Pictured is Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, one of the Top 3 female Mixed Martial Artists in the world and one dangerous lady. Earlier this week, a clip made it's way around the Internet of Cyborg choking out a male MMA reporter.
In flicking through ESPN earlier today, I came across the clip again, as the reporter was on one of the talk shows on the world wide leader and I was disappointed to hear him say that it was an organized thing meant to draw attention to Cyborg and the sport itself from the mainstream media.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not dumb enough to believe that Cyborg just randomly decided to choke this dude out or that the whole thing wasn't very heavily supervised by medical staff. That part I was clear on.
What I fail to understand is why guys like this still think we need to make some big spectacle sideshow out of Mixed Martial Arts in the first place?
In case you hadn't been paying attention, seven of the ten highest grossing Pay-Per-View events of the year last year where MMA cards. Dana White is a household name, as too are Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture, with Georges St-Pierre added to that list north of the border.
UFC Undisputed is one of the most well-reviewed video games of the year and not just by fight fans and there are more and more people each day walking around sporting fight-inspired clothing lines. Don't believe me? I had a golfer in his mid-40s come into the bar for lunch yesterday with a Triumph United hat and shirt in his hands. Unfortunately, he wouldn't sell them to me...
This is the fastest growing sport in the world with stars emerging from all over the world and gyms opening up in every city imaginable, except Cranbrook, BC of course. There are thousands of MMA blogs and fan sites.
ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo and AOL all have their own team of MMA writers and experts, while the print media beginning to catch up.
You don't need to force-feed the sport to anyone or do something that has been done before (see Dewey from Yardbarker getting choked out by Frank Shamrock) to bring attention to the sport or Cyborg.
Anyone who cares about the sport knows who she is and those who don't care don't want to know. Having her choke you out only adds to the moronic assumptions people have about the violence and danger of the sport or did you not listen to the lead in the ESPN guy gave your clip?
If we want the mainstream media to pay attention to Mixed Martial Arts - and we do, of course - than the best way to do that is to showcase the brilliance of the sport in every aspect. Write great articles, conduct killer interviews, showcase the best and brightest fighters and with the number of people who follow the sport continuing to grow exponentially, eventually they won't have a choice.
Instead of running off and getting yourself choked out to get 15 minutes of fame, you could have done an in-depth interview with one of the best in the business leading up to one of the biggest and most influential fights in the history of the sport.
But you wanted to be on TV and had to pull some silly stunt.
Patience, young Jedi... we'll make it there on own soon enough and we won't need to get choked out to do it.
Here's the entire piece for your viewing enjoyment... thanks ESPN.