Many MMA fans may already be aware of the series Physical 100 on Netflix. I scrolled past it a few times thinking that it was likely in the vein of reality TV, which I completely avoid. But earlier this week I decided to see what it was all about due to coming across some hype in diverse and unexpected areas.
Boy was I glad I did. I'll try to discuss why without revealing any significant spoilers below.
While it does have some of the made-for-TV theatrics that I feel it would be better off without, the show has done a phenomenal job of highlighting the competitive spirit that used to draw me into the extreme MMA competitions from a bygone era less fraught with exploitation. The collection of competitors is quite impressive, and the competitions themselves manage to produce some truly engrossing matches that allow for physical, tactical, and creative paths to victory. It doesn't feel like it should work as well as it does, but the creative team behind the series seems to have their finger on the pulse of something special and they are doing a great job of bringing it to the forefront.
The most refreshing part is the behavior of the competitors themselves. I imagine this is a big part of the success of the show, as it is difficult to see this format working with the brashness and 'winning is everything' mentality we are more accustomed to in the West. The athletes push the competition to just the right point without crossing the line that, at least in my experience at MMA gyms, most find very difficult to straddle.
As Bloody Elbow sadly makes its exit, and fans with a foot out the door consider how to fill the hole that this refuge satisfied, Physical 100 might be a nice reminder of the potential that extreme competitions offer and can achieve when managed well.
Take care gang