A Fighter’s Mom Questions MMA Boundaries, Climbs Into the Cage

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

Something special happened in Ohio last weekend. At OFC 20: March Massacre II, an amateur match-up in Columbus left one fighter unconscious via rear-naked choke early in the first round, resulting in the rare knockout-by-submission. That should have been the weirdest thing to happen. But according to BluegrassMMA, it seems that the fallen fighter’s mother left her seat and climbed up the chain links and over the cage itself to tend to her son. Also, apparently, police escorted out the mother. The details are slim. Here's a video of the fight and its aftermath, though it obscures her summit: 

The instinct is probably to laugh and poke fun at a fighter who, besides suffering the indignity of losing quickly and for no money in what was very possibly his first fight, has to explain away his mom’s instinct to go a few steps beyond crying in her seat. But mothers are evolutionarily equipped to enable the survival of their kin. Scaling a cage might not have been the appropriate gesture, but the impulse behind it goes deep into the bloodstream of the species.

And really, why wasn’t it an appropriate gesture? Structures and spaces are just agreed-upon constructs, prescribing roles and behavior, who we are and what we should do. Should. Not can.

That’s why it’s noteworthy when someone acts upon those structures instead of tacitly accepting their mandates. Last year, when Claudinei Angelo decided not to finish his fight and instead opted to climb out of the cage, he announced a new role for himself outside the confines of acceptability, one that wasn’t bound by the rules of the ring or the crowd or the point in between. When Jason Miller snuck into the impromptu party that Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, and the Diaz brothers threw in the cage at Strikeforce: Nashville in 2010, the chaos that resulted was only natural: the inevitable collapse of order when a spectator questions why he isn’t an actor, in the existetential sense. And when Renzo Gracie punched out someone clinging to the cage as he fought Eugenio Tadeu in 1997, he erased the line dividing combatant and civilian and torched a powder keg on his way to the single greatest fight result of all time: “No Contest - Fans Rioted.”

Not that unsanctioned violence should be condoned, or that some of the consequences in place for violating protocol don’t have good reasons behind them. The point is that objects are just things—empty vessels for whatever we pour into them, not embodiments of rules themselves--and that soceital stricture can't always contain biolgical imperative And on a March evening in Columbus, Ohio, a cage fighter’s mom left her place in the crowd, hopped over a cage, and showed exactly that. 

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