So last night I was bored at work (I work retail, so apparently Christmas equals us staying open til 11 PM instead of 9 PM. Any one of you buy Car Electronics at 10:30 at night??), so I did what any of you would've done with Internet access; I jumped on Bleacher Report and read a few new articles on the front page.
I posted a few comments, then logged out to go get paid to stand around some more. On the front page, I saw an article on the possibility of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fighting. I'm not a huge boxing fan, but this sparked my curiosity, so I put work on hold to read another article.
I read the article, it wasn't anything special, but an ok read. Then I got down to the comments section...Now, I know sometimes when we are skimming through comments you'll see a comment that is very distasteful. Not so much constructive criticism, as it is insulting and unnecessarily hostile.
So the very first comment is exactly that, insulting. The writer commented back defending himself, and then two more people added comments with more insults to the writer. Another member asked these Bleacher Report members to refrain from using insulting words. This only prompted one of them to copy and paste his offensive comment two more times.
As I read on almost every single comment was extremely rude, and very unintelligent ("your opinion sucks," not exactly constructive criticism). As I began feeling sorry for the writer, a light bulb went off in my head.
One thing I've always loved about MMA, when you compare it to Boxing, is the fighters. I am not talking about skill or even the sport, I am talking about their personalities. Their ability to be decent human beings.
After an MMA fight, it is very common to see the fighters embrace. Whether it be a hug, the loser holding up the winners hand, or kneeling down to ones opponent in the center of the ring to show respect.
Boxing, on the other hand, shows us a different kind of person. We get fighters like Floyd "Money" Mayweather or Zab Judah. They reek of arrogance, rather than confidence.
When the two boxers mentioned above fought, Zab Judah threw an intentional low blow towards the end of the fight. He wasn't in trouble when he did it, he just did it because he was getting beat. Sound like a fighter who deserves respect?
Floyd Mayweather wore a sombrero and sported the colors of the Mexican flag on his shorts when he fought Oscar De La Hoya on Cinco De Mayo. Have you ever heard the guy talk about himself?? I can't figure out what he's more in love with; himself or money.
Fighters like GSP and Anderson Silva show their opponents nothing but respect. Silva sounded more like a fan of Rich Franklin, rather than an opponent after his interviews with Joe Rogan following both fights.
GSP told his Montreal fans to stop booing Serra and cheer for him after their second bout; he told Serra not to let his loss that night bring down his spirits. Franklin did the same thing at his home town of Cincinnati, OH, when his fans were booing Anderson Silva. Keep in mind this was right after Anderson Silva delivered another brutal TKO to Franklin.
So why I am writing this article? I couldn't help but see how the Bleacher Report members in this boxing article reflected the fighters they write about. On the other hand, we MMA writers seem to reflect the fighters we choose to write about.
Their are of course exceptions. Watch Arturo Gatti and Micky Wards fights. Not only are they great fights (these battles mirror Griffin vs. Bonnar 1, and they fought 12 rounds three times), but they show nothing but respect for one another.
There are MMA fighters who also cast a dark shadow on their fellow combatants: Rich Clementi flipped Melvin Guillard off after choking him out, which almost caused a brawl after the fight was over.
Mark Coleman celebrated like a mad man after winning a Pride FC tournament after Mauricio "Shogun" Rua broke his arm falling awkwardly from a Coleman take down. He could've shown some concern for Shogun; good thing they have a rematch coming up.
Similarly, we fall from grace from time to time (I can't wait to read your comments Anthony :)) but for the most part, we all respect eachother's opinions. We may disagree, but we offer reasons why, rather then just stating "You're Wrong Idiot!"
So give yourself a pat on the back if you're a member of the MMA Bleacher Report community. We keep it civil, and that's what keeps me coming back.
If you'd like to read the boxing article with all the colorful commentary, click the here.