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MMA





Sports at La CoffeeMelodie Suite - The Coffee Corner



MMA. Need I say more? Well, of course. That would be the shortest journalistic endeavor ever. Still, there's no doubt those three letters conjure up vivid and emotional images for whomever has witnessed mixed martial arts.



I find myself intrigued. On the one hand, the gladiator attitude displayed by its proponents is bloody, gruesome and vicious. Boxing is tepid compared to MMA. On the other hand, it is also a sport that has evolved rapidly into one in which technique and talent are paramount. It's not just two guys beating on each other. Not only that, with some notable exceptions, the fighters seem genuinely to respect each other.



I remember watching boxing matches where the fighters embraced following the final bell, and wondering "how could they do that?" I mean, they'd been pummeling the other guy for the past hour, then all of a sudden they're buddies - or, at the very least, friendly - again.



In MMA I also have that strange feeling, only magnified. These guys do virtually whatever they can to subdue their opponent, and once the bell rings their "animosity" evaporates.



Of course, these guys aren't fighting because of any animosity at all: they're staged, albeit quite real, events. And that's where my real fascination comes in: how can they try to all but destroy someone else? Do they dehumanize their opponents? To some extent, I even feel that they dehumanize themselves by viewing a fight as almost 100% technical, and thereby trying to keep all pain at bay.



But - and here's the interesting part- virtually every spectator is viewing the fight through very different- colored lenses. They feel every bone-jarring punch, every flesh-bruising kick, every earth-shattering slam, and are amazed at the strength, power and quickness that these athletes demonstrate. They see two people in the octagon beating the holy crap out of one another. A lot of them appreciate the technique, too, but to be a spectator of any fighting sport is, on some level, to experience it on the level of physical pain.



Ultimately, I find the dichotomy of the incredible technique demonstrated by these fighters and the virtual bloodlust of the crowd both puzzling and compelling.








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