“There are basically two lenses through which I enjoy mixed martial arts. Truthfully, there are a myriad of reasons why I love this sport, general and specific, but nearly all of them fall under one of two overarching categories. First is the strange, bizarre storylines that materialize in this sport. Unlike the mainstream stick-and-ball sports, MMA still exists somewhat on the fringes of society, which leads to fascinating and hilarious things happening that are broadly endemic to the fight game. Think Anderson Silva’s blue vial defense hearing, Nate Diaz’ post-fight vaping or roughly 80 percent of all heavyweight fights. MMA boasts a brand of ridiculous that is idiosyncratically MMA, and it’s easy to love.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the superhuman performances, the in-cage violence that somehow feels edifying and virtuous. These things exist in their own ways in every sport, but in combat sports there is something all the more visceral and compelling and, dare I say, even heroic about them. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is founded on this type of performance; the legendary yet true tale of a scrawny Brazilian guy mysteriously making men twice his size quit by doing funky things with his limbs and theirs is hard to replicate elsewhere in the world of professional athletics.
The UFC 204 main event between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson on Saturday in Manchester, England, was the rare fight that existed in the crosshairs between both of these worlds…”