The latest post at Ikigai caught my attention because Brock Lesnar also indirectly speaks about traditional martial arts in the December/January 2010 issue of UFC Magazine. More on Mr. Lesnar in a second but first let me give you a sense of what Matthew is blogging about.
To the BJJ and MMA practitioners out there who are deeply invested in their art – you should know that you have some brothers in arms over in TMA (traditional martial arts) who know about the struggle you are going through and will continue to go through.
Hopefully we can all meet on the other side when the next big thing hits…whatever that may be.
Given that Ikigai has a background in traditional martial arts, I can see where some might expect him to be bitter over MMA having replaced karate as the next “big thing”. Yet if you read Matthew’s post you’ll see that this is not the case. So where did he get that well-mannered attitude? My guess is that his experiences in a traditional dojo probably have a lot to do with how he blogs.
Then we have the bad boy beast, Brock Lesnar who has a history of being a trash-talking bully.
Amongst Lesnar’s other actions were flipping off the crowd, encouraging them to boo him, expressing disdain for the UFC biggest sponsor Bud Light, and sharing his plans to possibly ‘climb up on top of’ his wife, former WWE diva Sable. All in all, an excellent way to end a Wrestlemania, but this is the UFC, not WWE.
This sets the stage for the aforenoted UFC Magazine interview. I could not bring myself to waste money on the publication but I did come darn close. What follows are bullet point excerpts from the interview. Please bear in mind that I’m basing these off my fallible memory and having had to read the magazine while standing in a book store.
- The UFC is business–people are not paying to just see two guys fight. They are also paying to see larger-than-life personalities.
- His response to critics who question his legitimacy as champion with so few wins is all but to give them the proverbial FU. He’s more civilized this time but his response is basically that he has destroyed all of his challengers, period. (I tend to agree with this point)
- He admits that his WWE persona was nothing more than an expansion of his true personality — a bully.
- When asked about Lyoto Machida and traditional martial arts his response is essentially “screw all that sensei crap”. He admits that he has never understood it and even goes on to say that while he respects his wrestling coaches, at the end of the day, it’s his wrestling mat–not theirs.
Just to belabor my point one last time here’s another opinion of Mr. Lesnar.
To flip off a crowd that paid money to see you fight and to get in your downed opponent’s face – is unsportsmanlike and classless.
To act like a spoiled child (though a 300lb child) and stomp around the ring because you “aren’t getting the respect you deserve” – makes you a punk.
Having worked with inmates I agree that it is punk behavior. However, I think Mr. Lesnar knows exactly what he’s doing. In fact he practically admits to it in his recent UFC Magazine interview. I think he’s learned a very valuable lesson from his WWE wrestling days: If you want to put paying butts in seats then you need to craft a persona that everyone either really loves or really hates. Obviously, Brock is going for the role of UFC heel. Moreover, he does have the skill, ego, and brute force to probably pull it off.
I have to agree with Lesnar on many of his observations. The UFC is a business and controversy does sell tickets, merchandise, and it also attracts certain high dollar sponsors. UFC matches are no longer about whose martial art is the best–they are also about who can create a memorable persona.
Think about it–I bet there are thousands of fans who will pay lots of money to see someone put Lesnar in his place. In addition there are just as many who love what he represents. Either way there’s lots of money to be made.
Now the next question is will Brock Lesnar once again be able to compete and enjoy some of this money?
The situation will hopefully gain some clarity later this week when Lesnar goes back to the doctor to find out if he is getting better, or if he will need to have major surgery that at best keep him out two years and at worst end his career.