On Wednesday, Karen Touma posted an article here on The Roar that dealt with the Pro Wrestling style promo Chael Sonnen cut following his arm triangle choke submission win over Brian Stann at UFC 136 on Sunday.
“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck,” Sonnen proclaimed in his post-fight interview before going on to challenge the middleweight champion to a rematch.
He didn’t stop there though.
He then raised the stakes of the rematch to what is known as a “loser leaves town” match. If Silva loses he is to leave the middleweight division, if Sonnen does then he will leave the UFC forever.
It was this last part that didn’t taste nice in the mouths of many MMA fans and prompted the writing of the article I mentioned earlier.
The basic rationale behind the dislike is that Pro Wrestling is fake so bringing WWE-theatrics to MMA, as Touma puts it, “hinders the integrity of the sport.”
As in if you have fighters saying what sound like scripted promos out of the cage, it may translate to the casual viewer thinking what’s going on inside the cage is scripted as well.
I’ve never understood this line of thinking.
I can’t say I’m a fan of pro wrestling in the slightest but I have seen a match or two before and for anyone to think that someone could get confused between MMA and the WWE is pretty crazy.
If you watch either event for any small amount of time you can tell very easily that one is real and one is very fake.
Mixed Martial Arts fans get very protective over the sport. So much so that they think they have to eliminate anything from the sport that could possibly be nitpicked by the mainstream audience.
They usually forget however, that firstly, this sport is not for everyone and secondly, the world is filled with crazy and irrational people who like to nitpick at things regardless of if there’s no evidence to support their claims.
Trying to cater to the latter by doing something like trying to stamp out WWE-style promos in the sport because some ignorant people might blindly start believing MMA is fixed is just pointless and exhausting.
For better or for worse, promotion is a big part of the sport and if fighters want to borrow some promotional tips from an industry that is centred around promotion in order to boost their notoriety then what’s the harm?
There was a time when MMA was outlawed for being too brutal and it’s understandable why fans would not want to see that happen again.
They have to remember though that this is a different sport now.
This isn’t the mid-nineties where the UFC is battling the label “human cockfighting” and putting on shows in the backwaters of Alabama.
This is 2011, the UFC is about to debut on US network television.
It’s time to take off the bubble wrap. The sport can stand on its own two feet.