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Open Letter to Len Shapiro

Dear Len Shapiro,

I'm begging you: please tell me where you live.

No, I'm not an Internet stalker.  No, I'm not going to come to your house after tracking you down on Google Maps.  I don't care to even see you personally.  I just want to know where you live.

You see, after reading the following comment you made about "ultimate fighting" in your column yesterday in the Washington Post, I knew I needed to find out where you hang your hat:

Wouldn't it be nice to forever ban Ultimate Fighting from the airwaves, not to mention the pages of my favorite Washington newspaper? It's gratuitous street fighting violence, pure and simple, and spare me the mixed martial arts garbage or readership surveys that say it appeals to potential 18- to 34-year-old readers. You watch this stuff, you don't read.
Oh, Lenny.  How lucky you are!  To live in a place where uncouth, out-of-shape, unknowledgeable street thugs and bored teenagers actually fight as well as professional athletes, Division I National Champion wrestlers, Olympic wrestlers and medal winners, Olympic judokas and medal winners, Olympic boxers, professional boxers, K-1 World Champion kickboxers, and Mundial winners must be a real treat.

Mr. Shapiro, you must tell what streets you walk by where these fights take place.  To think that I've been wasting all this money watching these events when they're in my own backyard makes me sick!  But hey, now that I know there are alleys in the metro area where I can see the same thing, I'm on easy street.  And really, shouldn't I stop training?  It's really, really hard and painful.  I have to learn all sorts of terribly difficult skills.  If all I have to do is find a back alley, that'd be much easier on my body.

I mean, how lucky you must be!  You get to see fights in your own backyard that would make 4-time All American and Division I National Champion wrestler Josh Koscheck blush!  How embarrassed must Olympic wrestlers like Dan Henderson and Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland be to learn drunk rednecks are as skilled as they!  How sad it must make Gold Medal judoka Hidehiko Yoshida to know his years of training can be duplicated by two obese losers in a back alley!  How upsetting it must be for Olympic boxer Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to know any street kid can box as well as he without the slightest bit of training!  How terrible professional boxers like Jeremy Williams must feel after realizing all you need to do to learn his skills is throw a haymaker or two!  How mad must K-1 world champs like Mark Hunt must be!  And how disappointed must BJ Penn, Marcio Cruz, Renaldo Souza, Roger Gracie, and others must feel knowing their expertise in jiu-jitsu - borne out of incredible sacrifice and training - becomes worthless in the INCREDIBLE streets where Len Shapiro lives!

Len, I must know what alleys and streets you traverse.  Don't you realize I could make a fortune?!?!?  I wouldn't need to pay highly-skilled, highly-trained, highly-athletic, highly accomplished professional fighters thousands of dollars to fight!  All I need are some coordinates to your neighborhood and I can see the exact same thing.  Man, are you one lucky guy or what?!

Well, I was going to train tonight, but why bother?  I was going to learn some Greco-roman wrestling (you know, the Olympic sport?) takedowns this evening.  Then I was going to take a lesson on how striking in mixed martial arts is completely different than boxing or kickboxing because of the necessity of takedown defense and power distribution through the stance alters what is and is not allowed, but what's the point?  I'm just going to head over to your neighborhood where I'll be magically transformed into the professional athlete I've always wanted to be.  Why sacrifice time with friends and family for years?  Why be called "street fighters" by ignorant columnists who don't have the slightest clue what they're talking about?  Why spend years learning a craft when all I need to is throw a wild, off-balance, haymaker at someone else and I can get the same thing?

So Mr. Shapiro: are you going to help me out or what?  Please, I beg of you.  Tell me what alley you're in where you see anything approximating what's on television.  No one else in the world is able to do it.  Everyone else with a mammalian brain keeps telling me that mixed martial artists are experts in wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu, thai boxing, western boxing, and other forms of combat athletics.  But apparently that's not the case.  Apparently you know a street where any yokel who shows up can put on the exact same display.

I must know where this is.  Won't you help me?


Luke Thomas
Freelance Writer for Real Fighter Magazine
Senior Writer for MMA Madness
Host of's WhoopAss Radio
Host of Any Given Saturday
Television Color Commentator for Washington, D.C.'s Mixed Martial Arts Championships