By Kevin Glancy (Australia)
As a big fan of America’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), it never ceases to amaze me how two fighters can typically, exchange trash talk before the fight and then go head to head in a fight for survival inside the octagon. They will kick, punch and wrestle each other into submission and whether at the end of each round or at the end of the fight they will shake hands and even hug.
The Diaz brothers Nick and Nate are brilliant exponents of the sport and also keen proponents of pre-fight trash talk. They will even indulge in sledging during the fight but when it’s all over they will go straight to their opponent and show respect, acknowledgement and mate-ship.
Here is a sport which maximizes close, physical contact and it can be brutal. Very occasionally, bones are broken but there is blood and sometimes plenty of it. Yet, no one loses their temper and when it’s all over, there is very rarely a hint of any held over animosity between the opponents.
It’s a marvelous example of sportsmanship that should be witnessed by everyone involved at all levels of sport. Bearing in mind that we’re talking about those non-contact sports where often sportsmanship is sadly lacking. Sports like soccer, cricket, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf and so on, in which it’s not uncommon to witness tantrums and where punches can be exchanged.
It’s unfair to flinch at the very mention of ‘cage fighting’ because what takes place in the octagon is an art form. At its heart is Muay Thai and wrestling, but it combines all forms of martial arts and is referred to as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The artistry might not be immediately noticeable to the untrained eye but stick with it and you’ll soon learn to appreciate the moves.
Look out for champions like Jon Jones and Anderson Silva amongst many others and you will be hooked by the sheer artistry of UFC.
Australia is not without its star UFC performers and names like; George Sotiropoulos, James Te Huna, Gustavo Falciroli, Kyle Noke, Adrian Pang, Dylan Andrews and heavyweight Soa Palelei are all names to watch.
If you’ve not witnessed UFC then I would strongly recommend giving it a look. You can catch all the action on Foxtel via Fuel and FX channels. For a snapshot of the sport I would suggest that you checkout the hour long compilation, UFC Unleashed on FX at 6.30pm most week nights.
UFC commentary by Joe Rogan and Mike Goldman is excellent. Mike is a professional all-round, sports commentator and has been with UFC since 1997. Joe, on the other hand, is a highly experienced and successful martial artist so his comments are often very educational and always informed.
Incidentally, Joe Rogan is also a movie- actor and a stand-up comedian. Many in Australia would remember his role in the Fear Factor.
It’s no wonder that UFC is the fastest growing sport in the world. It is to the credit of all the fighters and the President of the UFC, Dan White and his team that such discipline and sportsmanship is exercised in a sport that it is always on the edge yet, never fails to provide an extreme lesson in sportsmanship.