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|Ric Flair is the latest in a long line of pro wrestlers turned MMA critics.|
I have an odd preoccupation with people in the professional wrestling industry who comment on MMA. Probably because I don't get pro wrestling on any level other than the human drama that plays out behind the scenes, and probably in part because I resent the idea that wrestling birthed mixed martial arts on a global scale. That may have been the trajectory in Japan, but in the States, it was real (and often boring) wrestling exhibitions that preceded choreographed matches. And I seriously doubt the Vale Tudo matches of Brazil or the Gracies were in any way influenced by men faking crotch shots. Give me that, at least.
Ric Flair is the latest to offer an opinion on real fighting, and it was not a ringing endorsement: Speaking with UK's Mirror, Flair said he enjoyed the sport but that its fans "got nothing going on for themselves."
"I actually think most of the male public that is crazy for that are living vicariously for something they can never be," he said. "Wrestling is more entertainment-based. MMA is what it is; those guys are out there trying to kill each other. And the guys that are sitting at home going 'wow' could never find that within themselves on the first day of their life."
I do not want to paint professional wrestling's fans with too broad a brush, but looking at some of the crowds assembled for events -- and having attended several myself in my ill-advised youth -- there seem to be few of them that delayed discovery of uranium to attend. I would also offer that MMA has a disproportionate number of fans who actually participate in activities resembling the sport on a competitive level, even if it's only amateur grappling.
But let's say they're all loafs; so what? Isn't the point of sport to admire the physical abilities of those who can perform in ways we can't?
Flair seems like a swell guy. Maybe he just needs to have a chat with Spencer Fisher.