Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mixed Martial Arts: a Symptom of America's Decline

by J.S. Holland

There's a cancer on our society, and it's growing.

No, I don't mean artificial sweeteners or reality shows, though they do promote brainlessness and societal decay. I mean that mutant "sport" that's sweeping the nation, Mixed Martial Arts.

I first became aware of the creeping MMA infection a few years ago, when I got the all-channels cable TV package. After a few days of channel-surfing, I gradually became aware that boxing matches were harder to find than they used to be, and even wrestling now seemed to have a diminished role, both of them being eclipsed by this ultra-violent MMA crap.

It was humorous at first. I remember the first time I inadvertently tuned into a PRIDE match. I saw two barefoot men performing a warped and weak sort of bastardized kickboxing that seemed, like Calvinball, a mishmash of various disciplines randomly stitched together. At random intervals, the kickboxing would abruptly turn into a no-holds-barred wrestling match, but more often than not, it ended up with some sort of porn-star headlock between legs, with one guy's face buried squarely in the other guy's package.

"This must be some sort of joke," I thought. Sadly, it wasn't. This poor man's bathhouse floorshow is what passes for serious fight-sports nowadays. (And paradoxically enough, in my experience, it seems many of the people most drawn towards MMA are often the types who are the most aggressively homophobic.)

For a boxing enthusiast such as myself, the growing MMA-ization of everything is pretty frustrating. I went to Borders to look for boxing magazines and couldn't find a single one. Even wrestling magazines were few and far between. But there were no less than sixteen periodicals devoted to this MMA goofiness.

Even Butterbean, who used to be one of my favorite boxers, took off his shoes and joined the dark side a few years back.

I put boxing above all sports because of its inherently superior mythic resonance - which is sorely lacking in sillier sports that involve chasing after a ball like little puppies fetching a squeaky-toy.

It's always a great comeback, too, when some drunk at a bar gives you the condescending "whut's a-matter witchoo, boy, why don'tchoo lak the Cats?" or some such banter. There's no more gratifying response than to return their condescension and coldly reply that childish games of mere "ball" is for wussies and girly-men, and that you prefer the manly pasttime of watching two guys beat the holy hell out of each other.

And, of course, most importantly: betting on the winner. Now that's American.

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