Urijah Faber was a guest on an episode of The Doctors this week. That's a daytime television show airing daily around the country. Check local listings.
If you missed Faber's episode, stop what you're doing and watch the video that is embedded in this article. Go ahead, I'll wait.
OK, I would now like to talk about that appearance. Because it was awesome.
I mean, I don't want to gush or anything. Truth be told, I'm actually not the world's biggest Faber fan. Faber (26-6) always came across to me as a bit of a phony. I always imagined "The California Kid" as someone who was all "hang loose" with the fans but pompous and self-centered behind the scenes.
As such, I was definitely an initial Dominick Cruz supporter in the Faber-Cruz rivalry. But Faber kind of changed my mind during his time coaching on The Ultimate Fighter. He was supportive and seemed to really care about his team and its members, in contrast to the aloof and snarky Cruz.
Now, at this point, I'll spare you the boring stories about how many times I've met him and what he's "really" like. Because I don't have any. All I know is what I've seen from him in public, including this very public forum of The Doctors, in which Faber was ambassadoring his tail off for MMA, and was freaking masterful in the effort.
First of all, he's a good-looking guy. There's no denying that. He's also kind of on the short side at 5' 6". That's not a state secret, either. But the two together are kind of emblematic of what makes Faber such a good representative of the sport, especially in the setting of a daytime bon-bon magnet like The Doctors. He's handsome and huggable. He's tough and friendly. He's "big," but he's also "little."
For most fighters, this would have been like conducting an interview on the surface of Neptune. Imagine someone like Rory MacDonald or, say, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson being questioned by Ken dolls in scrubs about nasal fractures and weight cutting while 400 housewives and a huge bank of cameras glared on. The only other fighter who I think could truly pull that off is Junior dos Santos. I think him and Faber cover it, though, at least as far as the elite guys are concerned.
But Faber was a natural out there. He calmly and clearly explained the concept and rules of MMA, which stands for "mixed martial arts." He gave a heavy bag demonstration and broke down some video. He handled "tough" questions with humor and patience, and even asked one of the doctors (something about hydration).
This all might seem silly, and it kind of is. But MMA needs more of this. Faber undoubtedly knows this (and I don't think his motives were altogether altruistic; he does have a brand to consider), and his appearance was a good step for him and for a sport that will never grow by preaching over and over to the same old choir.