We've all heard the many different connotative labels when referring to fans and their views of certain MMA aspects, even specific positions in a fight. The action starts to get a little 'stale' and all of the sudden a thunderous volley of "BOO's" can be heard ringing out from the stands, is that you?
Or, are you the one shaking your head, and wondering why everyone else can respect the technique and back and forth positioning going on right in front of their eyes? We can all agree that there are times when we wish a ref would stand up two stalling fighters and resume action on the feet, but often times, one fighter is working to finish or the other is getting dominated and an end to the fight is imminent, either via strikes or submission.
You don't have to have seen UFC 1 and every event since, or be able to call out obscure submission attempts as the ground scrambles occur to consider yourself a hardcore fan. Just the same, not knowing what the hell a gogoplata is does not relegate you to the gallows of casual fandom. This sport is growing and evolving, and so are we as fans.
Striking is easily understood by most, its effects are almost immediate and usually easy to see. Sometimes with jiujitsu that is not the case, one can easily misunderstand the setup work being used to lull an opponent into a negative position that a fighter will then use take advantage of. Now I don't believe the lines of fanhood are drawn and clear cut between those two disciplines, however, it seems to be an area where certain educational disconnects can be found.
I believe being a hardcore (educated) fan starts with; first, a true respect for two men or women willing to come to battle, having fully prepared themselves to accept a barrage of chaos most of us would wilt under the force and pressure of. Secondly, I think becoming an educated supporter of the sport of MMA requires that you put in the time to understand where the sport came from, concepts it was built upon, and how that affects outsiders views of its status today.
In doing these two things I think it will help you to appreciate our beloved sport of personal combat in more depth and the blending of martial arts that allows fighters to put on such impressive shows of physical prowess and mental fortitude. I for one am glad to see any progress beyond the "Just Bleed" mentality and I do enjoy hearing people express interests and excitement when it comes to all the utilized technical nuances MMA has to offer.