I keep trying to think of a good comparison for UFC 139 and a horror movie. There aren't many times where you can expect raw untamed violence on a card, but this is certainly one of them. Will it be a classy, slow burn like Halloween? The raw, campy, and visceral run of Friday the 13th? Will we get a surrealist portrait of violence like Nightmare on Elm Street (if Cung Le's spinning back kick connects on Wand's chin...)?
Maybe we'll get something wet and sloppy like Braindead, but without the kung fu priests and zombie infants? After much deliberation, I decided the best comparison of this card to a horror movie is Predator. Yes, this article is an excuse to talk about movies, but it's an even worse excuse to talk about science. So bear with me.
Predator is a classic in every sense of the word. Much like the fighters on this card, they don't pretend to be what they are not. Wand has a real nasty habit, but that nasty habit has worked. Stephan Bonnar never was that smart in a fight, but that recklessness has turned a C+ level fighter into a modest star in the LHW division: such that he has earned himself a catchy nickname and is adored by Dana.
I feel like the cast is all there: Somebody will get lit up like Pancho (looking at you Shogun and Hendo). Somebody will make one fatally wrong move like Mac. And still others will be forgettable fodder like Hawkins.
Like all good horror films (and like this card), the stories tap into our fears about injury, and loss. Hardcore fans are excited for this card because the night will not end well for someone's health this weekend. Just how that happens is the question, but everyone is interested to find out. As Brent Brookhouse explains, this card promises violence, and hey, we should embrace that.
There's nothing savage, or silly about being attracted to these feelings: they are cathartic. In a similar vein, it's part of why we watch horror movies. They simulate and create situations that force us to reflect on what we fear. Tim Smith, a psychologist from the University of London explains how our brains process this state of horror, or shock (Focus, 234).
Within the brain, fearful experiences are the result of an interplay between fear driven centers (amygdala), and centers specific to conscious appraisal (a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC). According to some studies, what you feel and what you think you feel is often the same as cells in both of the aforementioned regions fire in unison. Thus, the MPFC is said to be an intriguing source (though what is bound to be one among many) for our sense of empathy. It also helps explain why horror movies are so scary for some: the act of consciously constructing a fearful situation creates the same physiological state of actually experiencing a fearful situation.
It also explains why a horror movie that reveals less, and leaves more to the imagination is likely to be scarier than one that doesn't (because I don't want to look like a pansy, I won't admit what movies have scared me besides Twilight). So I'll leave you guys with a fun fact: if Shogun is brutally knocked unconscious by Dan Henderson it will take your brain 30 milliseconds to generate an emotional response, but it will take 100 milliseconds for your brain to consciously recognize that image.