I've often been accused of being a contrarian. Someone who writes things just to stir the pot, who looks for the consensus and goes the opposite way. Nothing could be further from the truth. I would love, for once, to be on the popular side of the issue of the day. To bask in the adulation I can only assume comes to those with safe, conventional, and dull opinions.
Alas, that's not my lot in life. My mind spins too fast for that. I can only share what I think and it's this: the Georges St. Pierre versus Anderson Silva superfight sucks. It's a ludicrous money grab that has nothing to do with sport, an affront to a great fighter's potential legacy, and I'm glad that it appears St. Pierre is having second thoughts about being pushed into a fight that doesn't suit him.
Look at the picture above. Seriously, just settle your gaze on it for a moment. Now answer honestly: do these men belong in the cage together? St. Pierre is four inches shorter and at least 35 pounds lighter than the "Spider." And forget what you think Royce Gracie taught us back at UFC 1 - size most definitely matters.
They invented weight classes for a reason. It's simple science, but David messed that up for everyone with his upset of Goliath. All things being equal, the bigger guy is going to win a fight. Not every time, but enough of the time that it isn't fair to judge a smaller man by his performance against a larger foe.
It wasn't always this way. In the ancient Greek Olympics, weight classes didn't exist. Of course, the Greeks also believed Athena sprung from Zeus's head, that the body was made of four humors, and all matter consisted of four elements (water, fire, earth, and air). Besides - if the work of Frank Miller has taught me anything, the Greeks also walked around in loin cloths, indiscriminately kicked people into giant holes of unknown origin, and shouted a lot. Are you really going to trust those guys to make this important decision for us?
St. Pierre is the best fighter in the world at 170 pounds. Why can't we enjoy him for that? Isn't that enough? He's an average sized welterweight. At middleweight, he would be downright small, even if he devoted six months to putting on 30 pounds of lean muscle. Why are we pushing him into a no win situation? Some will criticize him; they'll call him a coward for not risking his health, reputation, and professional legacy on a fight with a much bigger man. For once, perhaps it will be best to ignore the unwashed masses.
No one demanded "Sugar" Ray Leonard move up to fight Evander Holyfield or Michael Spinks. We simply marveled at his skill and panache. We should be celebrating St. Pierre the same way, watching in awe as he dismantles like-size men. It's a thing of beauty. And if the numbers can be trusted, it's working. St. Pierre has made his mark with the fans. He will pack tens of thousands of fans into Toronto's Sky Dome. Hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million more, will watch at home on pay per view. Why fix what isn't broken.
Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre are the best fighters of all time. But that doesn't mean they need to face each other in the cage. They can exist simultaneously, each vanquishing his foes in the appropriate weight class. This is a sport. We should demand sustained excellence. Demanding two men of disparate size square off isn't sport - it's spectacle. And we are better than that.