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The World’s Toughest Fans

MMA fans are what Hunter S. Thompson described Dr. Gonzo as in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Too weird to live and too rare to die.

Unlike teams sports like football and basketball, the fans live—and—die with an individual, rather than an entire team. While the casual American Football fan might be a Peyton Manning fan, ask any Indianapolis Colts fans and they will say that they will support the team, not the player. MMA fans live—and—die on whether or not a fighter is on a three fight losing streak or a five fight winning streak. There are those bandwagon fans that only become a fan when a fighter is doing well and will then quickly jump off when the fighter suffers a sudden defeat.

A fans will is truly tested when the sport comes under scrutiny by the media in stories that clearly goes for the “Human Cockfighting” angle rather than seeing the sport from the perspective of sports that is a human chess match. You’ll be surprised to see what happens when the e—mail of said sports writer probably gets filled with e-mails with counter-argument’s tearing the writer’s story down to the ground. I remember a story on a local website around the time Anthony Pettis made his debut in the WEC, and his debut was drawing interest from the local media. The writer “supposedly” saw the event where there was no referee, no gloves, and the ref ignored a fighter submitting to some “weird” arm—lock. He then went into the whole “Boxing is better” and that “The sport should be banned” drivel that most writers use. Shortly after the article went up, fans immediately attack the writer on his points, exposing his article as nothing more than a cheap attempt to gain views, and he promptly put up an apology for what he wrote.

There is a downside to being an MMA fan though, and those are the fans that care more about what a promotion is doing rather than and in the eternal MMA pissing war that started once the UFC started to pick up steam. While each side has good points, the idea of people aligning themselves with a company and not fighters show’s what fans true intentions are. I can only compare it to back in the 1990’s when pro—wrestling fans in Philadelphia supported the name ECW by buying up all the t—shirts with the ECW logo showing a disregard for the wrestlers who worked for the promotion. The death of PRIDE did little to help this as most hardcore—PRIDE fans began to support companies like EliteXC and Affliction just to see them beat the UFC. This leads to the companies going head—to—head against an opponent they are ready to face. Then when the company dies, they latch onto another company and so on and so forth. While this group doesn’t represent MMA fans, it is a growing concern that’s led to the rallying cry of “SUPPORT FIGHTERS, NOT PROMOTIONS!” on MMA message boards.

The reality with MMA fans is that we’ve been through the rise of the sport in the early 90’s, a dramatic downfall in the late 90’s, and an epic reincarnation in the last decade. This has made the fan base become a tightly knit group of fans, essentially a fraternity of fans who are going to argue whether Fedor could beat Godzilla one moment then come together in unison when they’ve just seen a classic. It interesting to see if fans of baseball would stick with the sport if there was another lockout….I’m guessing not.

15 COMMENTS
  • Dufresne says:

    I must be an unusual fan because I’m not one of the ones that supports a single fighter or a single organization. I love to see talent in the cage. Period. I don’t care if it’s a 16 year old that’s waiting to become a professional or a 46 year old looking for another title shot, I just want to see the passion and talent that they bring to the sport.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    yeah i’m not sure i see the point of this piece, i have just woken up and i shall re read later, but it just doesnt relate to me or anyone i know into mma at all.
    Plus i dont understand the baseball/ecw analogies, i’m european and they play gay sports over here too, which i also dont understand

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I cant wait to see how American Football fans react when they have there lockout this upcoming season, lets see what happens to attendence after that. Unlike MMA these unions are fighting for more money, not just to keep the sport alive like in the late 90’s when MMA was banned from almost all PPV and states( Thanks to John Mccain)

  • Lerner17 says:

    hindsightufuk:
    Plus i dont understand the baseball/ecw analogies, i’m european and they play gay sports over here too, which i also dont understand  

    Basically what he was trying to get at is there was a time when Vince McMahon (WWF, er, sorry, WWE) didn’t rule nearly all of “Professional Wrestling”. There were other companies out there, such as ECW, WCW, etc., just like there are other companies to MMA, like Strikeforce, Bellator, K1, and EliteXC and PRIDE (before those two were disbanded).

    As far as this article is concerned, you’re always going to have your meathead fans, no matter what sport it is. I, for one, do support fighters and not just organizations (although I do find some of Strikeforce’s signings a little ridiculous….) and although there are a few DREAM (no pun intended) fights I want to see, I don’t hope what happened to pro wrestling happens to MMA (everyone basically fighting for the same company)

  • Lerner17 says:

    @hindsightufuk: On a side note, “they play gay sports over here” got a good laugh out of me…

  • fanoftna33 says:

    That comment on European sports being gay is why I always look for Hindsights comments, always worth readind and funny. Great for monday morning.

  • Carvaggio says:

    “MMA fans are what Hunter S. Thompson described Dr. Gonzo as in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Too weird to live and too rare to die.”

    Is it just me or did anyone else have trouble with this first sentence?

    I think this site needs an editor…

  • Angry Mike says:

    If we’re sticking with Hunter S. Thompson, the site doesn’t need an editor. It needs hallucinogens and bats. Lots of large, man-eating bats. And an expense account. And a lawyer.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    haha

  • Rece Rock says:

    Robert Goeman is…

  • Rece Rock says:

    P.S. – the problem with Pro wrestling wasn’t that all the “stars” fight for one promo, the problem is that when there’s only one promo the product becomes stale because of a lack of competition to keep them searching for the next big thing or to push the enevelope… That can’t happen in MMA because the fights arent’s story lines and aren’t orchestrated or scripted… so I don’t see how MMA can get stale unless the fighters are fighting the same opponents over and over again which really wouldn’t happen.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    Rece Rock: so I don’t see how MMA can get stale unless the fighters are fighting the same opponents over and over again which really wouldn’t happen.  

    except in the WEC. I’m starting to think a merger with the UFC would be a great move now. More fighters dropping to 145, plus they would have more fight options when it comes to a card like 109, which was lacklustre at best. Coulda bought in the small guys instead of these stale heavyweights

  • Rece Rock says:

    I agree Hindsight…

    Problem is from a business stand point WEC has contracts with multple outlets/ vendors and would have to renegotiate these deals regardelss if both entities are under the Zuffa umbrella… Probably the same would happen with fighters contracts… your going from fighting and drawing for a small venue to helping draw for an arena- I’m sure they would want more $ for there efforts.

    I really think the merger is inevitable but it will def. be later rather than sooner.

  • Dufresne says:

    Especially do to the overlap of fighters in the LW divisions. If the two were to simply merge the LW division would be ridiculously large. I see them doing what they did to the heavier weight classes and sending the best to the UFC and releasing the rest before they attempt a merger.

    They’ve been inching closer to a merger with the absolution of the heavier weight classes, the UFC on versus/WEC on PPV, and all the commercials and interviews they do with WEC stars at UFC events and vice versa. But I don’t see it happening within the year unless some other consolidation efforts occur soon.

  • ctownhood says:

    hindsightufuk: except in the WEC. I’m starting to think a merger with the UFC would be a great move now. More fighters dropping to 145, plus they would have more fight options when it comes to a card like 109, which was lacklustre at best. Coulda bought in the small guys instead of these stale heavyweights  (Quote)

    I agree withthe merger. I think the only interesting fights left for BJ Penn would come from a merger with the WEC. He could go to 145 easily (IMO) and face an Aldo, Brown, Faber. Or maybe a Benson Henderson, Cerrone or Varner. He has already cleaned out the 155 division in UFC.

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