Summer is over. The grim realization hit early, when morning temperatures in Missoula were just shy of 50 degrees, and my car had a decidedly difficult time starting. The end of summer always brings with it a certain sense of melancholy; as though it might have been your last but you didn’t realize it until the final hours.
For fans of other sports, namely football, summer’s end signifies the start of another ferocious NFL season, wrought with enough strife and controversy to keep pundits talking for weeks.
UFC December a Month to Celebrate
We have no such solace in mixed martial arts. The sport of MMA is both a sprint and a marathon; it operates at such a break neck pace that the occasional weekend without an event feels akin to the Doldrums of the great seas.
Non-existent off-seasons are part of the reason it’s so fun to be an MMA fan today. Gone are the desolate weeks between fights when time slowed to a crawl. Now we can’t be bothered to even know who’s fighting this weekend (looking at you, Joaquim Silva).
This level of over-saturation is both a blessing and a curse. For the agoraphobic hardcore fan, it’s akin to some pugilistic nirvana. For the interested viewer with a life spent outside of televised violence, keeping up with the sport itself can seem like a chore of its own.
Just Win Baby
That’s part of the reason this December is a pivotal time for Zuffa and the UFC. In the span of just 48 hours, a collective winning streak of over 90 professional fights will be on the line in the main and co-main events.
Nurmagomedov-Ferguson, Edgar-Mendes, Weidman-Rockhold, McGregor-Aldo. More than just fighters, these are winners in the absolutist sense. More than one has never lost, like, ever. The winning streaks that will be on the line the weekend of December 11th are years, even decades, in the making.
To put some perspective on it, Jose Aldo hasn’t lost since Kanye West was complaining about women only wanting him for his money, while his opponent McGregor last tasted defeat with “Like a G6” blaring in the background somewhere in the ether.
Both songs, like the fighters respective losses, are near decades in the rear view. For competitors like Nurmy and Weidman, the song that will play during their eventual demise probably hasn’t even been penned yet.
This is as close as we’ll probably ever get to receiving some sort of Christmas present from Dana White and Co. While it’s not snow in our driveways, it is something to reflect on and give thanks for.
So rarely in this sport do we have so many collective heads of steam converging on just one weekend. Half the fighters competing on the cards will have to reconcile themselves with the new (and first) loss on their records, and will be forced to find some sort of justification for the momentary lapse in victory they’ve grown so accustomed to.
In an age where the Chael Sonnen’s of the world are gifted title shots while the record-breaking win streaks of others are met with derision, it’s nice to get one for the good guys. For once, with zero hyperbole, we can say that something is virtually identical among these fighters: they just don’t lose. Who can continue utilizing that moniker remains to be seen.