Questioning the massive appeal of the UFC

Marlow Weldon

I know this opinion might not be the most popular one these days, but I can’t for the life of me understand the appeal of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, otherwise known simply as UFC.

I’ve had this opinion since the UFC really started to take off in popularity a few years ago.

It’s not that I don’t think that the combatants involved are athletes, in fact, I believe quite the opposite.

The guys involved in the sport, at least most of them, are built like brick outhouses and are in better shape than most football, hockey or baseball players out there.

But I just don’t get how two guys squaring off in what can only be described as a street fight counts as entertainment these days.

To me, mixed martial arts is nothing more than a blood sport, an event designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, much the same way that “Bum Fights” did back in the late 1990s.

You remember “Bum Fights”, a web-based phenomenon where homeless men were given $20 each to just beat the living daylights out of each other, just for the entertainment of a few folks on the internet.

In my humble opinion, “Bum Fights” and UFC are on the same level, with the notable exception being that UFC athletes take home a far better payday than the poor souls that were just trying to earn some money for food.

I would even go so far as to compare UFC president Dana White to Michael Vick, arguing that UFC events are the same as the dog-fighting ring that landed Vick a two-year prison term.

I guess you could say the pitbulls involved in Vick’s nefarious enterprise didn’t have a choice, but that’s the only difference, in my mind at least, between mixed martial arts and dog fighting.

How is it that we live in a society where we condemn a man like Vick, while at the same time clamouring for George St. Pierre to snap Josh Koschuck like a dry piece of campfire kindling?

Some might say that I am making an extreme comparison, putting White and Vick on the same level and you know what, yes I am.

But it still doesn’t change the fact that UFC, at least in my mind, is not a sport.

It’s a brutal spectacle of violence that only serves to fill our streets with testosterone fuelled Tyler Durden wannabes at the end of every UFC event.

Now I’m a guy who loves a good hockey fight, or a dandy of a bench clearing brawl in baseball.

However, I don’t watch those events purely for that aspect.

I don’t think I could make it through an entire hockey game that featured nothing but bare knuckle brawling.

Some might ask, though, what’s the difference between UFC and say another pugilistic type sport like boxing or tae kwon doe.

The difference there is that in boxing or tae kwon doe, the participants don’t go into the fight with the sole intention of injuring their opponent.

Sure, a boxer will look to knock his opponent out, but he’s not aiming to break his arm/leg in six different places.

Again, this is just my opinion and judging by the number of people who turned out for UFC124 in Montreal last weekend, I am in the minority.

But that doesn’t change the fact that mixed martial arts is just a hair above an event once revered in Ancient Rome, that being gladiators taking on fellow slaves or jungle cats, all for the entertainment of the assembled masses.

Surely, we as a society are more advanced than those that proceeded us hundreds of years ago.

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