With all the hustle and bustle going on in the MMA world this week, I though it appropriate to complain about my fellow fans. Because honestly, if you guys aren't careful you're going to ruin the only thing we have in common.
If there's one general theme that seems to capture everything that puts me at odds with many of my brethren, it's their insistance to the following:
*MMA is fine like it is! Don't make it mainstream!*
Friends, this is madness. While it may seem like everything's wavy-gravy right now, I'd like to bring you back to 2006. I sat there, horrorstruck, watching Frank Mir fall into a 15 minute coma atop a progressively sweatier Dan Christiansan. It was like watching two whales mate, die, then slowly decompose. It probably smelled similar too. The reason I put that image into your head is that just 60 short months ago, that constituted Main Card action on a UFC PPV. We've come a long way since then, but we haven't done it alone. We were carried on the backs of vile, unwashed, and simple animals. And it is these beasts of burden to which we must now pin our hopes if MMA is to flourish as we desire.
I call them........casuals. The subhumans who watch Dancing with the Stars. The same lemmings who made Patch Adams the #1 movie in America all those years ago (I haven't forgotten and will never forgive).
Comrades, no one detests the casuals more than me. I hate their stupid, endless questions during fights. I hate their anecdotes about YMCA Tae Kwan Do that lets them speak with authority about how GSP's kick wasn't quite right (per Sensei Todd, of course). I hate them so much you don't even know. But I tolerate them for one, beautiful reason: I love their money. I have some of my own, and I'll grudgingly give up some of it to watch the sport I love, but it's so much sweeter when I make my sherpas do the heavy lifting. Despite their great strength and discretionary budgets, casuals are slow-witted and easily distracted. When faced with the unfamiliar they will often scurry away and try to find an episode of Two and a Half Men. Therefore, they must be sated with a steady diet of the familiar, watered down and cliched soundbites to which they've become accustomed across all of their standard media platforms.
What does this mean for us, the cultural stewards of MMA? We sell out, and we sell out BIG TIME. We make fighters do lame night show interviews, we patiently explain to Larry King that male grappling doesn't violate the Defense of Marriage Act, and we do it all with a fake-ass smile. We strip every last ounce of soul and personality out of every one of our public mouth pieces every time a microphone gets waved. Because that's the price you pay when you dance with the devil. But doesn't that take away one of the wonderful intangibles we currently enjoy, you may ask (as in the following dramatization)?:
Fellow Fan: "But FPT, I like it when Rampage humps reporters or mimics the mentally retarded! It's part of his appeal and I don't want to lose that!"
Me: "Shut up! SHUT UP! Shut your FACE! That stuff was fine in the Dark Ages but no longer. He needs to join the ranks of every other pedestrian athlete and start regurgitating the same tired cliches about focus, will to win, blah blah blarg. Somebody DVR GSP for this fool. And while you're at it, get him a cameo on Grey's Anatomy as a bouncer with lupis so my mouth-breathing neighbor remembers to plunk down $55 to force Rampage out of bed to get his ass kicked by Jon Jones and collect his "Thanks for showing up!" check for $500,000. So can it! Also, would you like fries with that?"
The painful truth all of you subculture elitists need to accept is that the trendy days of being "in on it" before everyone else are over. We all want top quality fights but some jackass accountant poisoned all of these guys into thinking they should be making a lot of money every time they hook 'em up for the Mazz, the kind that a 250K PPV doesn't provide. Nor, despite my wild and heartfelt pleas, has a single UFC fighter agreed to come out to my house and fight on my lawn for free. And I sure as hell refuse to pay any more than absolutely necessary, hence the need to cater to people I'd prefer only existed as organ donors.
Apologies, hombres and hombras, but the halcyon days of underground MMA need to be gone. Feel free to recreate all of those glorious homophobic, racist Twitter wars with the appropriate action figures in your parent's basement. But when Jimmy Kimmel asks Shane Carwin hard-hitting questions like "Do you judo or are you more of a karate-man?", we all need to bite our tongues and play the game.
In closing, this line of discussion reminds me of those music purists who always insisted that their favorite band's indie LP was far and away superior to all of their "corporate" garbage. At which point I would quietly ask why then, pray tell, was it not on their current playlist or even their Ipod alltogether?
The answer of course, is because 90% of that indie music was pure shit. Sure, there were a few exceptions and even a rare hit thrown in, but the vast majority was just like that half-hour of Mir/Christiansan flop sweat: difficult to sit through, let alone pay money for.
Those days need to stay in the past. If it means sacrificing individual personality to entice the casuals onto our fun-time bandwagon, so be it. Because, when you get right down to it, "You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win, no matter what the outcome." Words to live by, folks. Words to live by.