MMA fans are an interesting breed of sports fan, unlike any other. Hailing from all different areas of the spectrum, ranging from the most cynical, pessimistic, over-opinionated, disrespectful, hate-filled, blood-thirsty, Tapout-wearing, profane spewers to the wiser, calmer, more respectful, more honorable and passive, technique-appreciating fans.
Neither group is necessarily more valuable to the discussion than the other, more correct or even more legitimate for that matter. But the contrast does make things interesting and helps us paint a picture of the landscape these fans have formed, who of which have proved to be as dynamic as the sport itself.
But if there’s one thing that time and experience has taught me about this sport, it’s that the fans run it more than the fighters or even the promoters do. The fans are the unpredictable variable controlling everything that happens, while ultimately shaping the sport itself in the process.
Organizations like Pride and the UFC exploded because you watched and talked about them. And as far as the fighters go, if no one was watching and talking about someone like Fedor for example, he’d be no more than just another scary Russian destroying the faces and bodies of mortal men with his bare hands for a living.
You love and hate fighters. The fighters you hate on make those who love them, love them even more, and the fighters you love and support, make those who hate them, hate them even more. It’s a fascinating cycle that can be attributed as a very large, essential and prominent reason for MMA’s growth and success.
If the fighters were the engine and the sport itself was the car, then the fans would be the fuel getting everything from point A to point B. One person that knows this better than most is Mr. Dana White himself. Dana has never been one to care for stats and rankings, but values popularity, success, achievements, fame and the consensus of fans above all else.
Always one to have his finger on the pulse of MMA, Dana knows full well that no matter how crazy, ridiculous or extreme we are, ultimately we are the ones who pay the bills, we are the ones who fill the seats and we are the ones who make all the noise.
With that said, the sport continues to grow at a rate few other sports have ever seen in history, and because of that I’d go as far as saying, that there are a growing number of people out there who are becoming increasingly envious of us our passion and what it’s accomplished.
I love this sport, as I’m sure many of you would say the same. And as it grows, so does this crazy tight knit family we call the MMA Community. On that note, don’t ever forget the power of the fan, our voice’s mean something, we’re capable of pushing things to great heights with our undying support.
Just always remember why we’re all here, why we scour all of these news sites for information on such a frequent basis, bordering on obsessive. It’s because we love it, and that’s one thing we can all agree on.
Heated discussions are great! But try your best to have respect for both your fellow fan and the fighters themselves. You never know who could be reading and who will be affected by your words.
Thanks for reading!