is brutal, but we love it.
We love it because what sets up the brutality is oftentimes so damn beautiful. Watching somebody like Anderson Silva or Lyoto Machida work his stand-up game is positively artful.
Demian Maia is a painter on the ground, each movement and each sweep a stroke of his expertly-guided brush.
The sport is beautiful at its core thanks to the high-level practitioners that inhabit its ranks. Some of the most skilled athletes in the world are MMA fighters, and this group of standout men and women create some of the most impressive feats in the world of sports.
At the same time though, the sport will always be inherently brutal.
The aim in MMA is to knock your opponent out or to submit him via choke or some sort of joint lock. That is ruthless at its heart, but the setup and execution of these submissions is oftentimes breathtakingly beautiful.
To the untrained eye, the sport may seem more brutal than beautiful, but an educated observer gets the full picture.
Mixed martial arts is both beautiful and brutal, and we would not want it any other way.