The Night I Became a Man: UFC 96
Most sitcoms I've watched have told me honesty is the best policy. Not that I take my advice from most sitcoms but it translates well to the premise of this article.
I had never watched UFC. I'm not a tough guy and I always thought it kind of seemed hokey from afar. So, you could imagine what I thought Saturday night when my friend, Chris, told me he had rented UFC's latest event and asked if I was down?
I thought he might be joking. I almost laughed.
A few years ago, I would have laughed and next got myself inebriated at a local bar, texting Chris about why he wanted to watch grown men grapple. Luckily for Chris, I'm not that man anymore and my social life has slowed incredibly since having a son so I took him up on his offer.
I sat down on Chris' coach with a beer and began watching the first fight, a lightweight bout which pitted a man named Gray Maynard against Jim Miller.
Right away I was impressed as it was different from boxing, where once one man gets a good combo in the opponent generally hugs the offender and the ref breaks it up. This gives the man who was being beaten a chance to get his wits back.
Not so in these contests.
In fact, the last thing you may want to do is grapple because, next thing you know, you're laid out on the floor.
Fists, elbows, blood, and sweat begin flying, and more likely than not, the man on the floor finds himself, like a cartoon character, staring at birds chirping around his head.
Then, I watched the hype machine for the next match; Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz.
It was a heartwarming story to watch a man who was born deaf aspiring to such great heights. As the time passed three minutes, Hamill landed a kick to the side of the head of Munoz so brutal that Munoz actually hit his own knee on the way down.
Ladies and gentleman, this is where I became a man and a fan, as I started jumping out of my seat. That was the moment.
The rest of the night had its treats. I watched Matt Brown win a fight twice by my count as the ref stepped in to save Pete Sell on two occasions.
Seeing Carwin knock out Gonzaga with a defensive half punch/jab after being rocked for a minute and a half, left my jaw gaping in awe.
The main event was a sight as both Jardine and Rampage proved just how tough they were.
At the end of the night I was exhausted. The adrenaline rush gone from my system, my friend turned to me and said: "Isn't there something about it that makes you want to yell fight, like when you were on the school ground?"
And that was exactly it, this wasn't WWE staging its fights.
This wasn't Boxing where I watch 12 rounds of dance choreography mixed with jabs and hugs.
This was where real men go to exorcise whatever demons they may have on the other man's face, limbs, or whatever they could find.
As I left, I forgot to wish my friend a happy birthday. Mostly because all I could think about was roundhouse kicking him in the face.
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