Ahhhhhh! 4 day weekend. Thank you Memorial Day. I do miss the fact that I am not in Virginia at the moment. 2 years in a row vacationing with my white family out east was freakin sweet. I miss em all and hope to get out there sooner rather than later.
Yes this will be 98 days in a row. Why? Find out on Day 1
Details? Not yet. Other things abound.
Time to inform and entertain.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship a.k.a. the UFC. The mainstream is starting to take notice and for good reason. Or reasons as the case may be. This past Saturday was the Pay per view presentation of UFC 71 live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Yes the number was correct. This was their 71st show. I think it is safe to say that this is not a niche sport or a fad. Floyd Mayweather Jr., the current pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, even realizes that the UFC is taking money out of his bank account cause young boxing fans are now young UFC fans. Why? How did this all change in a matter of just a few years? Why are 15,000 people attending these events? Why is Spike TV broadcasting 4-5 hours of UFC programming a week? Here are the answers I can come up with at the moment in no particular order. This is based solely on opinion and hours spent watching or reading about the UFC
1. Dana White, President of the UFC. Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta III, Owners.
The UFC was born in 1993, but in 2001 these three men changed the organization into it's current architecture. They saw the need to change the rules and structures of the fights. They brought in weight divisions and timed matches. They have erred on the side of safety when comes to all the fighters in order to become legitimized in California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania State Athletic Commissions. These are not to the death bloodsport type match ups. Two men enter the ring. Two men leave. Then they do it all over again a few months later. Serious injuries do occur, but that is the nature of the beast. The UFC did all of this to get into the public eye. They had to get a TV deal and they did through Spike Cable TV. They are the ultimate reality TV show. These three men are smart business men and excellent at public relations. It comes from the top down and Dana White is the definition of why the UFC is a success currently. He doesn't take shit from anyone. He is willing to go above and beyond in order to get his point across. He makes the same sacrifices all his fighters make. If you ever see a UFC event, look for the mid 30-s bald white man. That's Dana.
2. The Fighters
No one individual fighter has made the UFC what it is today. Therein lies the beauty. If you at all followed pro wrestling in the late 90's you became familiar with 2 men. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. As much as they wish it weren't true, once they left the WWE was never the same. So much of the company rode on the shoulders of these two men. On the other hand, the UFC will never be defined by one man. Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell may have been on the cover of magazines and featured on the hit HBO series "Entourage", but he was not the sole reason 15 people crammed into my living room to watch him fight this past Saturday. He was not the reason ESPN live coverage of the weigh in for this most recent title fight between Liddell and his challenger Quinton Jackson. The UFC is survived and will be survived by it's seemingly endless run of quality fighters. They all share similar characteristics that make them all watchable. They are, aesthetically speaking, appealing to viewers. Cause I'm an ass I will draw this comparison to emphasize this point. People don't watch porno movies to see unattractive people having sex, right? People want to see gladiator looking dudes battle in the Octagon. The background stories on all these fighters are for the most part interesting as well. The build up to the PPV matches is very movieesque in it's attempts to give you a sense of who these fighters are and how they got to this point in their life. And all of these fighters believe the same exact thing when it comes to fighting. "I can kick your ass."
3. Other sports.
If you follow sports even a lil bit, you may have heard of a few of the recent stories in the headlines. Baseball and steroids. Football and the police. Floyd Landis. As we find out more and more about our athletes that we watch and support we discover things that make it all seem unreal. A shadow of doubt is cast over what they athletes do now. Are they really doing it themselves or is it performance enhanced? Is it real or fake? No matter your take on drugs and their place in sports, we all watch sports to get lost in the moment. To enjoy the drama of real people doing unreal things. Now it just seems as if unreal people are doing these things and making it lose credibility. If the public feels as if they have been lied to then they will simply turn away. The UFC is the benefactor of all these sports refugees. The UFC is definitive and undeniably honest. It has that drama that makes us as fans watch over and over again. It makes grown men scream and watch a fight over and over again in a matter of hours. It showcases abilities that we as fans could only dream of having, yet seem very attainable at the same time. You get your money's worth out of every penny. I know I have. Except for maybe that damn third fight between Arlovski and Sylvia. I still want my money back for that boring snoozefest. :)
All in all the UFC is real, honest, and dramatic. It is unscripted and conclusive. It is brutal and beautiful. It is here to stay. That's my short take. Rabble Rock!