Not a barbarian! But I like cage fighting

Sometimes I talk myself right into a corner, almost like a concussed underdog in a mixed martial arts fight. Just get the smelling salts. It’s over.

One woman was telling another woman in the room about the fiasco of her recent furniture order and delivery. Half of the pieces were broken, but her husband wasn’t very upset, because the piece that made it possible to hang their new big-screen TV was intact.

“It’s amazing, the importance some things have to some people,” one of the women observed, drawing knowing nods from the other four women in the room. A couple of them glanced at me, the only guy there.

“Hey, it’s almost football season,” I said. This drew mumbles and murmurs about sports and men. Nothing cutting, but I got the picture. I was in enemy country.

Why didn’t I retreat unscathed at that point?

“Geez, I even like cage fighting,” I added.

The chortles of surprise and the alarmed and-or amused glances this triggered drove home my mistake. One woman said, “I didn’t know you were a follower of a blood sport. We’ll never look at you the same way again.”

It was in polite good fun, but I realized again that some people can get uncomfortable when subjects like cage fighting, even boxing, come up among relative strangers.

I grinned at them and said, “I’m not a barbarian. I’m a multi-faceted individual.” But the damage was done. I’ll probably be remembered as “the cage fighting guy” in that office now.

It reminded me of a business meeting a couple of years ago in which I mentioned cage fighting during a conversation about potential alternative marketing events. One of the guys from out of state looked jarred. His expression of … distaste? … was similar to the reaction of those women.

Did I mention that I like to watch cage fighting? It’s one step up from an alley fight, and the David vs. Goliath matches can be fascinating.

Cage fighting became a political controversy in Weber County in recent years. The county fair featured a cage fight card one year, but county commissioners deemed the ultimate-fighting atmosphere and sport too objectionable for local sensibilities. They voted down a return engagement.

My son and I had attended the fair card that year, and the commission’s subsequent bout of squeamish propriety only made me more interested in the sport. Taped matches are televised frequently on the Versus and Spike networks. Salt Lake-area matches can be seen on Channel 15, too. There was a hilarious one Sunday between two 500-pound dudes.

Once in a while, a live fight card will be broadcast, such as last Sunday on Versus. You can read a recap of the fantastic Torres vs. Bowles World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight title bout here, and Versus will rebroadcast the card in upcoming weeks, if you missed it.

Most MMA fans I’ve encountered are younger, in their teens, 20s and 30s. There’s a high percentage of tattoos. There’s heavy bravado, as in boxing, but trebled. Most of the extraneous and atmospheric aspects have little appeal to this chronologically challenged fan. But the fights themselves can be scintillating.

All for now. I need to check the TV listings for the next MMA “best knockouts” show.

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4 Responses to Not a barbarian! But I like cage fighting

  1. Doug Gibson says:

    I’m with you Mark. I can’t wait for my son, 4, to start learning mixed-martial arts and boxing at a local gym in Ogden when he turns 5.

  2. flatlander100 says:

    Likes cage fighting, but insists he’s “not a barbarian”?

    That’s one opinion, I guess.

  3. Bill says:

    I thought “Barbarians” were followers of “Barbie”!

  4. I enjoy cage fighting as well! And, shhhh, don’t tell anyone but I got my wife interested in it as well! ;)

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