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It’s Not Me, It’s You: A Breakup Letter To MMA

(“You had to give it to him: he had a plan. And it started to make sense, in a Tyler sort of way. No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.” – Narrator)

By: Jason Moles

Dear Mixed Martial Arts,

They say breaking up is hard to do…but they’re wrong. Please, don’t speak. Let me talk for once.

For the better part of eight years, I’ve lived and breathed you. At first, it was just a little crush, but a couple years later it matured into something more. I was truly, madly, deeply in love with you. Three years ago, I finally worked up the nerve to ask you out, and to my surprise, you said yes. In the beginning, you were all I could think about. You dominated my conversations with coworkers in the break room and were the reason for countless missed BBQs with my family. But not anymore. It’s the end of the road, ergo, time for me to fly.

Let me be real clear. It must’ve been love, but it’s over now.

It’s funny; life never goes the way we plan, never turns out how we expect. Never did I anticipate us falling apart like this. It’s almost as if the cosmos are playing games with our heart, letting us think but for a brief moment that we’re on the brink of reaching true happiness before we trip over the monkey wrench thrown our way. Speaking of heart, CagePotato Ban notwithstanding, (and rightfully so, I might add) one needs a lot of it if they’re to enjoy successful relationships in this life. One only need look as far as Jenna Jameson and Tito Ortiz (or Rampage and his diet) to realize the consequences of pursuing a relationship with anything less.

Every rose has its thorn (some more than others) and I’m tired of holding on.

This whole year has been an agonizing internal struggle for me. You’re driving me crazy and I hate it! I hate that I used to care so passionately about you, that I would pass up trips to the lake with family or a night out with friends because I wanted to spend time with you. And now? You’re irritating me to no end. You’re so dang needy. You didn’t know it, but I’ve been going behind your back trying to find friends to help move or neighbors who needed help painting so I’d conveniently not be available on Saturday nights. I need space; I can’t do this anymore.

You’re killing me softly, but it still hurts. And it’s not just me — our dawg Riddle doesn’t want anything to do with you, either.

Before I leave, though, I feel I owe you some answers. I lament that we used to be so close and now it seems like I barely know you. We’ve grown so far apart. You’ve changed, MMA. You’ve changed. I remember when you were happy only going out once or twice a month. Now you want me to give you all but two of my weekends this year (those dates aren’t cheap, ya know!) — not to mention our weeknight dinner dates on FS1 and Spike. You’re exhausting my free time, patience, and bank account.

For many of the same reasons as Brian Stann, I know it’s time for me to walk away. In an interview with the legendary Thomas Gerbasi for UFC 360, “All-American” had this to say:

“I’ve continually gotten to that high level of the sport, top 10, and I just had trouble breaking through that next-level barrier where I can challenge for a title shot. And the amount of time you spend preparing for a fight, it consumes you and it holds you back from all the other things in life that you may be doing.

I’ve always had a full-time job while I fought, and I tried to keep things in perspective. That was a conscious choice by me saying, ‘Hey, I know I could be better if I go all in,’ but I had already had two children at the time, and it was a risk I wasn’t willing to take as far as going all in as a fighter.

… I could never be as good as I can be at any one venture that I’m doing because I was doing so many.”

Our relationship forces me to endure an alarming deal of stress. The stress I put on myself to keep up with every Facebook post, every tweet, and every time someone mentioned you on the radio is the equivalent of taking a bath in pure cortisol. You could argue that you never expected or even asked me to do any of that, but I felt that I had to. Our friends came to me for opinions and analysis on all the things going on in your life. What kind of friend would I be if I skipped the prelims at 11am when you were in Japan?

I’ve gone as far as I could in this relationship with you. It’s my belief that I was a really good boyfriend, but it was never good enough. Never enough for you to ever love me in the way I loved you. Unrequited love is one of life’s most painful feelings, second only to getting hit in the pills by Cup Cheick. Maybe that’s what lead to my willingness to stop overlooking your faults and how miserable you made me feel.

In my vain attempt to please you and give you the time and attention you so desperately want of me, I’ve been missing out on things I used to have time for like occasionally picking up the video game controller, reading great books and watching Hollywood’s latest attempt to convince me that I can be or do anything if only I keep trying — things I used to make a priority in my life because of the joy I got from them, but have since gone by the wayside. I want to have a life outside of you. I need to reclaim my identity. This tainted love must come to an end.

I’m not saying we can’t maybe one day still be friends (as long as you understand that we are never, ever, ever, ever, getting back together) In fact, once both of our wounds have healed, I think I might like that — if only so it’s not awkward for our mutual friends. Given the number of people I’ve befriended over the past few years, it’s naive to think we won’t eventually run into each other at a Hooter’s or Dave & Buster’s or some other place flowing with wings and beer. Let’s not dump pitchers of Mickey’s on anyone’s new arm candy, okay?

Jason Moles used to write for Keep track of his current interests @TheJasonMoles

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