(And when Cella was just lying there all comatose while everyone was fearing for his life? FUCKING. AWESOME.)
As MMA fans, it’s safe to say that we can appreciate a good knockout when we see one. The timing, the precision, the simultaneous grace and utter devastation — these are all factors we take into account when, say, deciding the greatest knockout of the year. But as we are continuously reminded in the aftermath of knockouts like the spinning back kick Uriah Hall hit Adam Cella with on TUF 17, the line between a brilliant knockout and a hard-to-watch knockout is a thin one. As amazing as these displays of technique are to witness, they can often leave a sour taste in one’s mouth when the victim appears to be seriously injured as a result.
So perhaps we’re in the minority here, but when Dana White recently attempted to hype the 19th season of TUF by promising fans “a f*cking scary knockout,” we were less than enthused (okay, sarcastically enthused) to say the least (via Fox Sports):
We had the fights to get into the house yesterday on The Ultimate Fighter, probably the nastiest f-king knockout. It beats Uriah Hall knockout. Was Uriah Hall not one of the sickest knockouts you’ve ever seen? This one beats it. Picture how f-king scary this knockout is.
On one hand, this could just be another instance of White attempting to stir up some buzz for a season of TUF that he knows no one is interested in. On the other, should we even be excited by this news?
Rewatch the video of Hall’s KO, or Matt Riddle’s KO of Dan Simmler, for that matter, and ask yourself: Should this really be a selling point for our sport? It’s kind of contradictory to declare that our sport is so much safer than boxing one day — which, it barely is — and then promote this kind of uber-violence the next. While there are surely some MMA fans out there who follow the sport to satiate their own sadism, not everyone of us adopts a “Just Bleed” guy mentality towards fighters. Likewise, the UFC should be past the point where it needs to hype the brutality of the sport in order to get people interested.
But who knows, maybe ol’ DW is simply speaking in hyperbole again. Or maybe TUF 19 will feature a KO that leaves a fighter in a coma for a week. No matter the case, “scary” should probably be on the short list of words *not* to use when describing a knockout in a positive manner. That is, if you’re ever hoping to convert the Tim Rothfield’s of the world to our fine sport.