By Matt Maran
Why does it seem like everything that most people find entertaining is almost always labeled as immature or disgraceful?
This past Saturday night CBS aired a Strikeforce fight show. Strikeforce is a small promotion trying to make a splash in the Mixed Martial Arts market that has all but been monopolized by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In the main event, former UFC competitor and MMA legend Dan Henderson made his Strikeforce debut—and was soundly defeated by Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, Jake Shields.
The big story of the night though was what happened after the fight. As Jake Shields was being interviewed about his impressive title defense, Jason “Mayhem” Miller stepped into the cage.
Miller, the host of MTV’s Bully Beatdown, lost to Shields last year in a bout for the Middleweight Championship. He interrupted Shield’s post-fight interview and said, “What’s up? Where’s my rematch?” Then things started to get out of control.
One person shoved another, and soon everybody in the ring was shoving and throwing punches. CBS cut to a commercial break as the brawl ensued.
Miller and Shields have a history and have never been the best of friends. When the program returned from the commercial break, things had settled down, and Shields immediately apologized for his role in the brawl.
It did not take long for people to start saying how disgraceful and shameful this was. MMA columnist Maggie Hendricks wrote, “The fighters involved in the melee should be ashamed of themselves, as they have now given every opponent of MMA more reason to hate the sport.” Strikeforce announcer, Mauro Ranallo, said that Miller should be ashamed of himself for being so disrespectful.
You know what? Most people watching probably thought that the brawl was awesome. In baseball, fans love it when Lou Piniella kicks dirt on the umpire. They love it when there is a bench clearing brawl, and when two hockey players drop their gloves and punch the hell out of each other. There’s the car crash element to these things.
This stuff happens in all sports, and really at this point the only people who think MMA should be banned are either hyper sensitive or ignorant—but that’s another argument.
The fact is that now, as a fight fan, I would like to see a rematch between Shields and Miller. This brawl has piqued my interest, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, this does not mean every fighter should start brawls just to get rematches.
As a fan, when something outrageous and unbelievable happens, I want to see a follow up. If this were to become a common occurrence, then it would not be as shocking. It would just be “Oh here’s another brawl.” (Are you listening, Vince McMahon?)
I’m not condoning the actions of Miller. I’m just saying that it was entertaining. Miller’s “disgusting” act excited fans—more than anything else on the show. All three fights shown on the Strikeforce show went to decisions. A whole night with no finishes.
Mo Lawal and Gegard Mousasi were dead tired two rounds into their fight. It was like two zombies fighting for the last three rounds. Shinya Aoki spent most of his fight, with Gilbert Melendez, on his ass moving around the ring like a toddler who hasn’t learned to walk yet.
Jake Shields dominated Dan Henderson on the ground the last four rounds of their fight. I come from a wrestling background so I can appreciate a ground based match, but the majority of fans are bored out of their minds when an entire fight is two guys on the ground working for positioning.
The post-fight melee was all that made this night interesting. As a fan, I would have felt like I wasted three hours of my life watching this show had that not happened.
The fact is people love to see fireworks. Hell, even Ron Artest got people watching when he attacked a fan during an NBA game. The truth is any publicity is good publicity.
Some people may call it sad that our culture is this way, but it’s human nature. More people know Dennis Rodman than Scottie Pippen. One is a hall of fame basketball player and the other is a freak who happened to play basketball.
All of these detractors need to get off their high horse and accept the fact that simple things excite people. Is it good for someone to drive drunk and speed 100 MPH into oncoming traffic on a highway to get away from the cops? No! But you better believe I’ll be watching it on World’s Most Amazing Videos.
And I’m sure I won’t be the only one tuning in to watch and see if Jake Shields gets a chance to shut down “Mayhem” Miller once again.