** This was originally published on Fisttacuff.com but they’ve since changed over to exclusively an internet radio show site. So, I’m archiving it here.

‘MMAinstream’ by Spilled Bag of Ice
April 19, 2010

Between Anderson Silva’s bizarre performance at UFC 112 and the StrikeForce Nashville post-fight brawl in the cage, there seems to be a lot of chatter in the MMA world about what this means for MMA and how “The Mainstream” perceives it. Allow your old amigo SBoI to put things in perspective for you.
There may’ve been a time, and granted -not too long ago, when the average person would have no idea what you meant by “Mixed Martial Arts”. You’d have to say “ultimate fighting” or “cage fighting” to get a spark of recognition and that was usually accompanied by an involuntary recoiling of disgust and horror. You had to work to convince them that these were skilled, disciplined athletes when the image in their mind was of a prison yard or biker bar fight. “Human Cockfighting” is what they thought.

While those days where only a few years ago and are still fresh in the minds of all but the most recent MMA fan, those days are very much gone. The only way someone still sees MMA with that outdated and warped perception when modern MMA is everywhere is through prejudiced, willful ignorance. People who think MMA is some lesser, unrefined offshoot of boxing or people who are repulsed by all combat sports are a lost cause and there’s no point pandering to them. At all.

“But what about regulation & legalization? What about network TV!?” you may shriek. Whoa. Slow down there, Spaz. MMA being regulated and legal pretty much everywhere is virtually an inevitability. We’re in a horrible recession. Those that refuse to see MMA as a reasonably safe and completely legitimate sport despite the fact that it clearly is, are essentially throwing away a lot of potential revenue from a sport that is growing in leaps and bounds despite the bad economy. Network TV, already dipping its toe in MMA, will jump in as soon as they can figure out how to either make a deal with the UFC or compete with the UFC.

The day isn’t coming, it’s here. MMA IS mainstream. It’s not the NFL, NBA or MLB yet but good! Do we really want to rush headlong towards a sport that’s that mainstream? One of the main reasons I love MMA is because it’s a sport of individual against individual. It’s pretty much as pure as a sport can be. Personally, I don’t get why anyone would root for a team because “they’re from where I’m from”. Really? That’s enough to get you involved?
Look, you can think that Anderson Silva is a total douchebag for his showboating, clowning and whatever that was he was doing in the last two rounds. And you can think the Diaz Bros breaking out a 209 beatdown in the StrikeForce Cage was a disgrace to the sport but do we really want MMA to be so safe and strict that these things never happen? Do we really want to have good sportsmanship contractually mandated? I like that the president of the UFC will tell people to go fuck themselves on Twitter. I like that the StrikeForce Welterweight champ is both a Gracie BJJ black belt and a great boxer who can throw jabs non-stop for five rounds, and at the same time, a dude who will answer every other question with “That’s whatever” or “I ain’t no bitch” and put up videos of him playing with nunchucks while the sounds of bong hits can be heard in the background on YouTube. Dichotomy is one word that comes to mind. Awesome is another. Granted there should be a line… but that line should be closer to Krazy Horse Bennett (though definitely BEFORE Krazy Horse) than to Georges St. Pierre. Even GSP, MMA’s own Michael Jordan, a squeaky clean role model, acknowledges that the trash talking bad boys are entertaining and keep things interesting.
So, let’s argue about whether Anderson Silva is too disrespectful to his opponents, whether Nick Diaz’s talent trumps his uncontrollability, whether Dana White should say fuck less or more, whether Kurt Pellegrino is too… BLONDE! But for fuck’s sake, let’s not act like MMA is hanging by a thread or that it’s not already mainstream. The REALLY mainstream media are going to trump up bullshit stories about whether MMA is still human cockfighting or a legitimate sport. This crap sells to clueless people’s curiosity as to what this “Ultimate Fighting” thing is all about but really at this point it’s a non-story. We know. Anyone with half a brain knows. Don’t believe the hype that there’s some big controversy. Only the most clueless still see MMA as the no-rules bloodsport of yore. They are like stories about whether tattoos and motorcycles are going to ruin society. Come on now. Do we need to get worked up and bend over backwards to prove our respectability to this so-called “mainstream”? Fuck them. This is ours and they’re welcome in but don’t come into our house and tell us we’re barbarians. MMA: love it or leave it. It’s doing just fine without your acceptance. We ain’t no bitches.

PS for the record:
– Anderson IS too disrespectful to his opponents but fuck, he’s ANDERSON SILVA! He does what he wants!
– Nick Diaz’s talent does trump the fact that he’s a loose cannon. Sorry.
– Really, Dana White says “fuck” the perfect amount. There’s a reason why he’s so successful.
– Kurt is a little too blonde these days. But Batman’s cool with me.

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