The moral, ethical bankruptcy that is the UFC – a psychosocial deconstruction of the UFC 232 Pre-Fight Press Conference (and predictions for Jones-Gustaffson 2|Cyborg-Nunes)

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[Published hours before UFC 232]

First off, as a test of mind against the chaos machine that is life, I’ve decided to use my personal blog occasionally to test my crystal ball skills.

I’ve done this before when I predicted, in May 2016, that Donald Trump would be elected president, further giving 9 scary reasons why. So I have a crystal ball fight record of 1-0, aiming to make it 3-0 in one night. (Though the Trump prediction was so bold and big at the time that I feel like I deserve to have a 2-0 record. But whatever.)

This time around, instead of politics, I’ve decided to go with another sociological obsession of mine – mixed martial arts, or MMA for short. And I’m predicting seriously against the odds. So if MMA’s not even marginally your thing, you might not be interested in this piece. But who knows? Maybe something about it will tickle your fancy.

Regardless, you do you.

Getting back to it…For the layperson, MMA is a combat sport – usually taking place in a cage but occasionally in a ring – that incorporates stand-up striking with punches, kicks, elbows and knees, as well as grappling, both offensive and defensive, on the ground and against the cage, with strikes incorporated whenever possible. MMA is essentially as close to a school yard brawl as you can get with rules and settings that favor bigger, stronger fighters (though, I do believe volume striking with great defensive grappling and a gas tank that can go on for ages is the future of MMA, which, with even a slight tweak in the rules can even the playing field between weight classes).

The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC for short, is synonymous with the sport, not because it isn’t a reprehensible organization run by a reprehensible individual, but because it has the largest brand-name value in the current wild, wild west first few decades of the sport.

And yes, despite the fact that it’s a morally, ethically bankrupt organization (more on that in a subsequent point), I’m drawn to the sport like a moth to a flame and thus to whatever matchups I can access via shady Reddit stream links replete with NSFW ads.

UFC 232 takes place tonight (December 29th, 2018). In the main event, the sociopathic maniac who leaves his entire soul in the cage leaving an empty shell to walk the rest of his time on earth, Jon “Bones” Jones, takes on a rangy Swede, Alexander Gustaffson, going by the rather to-the-point nickname “Mauler” – for the UFC Light Heavyweight World Championship. Jon Jones is undefeated, considered by many to be one of the greatest fighters ever, and a heavy betting favorite at somewhere around -300 in the latest odds. In the co-main event, for the women’s 145lb featherweight world title, 135lb pound bantamweight champion, Amanda “Lioness” Nunes (one of my personal favorites, and also the first openly queer MMA world champion – completely under promoted by the misogynistic and racist Dana White in my honest and admittedly sharp opinion) goes up a weight class to take on Cris Cyborg, an absolute beast of a champion at 145lb, whom many consider to be the greatest female fighter ever. Cyborg is almost as much of a favorite as Jones is at -260 betting odds.

I predict that both Gustaffson and Nunes will win tonight. They will both be very, very close fights, likely great fights, and will both be won by the underdogs.

I’m laying my undefeated prediction record on the line for two predictions that both run against the betting odds (for the uninformed, heavier negative odds means a heavier favorite. Any fighter at -200 or lesser is considered a heavy favorite.)

I am of course, just having fun here and am more than happy to take the 1-2 record to my crystal ball bouts. But I’m just making some points for predicting against the odds; points that I’m straight pulling out of my ass.

I’m going by the age old adage of fighting being 90% mental and 10% physical, them being professional fighters and thus as close to each other in terms of physical preparation, as can be done in this age. All four fighters seem to have access to great training, and seem ready. I’m utilizing the pre-fight press conference as well as videos, interviews etc. as the most recent, kinda stressful events they have to go through to see who has the mental edge, and thus the fighting edge.

So here goes:

(1) The pre-pubescent sociopathy that is Jon Jones is matched by the pre-pubescent megalomania that is UFC prez, Dana White. Ok, this isn’t a great reason for Gustaffson winning, but let me just get this out of my system. It’s out. I’m not gonna dwell on it cos the UFC, White, and capitalism in general assigns value only on profit and couldn’t care less about humanity. They’re scum and they often don’t care if their star fighters are scum. Rant over. Onward.

(2) Jones is a nervous shell of a person, incapable of being a genuine human being and surviving on pure id. That shit eventually crumbles. Maybe not this fight. But eventually It will. It has crumbled all around him except in the cage where his outrageous physical gifts, talent, grit, and hard work keep the shell intact. But no fighter can just be a fighter, for it is nothing more than an identity. They have to be human beings whether they like it or not.

(3) His opponent seems chill, eager to fight, and focused on only what he can control. Whatever little information I’ve been able to glean from UFC Embedded videos, pre-fight press conferences and the like, Gustaffson seems chill and ready to rock. Even when the UFC pulled the outrageous stunt of moving the entire card on a week’s notice from Vegas to LA because the Nevada State Athletic Commission wouldn’t license Jones after he tested positive for steroids yet again (yeah, the dude’s a cheater in addition to being a fake-ass sociopath), Gustaffson seemed to just focus on getting what he wanted, a fight with Jones, and not on shit he couldn’t control. A fighter with that kind of a mindset is a dangerous fighter.

(4) I just want it to happen, both Gustaffson and Nunes to win, which is why I’m kinda spell casting here. I don’t really give a crap about Gustaffson as a fighter, I just want him to defeat Jones. Fuck, I want Jones to lose so bad so he can be less of a sociopath that I’m actually rooting for the white guy here. With Nunes, I actually want her to win. I think she’s a phenomenal and completely under-appreciated pioneer in the sport whom history will treat very kindly. I saw the same mental and energy differences with Nunes-Cyborg as I saw with Jones-Gustaffson, albeit with less intensity. Nunes seemed calm, ready to go, embracing the underdog status, while Cyborg seemed just a tad more under pressure.

But who the fuck knows, amiright?

Regardless, a change in my crystal ball record awaits in another few hours

I’ll follow this with post-fight post…all for myself and the larger universe…therapeutic blogging and dreamy shadow boxing.

PS: Ok, gotta get this out of my system too – Fuck the misogyny and racism in MMA…it makes the sport shittier by allowing scum like Dana White to rise to the top.

PPS: Up is probably on of the best animated movies out there on positive masculinity. I realized that as we saw it, as a family, for the fourth time last night.

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My retirement hobby might just be the hunt…

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I know I must commit to the noble grind of life.

I know that until my daughter is ready to fly and my soulmate has gotten sick of me, I must find my peace in this noble grind.

I do so because I know it is my salvation.

But when my golden years set in…

Indeed as the noble grind loses its necessity…

Well then, salvation alone might not cut it.

Love is all, but might still not be enough.

Then every fibre of my being might start quivering for my participation in divine feminine balance.

And the hunt might commence and never end.

One morning, I decided to kill a rapist when I was a very young man…

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A lifetime ago and a universe apart, someone very dear to me, a soul far superior to me, trusted me enough to tell me her story.

So the next morning, completely of my own volition and unbeknownst to this great soul, I proceeded to kill the rapist.

Planned for it through the night and everything.

All went as I envisioned it would.

He fell at my feet.

Admitted to it and practically begged me to liberate him.

I walked away.

Was I scared? Honorable? Disgusted? Or all that and much more?

All I know is this.

I’m 99% sweetheart and 1% psycho.

And, to this day, I don’t know which part of me regrets letting him go more.

I train for the great battle ahead…

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I might say that I train so I may, some day, fulfill some unrequited teenage dream of combat sports glory.

I may couch it in the language of self realization.

I may even realize, through sheer luck and happenstance, some far fetched fighting dream of little consequence.

But truly, I train for the battle ahead and the battle of our daily lives.

The ultimate battle for the soul of humanity and perhaps even this earth itself.

The battle against patriarchy.

The battle against sexism.

The battle against toxic masculinity.

I repeat.

The soil of humanity must be watered with the blood of misogynists.

Training Diary, Week 4 to 5 – Loving the athlete’s grind

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Loving the athlete’s grind is in many ways a vastly reduced and simplified mirroring of loving the noble grind of life itself. There are brief moments of joy and euphoria, but always preceded and succeeded by vast time periods of the righteous labor that is at life’s foundation.

The athlete’s grind.

The one who trains daily goes to bed with varying levels of satisfaction. They might even feel a sense of spiritual oneness with the universe at large…depending on the intensity with which they pushed themselves during their workout and the endorphins released (not to mention the quality of their fuel).

A beautiful buzz.

Then they have to wake their rickety, lactic-acid-laden ass in the morning to figure out a way to do it yet again.

And that’s the athlete’s grind. We seek that daily buzz, but we have to walk through the muck every day to get there.

We all have our strategies of taking that first step through the muck. Music. Motivational videos. Maria Juan. Often all three.

Sometimes I’ll even commit the cardinal sin of training at half-ass intensity with my favorite show on.

Sometimes I’ll be pretty honest with myself to just get my ass off the couch.

“Do whatever is needed to get those first 5 minutes out of the way. Just do some push-ups and squats, and take it from there. Forget about your lofty-ass goal of becoming a pro bare knuckle fighter and just get some blood pumping through your depression-prone self. You have to get your ass to work the next day and cook dinner tonight, so you know you’re probably gonna smoke a cigarette on your lunch break and have a couple of beers while the onions are frying…

Make the poisons count asshole.”

I think the athlete’s grind keeps me honest in ways I rarely find elsewhere in life.

The only other endeavor that keeps me truly honest with myself is parenting (even the athlete’s grind doesn’t compare to┬áthat).

And so it goes on.

Day after day.

Sometimes I really don’t know why, even questioning the futility of insurmountable athletic goals when I look at the endless, winding path ahead of me.

Then I realize that life can be hard and that I want to feel a little better about myself. So I do whatever I can to get my lazy ass up to do some push-ups, and squats, and oh, maybe a few minutes of shadow boxing to get those endorphins going before I enjoy some whisky with my dinner, and a smoke before bedtime.

This noble grind is perfectly imperfect.