Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MMA - Let's Stick To The Fighting

There is a growing trend among mixed martial arts fighters to talk shit in the weeks leading up to a fight. Viewers are led to believe that there is "bad blood" or that the fight is a "grudge match" or that it's a "rivalry years in the making" or whatever other dumb group of words they string together. In the same way that most pre-fight speeches are broken records that routinely reference "breaking the will of my opponent" and philosophically deep comments like "he better come to fight", this "personal" shit-talking is now so common place that fans essentially expect to see it before every fight. I'm not quite sure how everyone came to this conclusion that fans are more interested in fights in which the fighters hate each other, but it couldn't be further from the truth, at least for me. I would have bought last Saturday's pay-per-view event featuring GSP vs Koscheck regardless if there was "bad blood" or not. I'm drawn by the skill and talent of those two fighters - not their personal opinions of each other.

I will certainly grant that the presence of a genuine mutual dislike, or any emotional feelings that influence a fighter's psychology, can be interesting to the degree that it affects the fighter's motivation, performance, or training. But notice I said genuine. This is what is lacking in too many marketing campaigns for UFC - sincerity. Just look at every time two fighters that supposedly "hated" each other embrace in the ring afterwards and magically the "beef got squashed"….this happens repeatedly. Sure, sure, you're going to tell me that now having fought each other, they respect each other…..right, well the problem with this theory is that those same fighters often tell us that they were just trying to hype up the fight. Well that's nice, but here's the deal:

A) "Bad blood" is not what makes me watch a fight….if I was interested in the emotional dynamics between two individuals I would watch Dr. Phil.

B) If you're talking shit because you think it sells more tickets and pay-per-view buys, I'd like to see the research that supports such a theory - yes, people tend to be interested in any sort of conflict or argument, thus the unfortunate success of most "reality" television, but mixed martial arts contains actual physical violence - doesn't that render the "war of words" superfluous and irrelevant?

C) Even if there is a solid PR justification for concocting the appearance of "bad blood", how could it possibly be effective over a long period of time when the fighters that supposedly hated each other come right out and say they were just trying to hype the fight? Am I really the only fan irritated by this deception?

In point of fact, this trend does a major disservice to the UFC and MMA overall, whose entire appeal rests on the reality of the sport, but whose marketing is starting to come dangerously close to that of professional wrestling organizations like the WWE (or WWF when I was growing up). If I want to watch actors, I'm going to rent a movie. So to all the fighters in the world, this is coming from a genuine fan of the sport and someone that has the utmost respect for what you do and the endless dedication you devote to it - if you actually hate your opponent and wish to express that, by all means go right ahead, but if there truthfully isn't any "bad blood", please do not fabricate any….I assure you, I will be watching regardless.


  1. Zack,

    I just wanted to stop by to say that your work is brilliant. Like 99% of other listeners, I had no idea you were the composer of the trailer music for Inception until I read an article about the soundtrack. I'm an amateur composer/arranger who is interesting in composing for film/tv and your work has certainly inspired me. I just posted my arrangement of the Inception score on YouTube yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cNXiBE_72k

    I will definitely continue checking out your music for more inspiration. Keep up the great work!


  2. I don't watch too much UFC or MMA, but when I do, I like to watch it for the sport of it. I do notice that when they show clips of the fighters from the beginning of their training up to the fight, they tend to play out like a staged soap opera. I think it's funny that they're bff's in the start then all of a sudden drama ensues. It kind of throws me off from watching the rest or caring to learn any names.
    I can see your standpoint on the acting though.
    I'm not going to say that every bit is staged drama.

    OH and Zack, I'm not a composer. Nor am I going to ask about Mind Heist or Redemption.

    Im just actually glad to see something on your blog. It was starting to look a little dusty.

    Can't wait to hear more of your work!

  3. I am deeply in love with every single piece of information you post here.

    Apron | Shop Towel

  4. Just caught your blog and was pleasantly surprised about your post on MMA. Good stuff. I completely agree. Thanks for sharing your mind.