“Putting the Fight Back Into America”
With the growing influence of Mixed Martial Arts in the mainstream media, one has to ask the question; “How will this change the future of America?”. There is evidence all around us that the sport is involved in nearly every aspect of our lives. From magazine covers featuring GSP’s secret to a better physique, to Chuck Liddell “Dancing With the Stars”, the tidal wave of MMA is saturating our minds.
Is it simply a fascination with these modern day gladiators? Or could it be that the media machine behind the UFC, and other organizations, has finally done its job of reinventing their tarnished reputation as a “blood sport” for Neanderthals watching in trailer parks. It’s safe to say that there is a more diverse group of fans attending events, purchasing pay-per-view in droves, and watching the variety of inspired shows on nearly all the major networks. Yet, there are still those who would say that it is just a sign of the continued moral decline of society.
The truth is that they are all tuning in to be inspired. Baring witness to the birth of a new generation of athlete. Choosing a sport that embodies the highest level of professionalism, in a day when most other traditional athletes seem less than worthy of accolade. Watching champions pummel, kick, elbow and submit their opponents in front of crowds of thousands. There is no doubt that even the old guard of boxing and wrestling are trying to figure out just how to combat the growing popularity of MMA, but what they can’t make up for with theatrics, and hype, is the excitement of this unique sport. Even professional football is having its ranks thinned by players leaving their teams to try their hand in the cage. Still not convinced? Just go to your local dojo, or boxing club, and ask if they have a mixed martial arts program. Better yet, ask if they have a children’s class. You may just be surprised.
Does this mean that 20 years from now everyone in the US is going to be beating the hell out of each other screaming like Tito Ortiz after a fight round slug fest? Or that baseball will no longer be America’s pastime? Not very likely. But it should be safe to assume that the more little boys who want to grow up to be like Randy Couture, or little girls like Gina Carino, the dynamic of social interaction will be altered greatly. Perhaps it will be the antidote to years of institutions stifling physical expression, for fear that little Johnny might grow up as nothing more than a school-yard bully.
It should be a generally accepted view that our country, especially our youth, has become a little soft around the midsection. Maybe this is the gut check that so many of us have been needing for the past 30 years, a chance to harden us up a bit. With the instability of the economy, and rising unemployment, most people need an outlet. They need to see that even when they are getting beat down by everything in their lives its possible to rise up and knock life back on its ass.
MMA is the future. But it’s also much more than that. It’s a chance to regain so many of the things that made us resilient in the past. A way for people to believe in hard work again, and believe that anything can be accomplished. So stay tuned, stay aware of the changing landscape. It’s a hard world out there, and for so many of us our love for this sport will be the motivation we need to believe that even in the late rounds you can still make a comeback.