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Levesque column: MMA is here to stay

Posted: September 6, 2012 - 10:40pm

With the meteoric rise, seemingly at the same rate as Bieber Fever, in popularity, mixed martial arts is rapidly becoming a staple in American homes. Numerous studies have shown that MMA is winning over the coveted and competitive 18- to 35-year-old male demographic in the United States. All this is pointing to one inevitability — mixed martial arts is here to stay. So what does that mean for me?

Currently, there are two major schools of thought regarding MMA. And, like reading a multiple-choice question only to know the answer before finishing it, I’m sure the two prevailing opinions are easy to formulate.

On one hand, there’s the opinion that MMA is a barbaric, no-holds-barred death match. This viewpoint holds to a belief that the sport relies, solely, on a primitive, even a coliseumlike, environment to attract fans and fighters alike. While I understand the basic underlying concern, unlike the days of unsanctioned, bare-knuckled cage fights, the world of mixed martial arts has undergone a serious mainstream transformation.

On the opposite end of the MMA spectrum, there are those who affectionately dub themselves the hard-core fans. Although the definition is probably as ambiguous as the beloved Saturday Night Live character “It’s Pat,” the basic premise behind their view of MMA is the same — more, more and more. And here, on this side of the fence, is where I graze.

I’ve been an avid observer and supporter of mixed martial arts for over 12 years now. In that time, as the sport has evolved, the fan in me has evolved as well. Whether training, albeit briefly, in Brazilian jujitsu at Redemption BJJ (a local Kenai Peninsula gym), discussing MMA on a weekly iTunes podcast called “The Undercard” or writing about the sport, I believe there are two distinctive reasons MMA will continue to grow in popularity. Both distinctive characteristics fall under the same banner — entertainment.

MMA is nothing if not exciting and dynamic. Where else can one find 15 or 25 minutes (depending on the bout) of continuous, nonstop action? Where one mistake or, if you’re the inherent winner, one calculated finish could end the match. It’s the excitement which markets the sport of mixed martial arts so well to the 18 through 35 male demographic.

Finally, it’s the thrill of the unknown that entices and captivates the MMA viewer. In sports such as football, basketball or baseball, we call it parity. In mixed martial arts, it’s reality.

Similar to a suspenseful horror movie, where we clearly know what the result of hiding in a closet will be, MMA viewers are consistently on the edge of their seat awaiting every moment of a bout. The underlying tension creates both meaning and investment between the viewer and the sport.      

Unlike the brevity of such acts as Milli Vanilli, Vanilla Ice, Chumbawamba and the guys that brought us “Who Let the Dogs Out?” mixed martial arts will survive and thrive well past the time frame of the above-mentioned one-hit wonders. Which brings me back to the original question, what does this mean for me? In short, this sport is here to stay and I believe it’s time to start embracing it.

 

Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.

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Isaac
8
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Isaac 09/07/12 - 01:43 pm
2
0
Small Towns

I agree that Mixed Martial Arts is becoming widely accepted by the public as a sport, however, smaller demographics suffer from what we call "Beer Brawler Syndrome". The "fighters" are untrained and fight for beer money or as a way to handle "Beef" with one another. In these small communities where fighters make $50 to fight then have an encore at the local bars Mixed Martial Arts is "Cage Fighting to The Death". Small communities associate fights with drugs, violence, drunks, and miss what the sport is about. Honor, Respect, and personal challenge. I believe in small towns like ours it will take time before fighters can be called athletes and our community accepts us as a sport. As a whole we have embraced MMA as a ligament sport but in small communities it is our roots/past that haunts us. Love the article Mr. Scott! Keep it up and make a change!

P.S. Get back on the mats!

alnashua1
5
Points
alnashua1 09/07/12 - 02:08 pm
2
0
Great article

Great article

G-man
5
Points
G-man 09/07/12 - 02:27 pm
1
0
Great article man

Great article man

Matt
3
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Matt 09/07/12 - 11:12 pm
1
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Love your style!

Looking forward to seeing you blossom Scott. I should be able to get your jokes better when read them versus in a quick fire conversation. Have fun and know that we support you all the way!

freedomlibertytruth
1398
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freedomlibertytruth 09/11/12 - 12:40 pm
1
0
the sissification of the American Male

MMA and it's popularity is one result of the PC anti-male sissification (you know I can't use the real word) of our men. It is the only bastion left for the celebration of testosterone, strength, and courage of youthful healthy males.

TheKenaiKid
126
Points
TheKenaiKid 09/12/12 - 07:42 am
1
0
IM VERY EXCIDED!!

AWESOME! IM so PUMPED to heer theres this New Newspaper colum about MMA!!! Im glad this will be done every week to because this is TRULY a SPORT we need to be paying more closer attention to and theres NO WAAY a newspaper story thats done every week should be done for things like whats going on in schools or politics or crime or any other thing stuckup people would probably like reading about more. NOT ME! I love MMA and I wish the CLARION would step up it's game and make whole paper about MMA!!!! (THE BEST SPORT IN THE WORRLD)

Also, maybe you could put in some more articles on how to give your kids better Mohawks and whats the best kind of Pepsi to feed them. NEVER TAP OUT!!!

trauMMA
8
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trauMMA 10/01/12 - 10:40 am
0
0
Great article! Fighter/fan

Great article! Fighter/fan here and I'm glad to be part of this rising sport.

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