Over the past couple of months, I've found myself questioning why I love MMA. I have never stepped foot in a cage, or ring for that matter. I have zero training in any discipline. I do own a black belt, but it's sole purpose is to avoid showing plumbers crack. With that being said, I truly do love the sport we call MMA. Why though? Other than the obvious manly thurst for violence. It's more than just that. I feel a connection to MMA, and it's athletes that I've yet to find in any other sport. After many weeks of thought, which some may have mistaken for day dreaming. I have found that it comes down to two things I connect with the most. The fights, and the fighters.
The Fights- I see an MMA fight just as I see life. I wake up knowing what I have to do that day, but I'm also aware that anything can happen at anytime. This is what makes life, and MMA such a beautiful thing. There is nothing better than seeing someone appear down and out, only to come back to win it all. (See Chris Leben). Then there is the fact that the fights used give me a high. I remember the adrenaline pumping for a big fight. Although I don't get the high I used to, I seem to be constantly chasing it. The other thing I dig about the fights is seeing a big name lose. Before you get all huffy, let me explain. When Matt Serra beat Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69, it was the biggest upset in the sport. It was also what drove GSP to be the greatest welterweight in the world. Proving that it's ok to fall down, but get back up and kick some ass.
The Fighters- MMA boasts some of the best athletes in the world. I can't think of any other sport that requires five straight minutes of energy zapping combat. Then rest for a minute, and go do it again. The biggest connection to the fighters I have though is the blue collar feel. The first season of The Ultimate Fighter opened my eyes to this. Before TUF 1, I really just thought these guys are just crazy brawlers. Fighters often talk about the daily grind being the hardest thing about their job. This statement is one I'm sure many can relate to. Add in the stories of a lot of the fighters, and it makes them real. You know the ones. Bad childhood, came from nothing to become champ, alcohol, drugs, the list goes on and on. All of these stories serve a purpose though. They connect people to fighters. If a fan reads an article, or watches an interview and realises this guy went through what I'm going through. Then that fan is much more likely to watch, follow, and be inspired. Most other sports spend a shit load of time, and money to keep it's athletes past a secret. Not MMA, no we are a different breed.
In all honesty, I could go on forever about why I feel the way I do about MMA. My passion for the sport goes much deeper than I could write in any article. Watching the sport grow for the past twenty years has been great. MMA has come so far in such a short time. The future of MMA looks scary good. With promotions putting on free events to showcase all the talent out there, and promote fighters. There are so many up and comers that look legit. It really is a great time to be an MMA fan.