Friday, January 1, 2010

Now That's Just Mean!

I love watching MMA not only because of the level of skill involved but also because every once in awhile you will get matches with guys who really and truly don't like each other and when that happens you can expect major fireworks. Well last night there was a match between Shinya Aoki and Mizuto Hirota which turned out to be one of those instances. Now I have to warn you before you watch the clip that there is a nasty nasty submission hold involved, a broken or dislocated bone, and some very poor sportsmanship. If you think you can stomach all that then push play.

Now over on Yahoo they are debating whether or not this will hurt Aoki, the guy who rearranged his opponents anatomy and then turned around and insulted him for good measure, and his American promotor in getting him some fights here in the US. Further they are debating whether or not this would hurt MMA in general stateside had the match been shown here.

Well maybe something is wrong with me but by God, I while I was shocked at Aoki's behavior, some part of me loved it too. Now I don't imagine most folks think like me, but I have a sneaky suspicion that a lot of MMA fans do. Its like any other sport for me, when you make a big play in football or basketball or even sometimes baseball you want to both celebrate and also to make the point to your opponent that you are their better. While the one finger salute is crass, to me its not much worse than a player saying "In your face!". I have a sneaky suspicion that if boxers didn't wear gloves we would have seen some of them giving their fallen opponent the finger a LONG time ago. It is what it is.

On the other hand I am sure that for folks who don't like MMA and use words like "barbaric" to describe it, yeah they probably didn't care for the display at all. But who the hell cares what they think? Those are the same people who will NEVER like MMA and will never see it for what it is, a sport. Spending time worrying about if you are going to offend them does nothing more than kill time and energy better used on other topics. For all of the faux outrage after Brock Lesnar flipped off the crowd and his opponent after his dominating win over fan favorite Frank Mir, do you REALLY think that made MMA less popular? I don't. If anything it gave people more of a reason to watch because now they had a bonafide villain. Some of the fans would root against him, many would root for him but it never hurts to have a black hat as a contrast in any sport you can think of.

I don't think MMA would survive if this was the kind of behavior you saw after each and every match. But I don't think it hurts at all to see this every once in awhile. I can tell you this, I will definitely be checking Aoki's next match out. And somehow I bet I won't be alone.

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