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Tag: Detroit Free Press

MMA and the Hardcore Fringe of American Culture


(My inner child, consumed with rage.)

One of the things I like to do in my spare time is read the internet and get mad. I honestly love it, to the point where it’s a shockingly poor use of my time. But I can’t deny that there’s a pleasure in indulging in the viewpoints of others that drive me absolutely insane, sometimes more so than reading opinions that I already agree with. I stumbled on to a gem yesterday by Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press, who managed to say almost nothing that I agreed with in a relatively short article about why MMA “won’t catch on to the mainstream.”

Here’s one of my favorite lines of reasoning from Samuelsen, who explains that while people tell him MMA is increasing in popularity, he doesn’t see it happening:

I don’t see the roots of the MMA. I don’t see it inherently in our culture. It’s a fascination, but it’s certainly not a participation sport. “Yeah, I do a little cage-fighting in my spare time. Let’s go see how the big boys do it.” I went to a UFC event at the Joe in 1996 when the sport was really picking up steam and was supposed to be the next big thing. Twelve years later, the sport has certainly grown. But has it grown to the extent that it was supposed to have. Yes it’s bigger, but I don’t think it’s that much bigger.

I bring this up not to bash Samuelsen’s viewpoint, but because it’s a fairly new criticism of MMA. We’re used to the human cockfighting angle, but this — this claim that it’s not rooted in our culture and not “a participation sport” — is something different, and something worth responding to.

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