Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The UFC: We don't need it, but it's not going anywhere

This morning at work, I read a column in one of the Northern Irish papers that questioned the legitimacy and even the sanity of holding the Ultimate Fighting Championships in Belfast. Why, the columnist wrote, should Belfast host such appalling violence when, for 30 years, they got that kind of shit for free?
The mixed martial arts organization (MMA) which promotes the UFC claims that there are established guidelines that, as with boxing, can lead to a fighter's disqualification and that they have dropped the "no holds barred" moniker that used to define their events. Still, the UFC is a disquieting spectacle all the same. Despite the MMA's guidelines, the blood still flows and bones still get broken.
I have mixed feelings about the UFC. Truth be told, if a bunch of testosterone-drenched (and probably steroid-enhanced) alpha males want to knock the absolute stuffing out of each other, I have no problem with that. Go for it, fellas. These guys presumably know what kind of brutal competition they're taking part in. They talk about no-one having died in the UFC's "octagon" yet—emphasis on the word "yet"—but even if that were to happen, it wouldn't spell the end of the UFC. Quite frankly, the UFC tapped into natural human curiosity, what Stephen King referred to in Misery as "the gotta." And most viewers just gotta know which Cro-Magnon goon is going to win. The Romans watched Christians get torn apart by lions. This is not so different. Human nature has not changed after all this time. How surprising.
There's another factor, of course: violence brings in the bucks. It always has, and it always will, and there's no shortage of both live and pay-per-view audiences to lap the blood up and scream for more. The sad thing is, you could hardly call this entertainment like what the World Wrestling Federation serves up—though, in this case, please bear in mind that I use the word "entertainment" as it would apply to a 3-year-old—because at least there's always an element of comedy to WWF matches. And UFC events aren't really much like boxing either in that boxing is a controlled sport. Boxing I can watch and see it for what it is: a contact sport. After all, who doesn't love cheering for poor ol' Rocky Balboa?
But I feel there's no saving grace to the Ultimate Fighting Championships—they are just pure carnage, whether they take place in Belfast, Boston or Brisbane. But we'd better get used to it, because it's sure not going anywhere and will only continue to grow in popularity.


kristen said...

UFC--didn't know it actually existed. I don't get it either. Why anyone would want to subject himself to such mutilation is beyond me.

Rocky on the other hand is someone I can cheer for.

East of Eden said...

I see the adds for this all the time on our satelite. I don't get it. I don't get boxing either, but who am I?

sid said...

I enjoy boxing and other martial arts, but UFC is just insane