Nothing against Forrest Griffin here. He seems like a genuinely good guy and hard-working fighter. But he is 29 years old. He held the UFC light heavyweight title for about five minutes. Why would I want to read his book Got Fight? at this particular point in time? Its clichéd title notwithstanding (how long did it take to think of that, about eight seconds?), I’m not sure I see the appeal.
Maybe this is just a pet peeve of mine, but I hate when fairly young people without an especially amazing story to tell put a book out. At least Tori Spelling was in her mid-thirties when she released sTori Telling. I realize the rules are a little different in this field, so let me go ahead and list what I see as the five scenarios under which you may release a book if you’re a pro fighter. Hopefully this will clear up some confusion.
1) You’re a Legend of the Sport
Randy Couture? Yeah, he gets to put a book out. He’s old enough and has been in the sport long enough to have some interesting insights. Chuck Liddell? It’s a little bit of a stretch, but sure. Tito Ortiz? Okay, I guess. But guys who are still in the middle of their careers, why? Wouldn’t we rather wait and get your perspective once it’s all over, or at least close to over?
2) You’re a Specialist
Instructional books are a different animal. If you have a special, nuanced understanding of some technical aspect of the game that others don’t, by all means share it. B.J. Penn’s The Book of Knowledge falls into this category, and even Eddie Bravo’s Mastering the Rubber Guard. Last time I checked though, Forrest Griffin wasn’t known for being especially good at any one thing. More like pretty good at a lot of different things, and willing to try harder than everyone else at them. Not exactly the kind of thing you can impart in an instructional book.
3) You Have a Unique Life Story
If you were raised by wolves or sprang fully-grown from your father’s skull, okay, tell us all about it. If you’re Jens Pulver and just happened to have a horrifying childhood, that’s interesting as well. Plus it might be therapeutic for you to get it out. Or it might just be really painful. Either way, I’ll read that.
4) You Wrote It Yourself
I’m willing to toss all these rules out the window if a fighter actually sat down and pounded out the entire book on his own. Griffin teamed up with Erich Krauss, who’s written a bunch of fighting-related books, so that’s not the case here. But if we could really believe it was his prose style at work, his unfiltered observations, that might be worth picking up in a Barnes & Noble, just to see. The fighter I’d most like to see pull this one off is, without a doubt, Josh Barnett.
5) It’s a Book of Poems
I refer here specifically to Wanderlei Silva’s forthcoming work, Sunset Is Make Heart to Break. I’ve seen an advance copy, and honestly, it’s a beautiful work from a beautiful soul.