“If you didn’t like that fight, MMA is not for you.”
If you have a watched a card in the past couple years for any promotion, chances are you have heard some variation of that quote spoken by an announcer. It implies a certain lack of appreciation from a fan’s standpoint, and it also implies that they perhaps know a little more than you. And while from their point of view they probably think they are just scolding fans that were looking for a highlight reel knockout, they could not be more wrong.
The beauty in MMA lies in its variety. If you don’t like Jiu Jitsu, there are plenty of strikers that will keep you entertained. Wrestling more your thing? High level Olympic and collegiate champion wrestlers are as common as Dana White using four letter words. Some fans enjoy lengthy exchanges between fighters as opposed to one punch knockouts. Whatever type of fighting you prefer, MMA can deliver it. But the flip side to that has to also be true. You are going to get fights that you do not like, and that doesn’t make you any less of an MMA fan.
Even amongst fighters that have the same style such as the overused ‘striker’, there is great diversity. UFC on FOX 8 featured two back and forth brawls, yet they were both entirely different fights. Between Ed Herman and Trevor Smith you had constant back and forth punching, with both men landing more than a few blows that looked capable of ending the fight. While it featured a wild reckless style that saw plenty of power punches landing, there was very little in the way of defense from either fighter.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga squared off in the night’s main event in a more technically sound bout, but one that turned off some fans. Johnson and Moraga displayed great footwork and, and Johnson was also able to display great combinations. It didn’t have the drunken bar fight feel to it, but it did remind one of a great technical boxing match. Not every fighter has one punch knockout power, but that does not mean that they possess any less skill.
The point is that no matter what you are looking for you can find it in MMA. Not every fight is going to be a Griffin v. Bonnar, nor is every fight going to be Mir v. Cro Cop. The strength of MMA, and the reason we tune in even when an opponent seems hopelessly outmatched, is that anything can happen. Each of the disciplines of martial arts has their own competitions that only allow combat in their discipline. It may sound redundant to say that mixed martial arts brings all the disciplines together, but with the rainbow of options available to a fighter in an MMA match as opposed to in a Jiu Jitsu match is the best thing about MMA.
We are MMA fans because we like the variety, and because we like what types of fights all the disciplines at once produce. One of the most enjoyable things about MMA is sitting down with a group of friends who all appreciate different facets of the sport. We all love the knockout, but some can appreciate high level Jiu Jitsu when they see it. Some of us may come from a boxing background, and can appreciate great footwork and combos. The point is, whatever you enjoy chances are it will be there for your viewing pleasure at one point or another during the night, or even within one fight.
Appreciate whatever aspects of the sport you like, and boo for whatever you don’t like. Not only are you allowed to like or dislike whatever you want, you strengthen the sport by voicing your opinion. The diversity of MMA attracts all kinds of fans, and our common love for martial arts is what bonds us. Whether you are talking about the United States or your stock portfolio, diversity equals strength. Keep that in mind when someone tries to tell you that fight was not for you, or you are not a fan if you did not enjoy it. If you like any facet of martial arts, this fight is for you.