This afternoon I was having a lunch up at the local pub with Andrew after the photo shoot this morning. We walked in and the pub was packed with people and very quickly we realised there was some kind of pay-per-view hyper-masculine sporting event on because there were extra tv’s set up in the pub.
It turns out it was an MMA fight featuring Conor McGregor (pictures from this year’s ESPN body issue). As you might expect the pub was full of mostly straight men all glued to the event, very invested in the outcome. I’ve never understood the appeal of boxing as a sport and that comes with padded cloves. The appeal of Mixed Martial Arts is even more elusive to me. McGregor’s opponent, despite being a clear contender in the close final result, was covered in his own blood at the end of the fight.
What is it about straight men that a sport where to men kick, punch and wrestle each other to the point of considerable injury, is something they get passionate about? We were watching completely mystified in the appeal of the sport. Sure they are supremely fit and tough as hell but why do we celebrate that kind of violence? Andrew and I kept thinking when they were up against the side of the arena grappling that it looked more like they were stopping for a quick tender hug before having a bit more of a fight. Of course if we’d mentioned that to any of the crowd in the pub we’d have been thrown out, possibly as bloodied as the loser of the match.
Sorry, but it’s just senseless.