I was recently faced with a tough comment by a reader, who challenged me with the following: “As a MMA fan you should have known who he (Nelson) was, seems like just another UFC only fan here. Poor form”. While the comment itself was rather dull and uninspiring, I nonetheless found myself exploring my own dedication and devotion to the sport – after all, there may have been some element of truth. What makes a true MMA fan?
Is a true MMA fan someone who watches every fight in every promotion? I don’t think so. I think it takes a level of dedication beyond that of someone who follows every promotion that makes them a “true fan”. I concede, above all else I watch the UFC more than any other organization. Why? Well, first off they have more events than any other promotion, but also because they have by far the best fighters in the world. I have yet to hear an interview with an up-and-coming fighter who says: “Man, I’ve been working and training really hard to make it to Titan Fighting Championships”. I know that these lower level promotions are a breeding ground for the rising stars and future of the world of MMA, but it takes a certain level of dedication and devotion to a sport to watch not only these “farm league” promotions, but also the big show. The “big show” is now.
Do I watch any of the smaller promotions? Hell yes! There are some really grea,t exciting fights on those cards, and sometimes it’s the only way to see blacklisted UFC fighters still strut their stuff. Do I always watch them? No, not always. There are some really boring fights on these cards to be honest, and there is a perfectly valid reason that a lot of these guys are not in the UFC. I have neither time nor the inclination to watch two clowns dance around each other for fifteen minutes. If I wanted that I’d go watch boxing.
Have I always watched all of these smaller promotions? Dear God, no! As my interest in the sport grew, so did my affinity to learn more about the sport and look elsewhere to get my MMA fix at a time when the UFC still had months between cards.
Asserting a fan’s dedication to a sport goes beyond how many different aspects of the sport they know, or how many stats they know for each athlete within that respective sport. How many fans of baseball watch anything other than MLB? Or how many NHL and/or NBA fans watch anything beyond those respective sports’ promotions? I’ll bet at least 90% (warning, no basis statistic) never veer from the larger sporting promotion because they, much like myself, love watching the best in the sport. Yes, they will occasionally watch an OHL game, or a college basketball game, but their dedication lies with the cream of the crop and the best of the best. Do I frown on these people? No. A love of sport is a love of sport. I make no apologies for how I choose to watch sports. In return, I won’t judge you for how you choose to do the same – whatever floats your boat.
I’ll end with a final thought – knowledge equals power, but not passion. Next time you want to cut someone down for not being a “true fan”, ask yourself what that is first because everyone has their own definition.
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