Tuesday, February 8, 2011

UFC: It's Actually Real

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has had phenomenal success since it's first match in 1993. Especially by attaining deals with cable networks and as pay per view, UFC has become of the most exciting and watched sports of the modern era. The scariest part about UFC, aside from the arm bars, the crazy knee kicks to face, and the gore and blood that ensues, is that it is continuing to surge in popularity.

Just recently, UFC set a record for viewership in prelim fights (which is a record itself had actually owned previously) according to the Examiner. http://www.examiner.com/mma-in-las-vegas/ufc-sets-record-for-prelims-on-spike-tv

What is so fascinating about UFC that it is continuing to captivate viewers around the world, especially despite the fact that most of its broadcasts come at the extra cost of pay per view? This is because UFC is so drastically different and realistic from any other combat sports we have seen so far. Most fighters who compete in UFC are mixed martial artists whose backgrounds in martial arts is not limited to one area (like traditional matched of judo or boxing), but a mixture of strangely named sports like Brazilian jiu jitsu, muay thai, and Greco-Roman wrestling.

UFC's goal from the beginning was to broadcast shows that would exhibit which martial arts would be the most effective in a real fight. So unlike WWE/WWF, this would be real world, nitty gritty stuff. Something about violence is fascinating to people, therefore we submerge ourselves in slasher flicks or play violent video games. With UFC, viewers are even more engrossed in this world of violence because it is actually real (in some ways like our fascination with other violent sports like football). Professional boxing was probably one of the closest martial arts to come to the level of popularity and attention that UFC is currently having.

Watch it for yourself

Whenever I watch UFC fights, I always instinctively cringe and shout out, "Ooooohhhh, that musta hurt." Then I continue to submerge myself in the blood and the brutal fighting that ensues. Something about it is mesmerizing and captivating. Best of all, it's so... real.


  1. While I don't doubt that some find UFC entertaining, I'm not exactly sure why its "reality" is so important to people. Especially because when it is "faked" in UFC (and it would be naive to think that MMA is 100% honest), it is usually for a more insidious reason (to throw a bet) than in pro wrestling (for entertainment and compelling storylines).

    Perhaps watching UFC has more to do with a prurient interest in seeing harm, sort of like being a spectator at a car crash. We're curious because we want to see what injury looks like. But outside of that, the type of enjoyment one has from watching a bout is the same type that one gets from MMA's less prestigious father, pro wrestling, except in wrestling, there's more conscious effort put into articulating a struggle and the characters who partake therein (termed "promoting a fight" in both genres). In any case, we'll talk more about the subject of real vs. fake in staged fights later this semester.

  2. I think UFC is a great progression from boxing which ruled pay per view in the past. its fast paced and the fight can swing in either direction at a moments notice. But one fascinating thing about UFC is that, although it is much more gritty and violent, it is actually safer than boxing. These UFC fights can last from 30 seconds to 6 minutes which is much shorter than a boxing match. boxers take punch after punch to the head which leads to serious brain damage. UFC fighters can usually only withstand several head shots before they are down for the count. I think this leads to a much more entertaining match to watch since the UFC fighters know they have to be on guard at all times or else they are gonna end up on sportscenter since they got knocked out 20 seconds into the first round. People have always been fascinated with violence and UFC is as close as they can get to the real deal.

  3. Violence is something that America as a whole seems to be enraptured with. This prolonged obsession with violence also means that the entertainment that we experience from violence much do it job effectively. To clarify I mean that the violence that we view must leave us satisfied which seems to be an increasingly difficult thing to do. Prolonged exposure to things tend to create or elevate the tolerance of the person. America as a whole seems to prove that right. The violence that UFC brought to the sport of fighting (as well as the Pay Per View inudstry)is also it's success. It is more contact and less padding than boxing for example. It also includes the novelty of new forms of combat rather than just wrestling (or boxing) and lacks all of the stage acting that comes with the WWE. I think the UFC filled an enthusiasm gap that had been created out of the people's discontent with the soap opera that is now WWE as well as the lack of mainstream celebrities (as was the norm for a while) in the sport of boxing.


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