Hawaii’s own and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion BJ ‘The Prodigy’ Penn emerged triumphant with a third round victory due to strikes over Sean Sherk. In other action, Lyoto Machida maintained his perfect record against Tito Ortiz in what was possibly Ortiz’s last UFC fight and Wanderlei Silva destroyed Keith Jardine with a knockout in under a minute of the first round.
I thought the card was pretty sick. It kicked off a summer of amazing MMA contests. This is truly an exciting time for the sport, the fighters, and the fans. The sport has the potential to unite people from around the world because it is like a constant Olympics and world sport. There are a seemingly endless amount of fighting arts that showcases countries and cultures. Ill Will had participants from North America (US), South America(Brasil), Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia(Japan), the Pacific(Hawaii).
Next up, the May 31 EliteXC card, which is huge, as CBS is the first national network to broadcast an MMA event live. Don’t be an Uncle Dana and oppose EliteXC. EliteXC is giving more opportunities for fighters to make a living and develop. With the demise of Pride, fighters haven’t had anywhere else to really go save for WEC which the UFC also owns. This year saw the rise of many new promotions from Dream, World Victory Road, Affliction, HDNet Fights and some tremendous offerings from EliteXC, ICON Sports, and Strikeforce.
But why support fighting? At one level, yes it is pure violence. At another it’s just a spectacle, modern day gladiators. But stop and think about it. How many people can protect themselves because of Brazilian Jiujitsu and Thai Boxing? Did you know that both disciplines have a philosophical aspect that guides them? Most, if not all of them do. Yeah, you can use the arguments that there’s choke(many) knuckleheads out there but that is the case in any type of system.
Go beyond the physicality of it and look at what we can learn about other cultures. In the promos, in the interviews, in everything we see or read about the fighters, you learn that they are more than just fighters, you get to see them as people. Many fighters do work for charities(Tito Ortiz, Roger Huerta), I’ve heard almost every fighter express a love for their communities and fans. Then you get to the end of the fight and 99% they shake hands, hug, all that. It is far more likely you’ll see a post match brawl in the NBA, NFL and so on.
My whole life I have heard talk about how we differ. This has the potential to break down that sociological Berlin Wall if you will. You see two equals(in weight, combined skills) in the ring battling it out and then coming together at the end.
Maybe I’m biased because I love the sport but I dunno, I think we can learn something here it doesn’t hurt to look at other ways the sport brings people together.
Until the next time…