It isn’t often that those of us who love mixed martial arts get to feel morally superior to fans of other sports. At this point in history, your average MMA fan has to admit that, in the eyes of a great number of people, his or her favorite sport is still seen as only slightly more humane than dogfighting. That’s just the way it is. Things are getting better, but we still often have to cede the moral high ground and wait for people to catch up. Yes, the world is flat; yes, the sun revolves around the moon.
And yet …
Every once in a while one of the other major American sports fumbles the ball so badly—for instance, when reports about concussions, and reports about the cover-ups of those reports, in football get published; or when NBA fans burn down their cities after a playoff victory—that we MMA types (we lovers of the brutal and the bloody and the gladiatorial and the barbaric) can sit back and laugh and wonder, rightly, how other people can follow such brutish and artless sports.
Take this past Saturday in Vancouver, when a massive brawl broke out between the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks just two seconds into their game. Two seconds. The puck had barely his the ice before both teams forgot that they were professional hockey players and not professional fighters, dropped their gloves, grabbed some scruffs, and had at each other. All 10 guys on the ice. Apparently Canucks coach John Tortorella saw before the game that Flames coach Bob Hartley has chosen for his starting lineup not five guys who can, you know, play hockey, but five guys who are really good at punching people while standing on ice, and responded by putting is his own gang of thugs. The result was a rarely seen, old-school line brawl. All in all, the players involved accrued 152 penalty minutes for the melee.
If you know anyone who still doubts there's a difference between MMA and brawling, who doubts that fighting can be an art form and that fighters can be great athletes, just show them a good MMA fight (say, Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin or Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung or Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson … we could go on and on and on …) and then show them the nonsense in the video below. Honestly, now that MMA is a viable sports option, we can’t understand why hockey fans put up with players fighting anymore. Here you are spending your hard-earned money to watch the best hockey players in the world play hockey, and what you get instead is a bunch of lousy fighters fighting. On ice. Would you pay to watch football players paint or baseball players give financial advice?
I guarantee you a hockey game has never broken out in the middle of an MMA fight.
The “game”/”fight” starts at 1:20.
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