There was a time in my life when I idolized Randy Savage, Arn Anderson and The Undertaker. Watching WCW and WWF with my little brother and my father is one of the greatest memories I have from my youth. I enjoyed the spectacle and the athleticism. These men represented the kind of man every shrimpy awkward preteen boy like myself wanted to be. Bigger than life, hyper masculine machines that struck fear into every man and broke the hearts of pretty women everywhere. I would spend the hours after watching The Macho Man in the mirror flexing and repeating “OOOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH”. I liked to tell myself that if someone bothered me at school, I’d take what I saw watching pro wrestling and destroy them. In my imagination, bullies got an elbow drop from the top of the lunch room table and all the pretty girls watching where in awe of my strength, skill and abilities.
But as I got older things changed, I stopped believing the stories. The same spectacle that once amazed me and held my attention started to annoy me. I wanted something more honest and Mixed Martial Arts fit perfectly. No made up stories and no over blown artificial personalities. Or so I thought. As you can see, I understand how someone might find their way from professional wrestling to MMA. Mixed Martial Arts probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for crossover fans. But what I don’t understand are SOME crossover fans insistence on making MMA more like prowrestling. The continuous talk of fighters “becoming heels” or “cutting promos” was always confusing to me. I know MMA has roots in prowrestling, but they’ve since gone separate ways. These days, they are 2 distinct and very different sports…and thats ok.
One of the things that makes MMA so great is its honesty, I feel like the sport is great enough to sell itself. Whats more exciting that watching 2 skilled, well conditioned athletes leaving everything they have in a cage? MMA is filled with amazing athletes with amazing stories. They shouldn’t need to invent personalities and stories to sell their craft. It’s up to fans to stop expecting fighters to do things other than fight.