That’s not the point

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I have not written a blog post since September. I’m still watching every UFC event, but not enough thoughts come to me to write a whole post.

Until now.

Recently, the organization held UFC 246 to welcome back the truly notorious Conor McGregor. I was glad to see him because he’s exciting and his fights are usually must-see events. One great thing about Conor’s persona is his quick wit and how he uses it to defeat his opponent well before getting in the cage. There was none of that this time. Cowboy was irritated with the suggestion that the outcome was a foregone conclusion, but most of us saw this as a tune-up for Conor. Even Stevie Wonder saw that W coming.

If you’re into star watching, the best place to be is in the house when there’s an McG fight. Scanning the audience, athletes (and actors and politicians!) of all sorts enjoy watching the fights too. It’s great. Also in the audience was the Backyard Brawler himself. The giver of the 3-piece and baptizer of fools, Jorge Masvidal. But instead of being the gangster that he is (and that we love), he shows up in a black robe and holding a bottle of liquor.

He did indeed look ridiculous.

Who urged him to do that? When he was in the audience for Nate’s fight, he didn’t show up in the Diaz uniform of black t-shirt, black jeans and a joint. So why copy Conor’s swag when he’s got his own? Why is he walking around with a bottle of mezcal? Lord help us if he fights Cowboy again. We might see him in a cowboy hat and carrying a baby.

Last time I saw him he was in one of those fake recorded confrontations with Usman. Colby did that one to death. And with the fake security people in tow, please stop. Nobody is going to fight in a hotel lobby. Just stop.

The fight card itself? So so. Roxanne beat Maycee Barber and Maycee’s father decided to talk trash. He should know that these things happen in MMA. Just because you call yourself The Future doesn’t mean that you are. It might not be your time yet. Ask Yair. He got pummeled by Frankie when everyone was calling that boy the future.

Levels.

I wondered about her coaching. Isn’t she being trained by Duke Roufus? The same guy who saved Anthony Pettis with the broken hand alibi? Why didn’t he save Maycee after the doctor so helpfully diagnosed her knee injury between rounds? Sometimes, the MMA gods will present you with an out. This was one of those times and her corner allowed her to go on to a definitive loss instead of a doctor stoppage, which you can argue about until the end of your career. Now she just has to take that L.

The aforementioned Pettis, Holm and Pennington were on that card too. All 3 are beyond their prime.

And last, shall we talk about the really dumb outrage at Stephen A. Smith? MMA fans are unique in that they impose a knowledge and endurance test on other fans. With the SAS kerfuffle, apparently, the test is imposed on commentators as well.

Am I the only person who knows the talking heads on sports shows are entertainers? They say something provocative and the reward is clicks and outrage and ratings. That’s the engagement quotient and is probably how they get paid. Or as the kids would say, Stephen A will do anything for clout.

But that’s too simplistic.

Along with several others on the network, Stephen A. is one of the masters at this, and he was trying to get the clicks going for the UFC. It’s what he’s paid to do. MMA is still a niche sporting activity and if they want to continue to grow, the more clicks the better. Why not engage with him, argue the points with him, or record competing narratives on your podcast or blog? Don’t just shout the man down because you claim he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Of course he doesn’t. That’s not the point.

MMA fans like to see fighters as brave gladiators and warriors who fight for glory and honor, respect, God and country. They are not. They are men and women who fight for a living. This is what they do to make money for their families. And it doesn’t matter if fans think it’s a little money or a lot of money – this is what they chose to do with their lives.

Enjoy the Super Bowl. Go Niners!

M