Can someone explain why UFC is awesome? Most people I know love it and I don't get the appeal.
November 14, 2008 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Can someone explain why UFC is awesome? Most people I know love it and I don't get the appeal.

First, I'm a woman, not that I think that should matter. I'm 26, and have generally very sterotypically male interests: I'm a computer programmer (traditionally male industry and I'm the only female programmer in my office), I love action movies, I am awesome at video games, I swear like sailor, I love raunchy jokes, and on and on it goes. I generally get along better with men than women for a lot of these reasons. LOL That being said, and while I am basically a man with DD boobs, I do NOT see the appeal of UFC. I will admit I have only watched small snippets of it but I don't get it. It seems to be two guys beating each other to a pulp by any means necessary..... It doesn't seem terribly sporting.

So can someone help me to understand and even maybe learn to enjoy it?
posted by gwenlister to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't like boxing, you won't like UFC. If you like boxing, you may still not like UFC.

Liking and enjoying watching people beat the crap out of each other is not at all guaranteed to appeal to all men, or people that 'have stereotypical male interests'. It's just a violent sport that either appeals to you or it doesn't. It simply revolves around "is violent combat entertainment for you".

That is the whole appeal, and if you aren't one of those people, you just aren't.
posted by Brockles at 4:26 PM on November 14, 2008

UFC is like gay porn in an arena. What about that doesn't appeal to you?
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:31 PM on November 14, 2008 [8 favorites]

What roger ackroyd said. The men are rarely hot.. but when they are? Holy crap. Two hot, almost naked men, rolling around on a floor all sweaty and grappling with each other and is it just me or is it getting hot in here okay it's just me I'll be going now
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:37 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's quite a lot of subtlety and strategy going on that you aren't going to pick up on from a few clips. Generally like boxing, but with the long boring parts taken out. If you don't like boxing you probably won't like UFC though.
posted by TungstenChef at 4:40 PM on November 14, 2008

I will admit I have only watched small snippets of it but I don't get it. It seems to be two guys beating each other to a pulp by any means necessary..... It doesn't seem terribly sporting.

You hit pretty much everything right there. If you're really interested in the sport watch some more, watch entire fights. Read about the fighters and the extraordinary training they go through to be able to excel in sport that would kill most people. MMA are not new, and intense fighting for sport is not unique. If it doesn't appeal to you after really exposing yourself to it, it simply doesn't appeal to you. I, personally, cannot conceive of why any sentient being would watch basketball at any skill level. Like everything, it comes down to personal tastes.
posted by Science! at 4:45 PM on November 14, 2008

If you don't like boxing, you won't like UFC

I find boxing boring as fuck, but I quite like UFC. I watched the first few seasons of Ultimate Fighter, though I can't keep up with the who's who of the normal pay per view stuff.

As others have suggested, there is a lot of strategy involved in the matches, but it's tempered by the fact that someone can just knock the other guy out, so there's a lot of spontaneity as well.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:47 PM on November 14, 2008

It seems to be two guys beating each other to a pulp by any means necessary..... It doesn't seem terribly sporting.

That's the appeal right there. UFC markets itself as a kind of level playing field, "real world" test of competing fighting styles. It isn't, and a lot of the hype is bullshit, but it has an appeal because (a) viewers feel like it settles arguments about whose style is best and/or (b) it's closer to a bloodsport than more controlled fighting sports like boxing, judo, etc.
posted by rodgerd at 4:48 PM on November 14, 2008

I'm a boy, did martial arts for years, and really don't like UFC - I find K1 much more enjoyable.
posted by The Monkey at 5:13 PM on November 14, 2008

1) Please note that there were/are two distinct eras in the UFC. The initial fights were more of the "who would win if a karate guy took on a judo guy" type thing. A lot of people liked this phase, because there was the thrill of the unknown. The later fights were after the initial promotion company went tits up and new investors brought the competition in line with what could possibly be allowed by sanctioning bodies. (A good place to get a quick rundown of this is in the special features of the movie "Redbelt".) Which meant gloves, time limits, etc.

There are some people who like the earlier stuff and some who like the earlier stuff and the newer stuff, but I've never met anyone who likes the UFC only in its second incarnation.

2) A suggestion then: get a hold of the tape (or DVD, if it exists) of UFC4 (from the first era). The final match, between Dan "The Beast" Severn and Royce "The R Is Pronounced Like an H" Gracie is universally considered a high point in Ultimate Fighting. If you don't like that, you can safely say that you probably won't like UFC at all. If you can't find a copy of this fight, watch "Redbelt". There's enough of an interesting story there (if you like Mamet) that you won't feel as if it's a waste of time if you don't enjoy the fight scenes. The fights are choreographed, but give a good feel of what a really good UFC match is like. Others have explained what the attraction is, but on some level, you have to feel it when you watch it, and "snippets" won't cut it.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:24 PM on November 14, 2008

Agreeing with the gay porn in an arena. Boxing does nothing for me. UFC fighters on the other hand have body types that appeal more to my taste... and some of them wear really tight or short shorts (so they can lift those legs up for some kicks). And then they grapple and wrestle and get all touchy-feely.

Roger "El Matador" Huerta = Mmm.

Once they start drawing massive amounts of blood I'm immediately turned off.
posted by simplethings at 5:25 PM on November 14, 2008

Boxing is just too removed from the real-world situations to be interesting, while UFC is more like what would happen if two guys got in a no-holds-barred streetfight, and thus can, theoretically, be educational at times.

Not really an UFC fan, but that's the intellectual attraction. Of course, there's also the visceral attraction that boxing and pro wrestling offer, two guys beathing the crap out of each other.
posted by troy at 5:35 PM on November 14, 2008

I'm not a big fan either, but some of my friends are. I expressed to these friends essentially the same sentiments as you did above, and one of them said that the appeal, to him, was that the level of sportsmanship was higher than anything he'd seen in any other sport. ie the level of respect the participants have for each other is quite high, in his opinion.

I'm not saying I agree with him, but that's what he told me.
posted by number9dream at 5:40 PM on November 14, 2008

My theory.
UFC is the closest thing to a "anything goes" sport there is (that's legal). Humans are animals. Men have an animalistic instinct to compete and we live vicariously through watching sports, nothing ground breaking. What sort of competition are our primal brains looking for? A good game of cricket? No, fighting! All sports are more or less ways of expressing this need to fight for mates.

Many homophobes on ask.metafilter today if you ask me. It's easy for us computer geeks to look at in shape guys or jocks and call them names from the safety of the web.
posted by wolfkult at 5:43 PM on November 14, 2008

I tolerate UFC but, like some other commenters, find Boxing to be boring on the whole.

Part of this appreciation likely comes from my limited mixed martial arts background. I agree that, without experience with the nuance and understanding of move setups, UFC fights can seem like just two street brawlers going at it.

But then again, some fights I see really just do feature street brawlers who maybe received an intro on ground grappling. Maybe.

The guard is not only a defensive position, goddamnit!
posted by thisisnotbruce at 5:45 PM on November 14, 2008

It seems to be two guys beating each other to a pulp by any means necessary

Actually, this is probably why you don't like it. You're watching it without any context. If I were to watch any sport without any context, I probably wouldn't be able to muster much interest in it either. But the thing is, as boys, we all played these sports and understand the fundamentals that make them up, so we can understand the techniques and strategy that is being employed. I actually didn't understand MMA when I first started watching it, so I didn't really like it. I think I liked going to the bar and getting drunk with my buddies in a rowdy environment. Thinking back on a lot of those fights, I don't really remember who won or how. But when I started following what they were doing, learning the BJJ submissions, grappling and takedown defense techniques, and started doing Muay Thai myself, it became really entertaining to watch a good fight.

Also, the UFC is not MMA. The UFC has rules that favor standing up and striking, among others. Different fighting organizations have different fighting techniques because of the rules that are imposed, and understanding those is pretty essential. Also, the UFC is the little shitty kid who everyone is friends with only because he's the only kid on the block with the football. As soon as somebody is able to afford a football, we won't have to listen to Dana White's inane musings much more.

tl;dr: you don't like it cuz you don't know what they're doing.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:52 PM on November 14, 2008

Seconding the Redbelt recommendation. I don't go out of my way to watch UFC events, but the movie is absolutely awesome.
posted by desjardins at 5:53 PM on November 14, 2008

I, a woman, got my husband addicted. Then I got all my friends addicted, too. I don't like boxing - even kickboxing - as a spectator sport.

For me, the love of UFC/MMA stems from the fact that the majority of the guys are unbelievable athletes. They've managed to train in a variety of martial arts (hence the name "mixed martial arts") in addition to having general fighting skills and tactics. They train hard!

It is violent. It's bloody and it's sweaty and it's fabulous homoerotic to boot! But the one thing I keep coming back to is the skill.

The longer I watch, the more moves I come to recognize (commentators help, initially) and the more I come to see which fighters have which particular skills/style. I start to predict the fights based on my knowledge of certain fighters' skills. I'm at the point now, a few years later, where I often start yelling at the screen with my own ideas as to how the fighters should proceed .. ("FOOT STOMP! OHMYGOD, FOOTSTOMP!")

My husband got interested because he kinda' had to watch with me if he wanted to spend time with me on certain nights of the week. My friends, for the most part, got interested due to the homoerotic nature - and now are addicted to the skill involved.

As much as it appears to be a bunch of guys in a ring beating the living snot out of each other, there really IS a lot more going on.
posted by VioletU at 5:54 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

It seems that part of the reason you don't understand your blah reaction to UFC, is that you have the view of gender that leads you to announce that you're "basically a man with DD boobs".

Perhaps you're a little bit invested in your identity as Awesome Big-Racked Chick Who Loves Guy Stuff and Gets Along With Men Better than Women, and it's confusing to run up against something you perceive as stereotypically male, that just doesn't appeal to you.
posted by Coatlicue at 5:54 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Many homophobes on ask.metafilter today if you ask me. It's easy for us computer geeks to look at in shape guys or jocks and call them names from the safety of the web.

I don't see where you're getting this. People are commenting on the attractiveness (to them) of the fighters. At least one of the commenters is openly gay. No one is calling anyone names.
posted by desjardins at 5:55 PM on November 14, 2008

It appeals to me because I am tough and strong and athletic and train hard, but what I am physically and mentally capable of can't even begin to compete with what these athletes are capable of. Combat sports is the essence of sport to me. Team sports boiled down to a one-on-one matchup, fists and submissions substituted for balls and sticks. It's gruesome and powerful and compelling.

And while I know "UFC is NOT MMA", I like UFC because it made the sport accessible to me. Without UFC a very, very large percentage of the MMA fanbase would not exist.

I like the way the UFC is run. Payouts are not great so fighters must stay active. The top fighters are fighting at least 2 times per year as opposed to one big fight every two years like in boxing. There are only five weight divisions so athletes get shuttled into fewer divisions resulting in more frequent compelling matchups. And I especially like the egalitarian nature of the scheduling. If you win you fight the next guy up. If you lost you fight the guy coming up behind you.

I love watching matches where the fighters have respect for each other (which is usually the case). Fist bumping before the fight, extensive apologies for fouls, and hugging-it-out post-fight no matter the result is commonplace. Only a fellow fighter can know for true what one goes through to train for the fights.

And it's real, actual fighting. It takes courage, lots of courage to step into a ring and willingly fight someone. Even though I want him to lose I must say I have great respesct for Brock Lesnar bringing his game to the UFC.
posted by vito90 at 6:09 PM on November 14, 2008

Also forgot one thing. After every George St. Pierre, Roger Huerta, or Chuck Liddell fight I know when we get home my girlfriend is going to have something in store for me. It usually ends up with me tapping out.
posted by vito90 at 6:13 PM on November 14, 2008

I think the UFC is confusing when you first watch it. There are so many fighting styles, new terms for submission types, and things move pretty quick. You have to watch several matches before you start to see the patterns and learn the lingo.

Like most sports, I enjoy them more as I understand why it's difficult, and I start to learn the personalities/people. Watching The Ultimate Fighter reality show started to introduce me to the people in the sport and really got me sucked in. I am now taking BJJ lessons and enjoy watching it more all the time.

My last statement would be - if you aren't into watching people beat each other up that's ok. It's not a reflection of your girlness. (I say that as a girl who also likes boy stuff better than girl stuff) I have plenty of guy friends who wont watch boxing or UFC because they are just anti-violence.
posted by jopreacher at 6:15 PM on November 14, 2008

I love seeing two guys, scantily clad, take a few swings at each other, miss, and then fall to the floor for a 20 minute grappling / pin session.
posted by wfrgms at 6:17 PM on November 14, 2008

I'm a UFC fan. Or more accurately, i'm a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fan and the UFC happens to be the largest organization offering MMA events.

MMA is a very complex sport. In my opinion, it's a mix of 3 different exercises: striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. Almost all MMA fighters are proficient in these 3 areas to some degree. And there are two places where most of the fighting occurs: when both fighters ers are on their feet, and when both fighters are on the ground. Some MMA organizations allow standing fighters to hit people that are on the ground (kicking somone while they're down), but the UFC does not. The UFC has several rules like that which are intended to protect the fighters.

Striking includes boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. It is the art of hitting, kicking, and evading while standing. Of course each of these specific types of striking have their own intricacies and methods, each with it's own set of strategies. Boxing you know, and kickboxing you know, and muay thai is just a specific form of kickboxing. Muay Thai has a lot more focus on kicking rather than the boxing, and also has an emphasis on using the knees. A great fighter will mix all 3 of these techniques, but most fighters usually just excel at one. Some good fighters actually don't strike well at all, but use the other two MMA exercises to win.

Wrestling includes "regular" wrestling, greco-roman wrestling, judo, sambo, and more. Wrestling lets the fighter either take down the other fighter to the ground, or prevent the other fighter from taking you down to the ground. It gives you control over where the fighting takes place: standing up or on the ground. Fighters use this to their advantage in that good strikers use wrestling to keep the fight standing, and good jiu-jitsu fighters use it to take other fighters down.

Jiu-Jitsu is the main fighting skill used when both fighters are on the ground. MMA Jiu-jitsu is slightly different than the "official" martial arts skill. In MMA they do not wear gi which generally provides a lot more grip and allows fighters to attempt a wider range of moves. Jiu-Jitsu is a skill that puts another fighter in a position where they will either need to tap out (e.g. give up), or pass out (literally go unconscious) and thus are called "submission" moves. Typical jiu jitsu moves are chokes and joint locks.

So, the fun part for me is to watch fighters who have varying physical, mental, and martial arts ability match up against each other. It's fun to watch a weaker fighter out smart and beat a fighter who is much stronger. It's fun to watch a great boxer get beat by a mediocre fighter who is just well rounded in all aspects. It's fun to watch fighters prey on their opponents expectations and play mind games.

As for safety, the UFC has changed a lot since it started. There have been many rules added to protect the fighters (as much as they can be in a fight), and there are enforced weight classes so a 300lb guy isn't fighting a 150lb guy. No blows are allowed from a standing fighter to a fighter who is on the ground, no blows are allowed to the back of the head, etc. There has been some evidence that MMA is even safer than boxing. This doesn't really surprise me in that when players are "slightly" knocked out in boxing, they are given time to recover (10 second count) to come back and continue fighting - and potentially get knocked out again. In MMA, if a fighter gets "slightly" knocked out, the fight is almost always over. Thus, the amount of total punches a fighter takes in a night will be a lot higher in a boxing match. And it's been shown that the real damage done in fighting is the repeated blows to the head.

on preview: people posted a lot of this above, but i typed it out already so here you go =)
posted by escher at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

I am a casual fan of the UFC, via my friends I think any homoerotic appeal of the UFC has to be measured against the availability of other outlets for this tendency. A UFC pay-per-view is fairly expensive, while a full roster of pornography and other materials is available virtually free on the Internet.

As a sport, its not unlike many other sports. UFC provides a spectacle (the cage, the crowd, the celebs) as well as some means of displaying the limits of human potential.

The desire to see large scale athletic competition in order see which people, groups or tribes are superior/favoured by the gods (ie: the Olympics), is primal and tribal and sacred to many cultures (including most Western European societies, pre-Christian; the ancestors of most people reading these words).

I am not a big fan, but I see some obvious appeal.
posted by Deep Dish at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2008

I am a big MMA fan and it is actually the only sport I have ever followed in my entire life. I find sports boring in general, especially team sports. If you don't understand why watching 2 men fight eachother with as little rules as possible, then you don't understand human nature. This is an instinct that we share with the rest of the animal kingdom you could say. This is why I find it very odd when people are talking about how barbaric it is. Fighting has been around forever and will continue to be around forever. Its kind of the same thing when people are denouncing sexual stuff. Hello, human nature. It seems pretty hardcore at first but thats just because we are used to things that are so much more PG. This is as real as it gets yet at the same time is as safe and regulated as any other sport. Safer than boxing according to many for example. It can be enjoyed on an instinctive level but it can also be enjoyed on a very cerebral level as it is a battle of tactics, skill, technique, will, endurance, etc etc. This is why I like it.
posted by dino terror at 6:55 PM on November 14, 2008

I see I didn't have a terribly accurate or fair view of what UFC. It sound much more regulated and 'sportsmanlike' than I anticipated, which I think is what was holding me up, so these answers have been great! On top of that, I never even saw it for its "two incredibly built men wearing very little" appeal. LOL
posted by gwenlister at 6:56 PM on November 14, 2008

It's the most 'complete' form of combat practiced professionally. Any UFC champ would destroy any boxing champ in the same weight class. So basically, the top MMA fighter=the baddest dude in their weight class, in ALL sports. Why? More weapons. They understand how to use, and defend against more styles than anybody else.

One reason that the UFC was slow to catch on is that a lot of the grappling is somewhat esoteric. If you don't understand that the fighter on the bottom is currently setting up a choke, how do you appreciate the sport? Boxing and kickboxing have an easy intinctual appeal-don't get hit, hit the other guy. So even for spectators who don't understand any of the nuances of boxing or kickboxing, it's easy to understand who's winning. If you don't understand the submissions and throws that grapplers are using, it's hard to understand the action.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 7:09 PM on November 14, 2008

The repeated comments about what amazing athletes they are and how hard they train are truely strange... boxers, sprinters, hockey players... no training at all? just an easy ride? weird.

I have a few friends who like UFC and after some exposure I have to agree with the other half of the comments above, COMPLETELY homo-erotic, I have yet to see ANY technique or skill, other than being tough as nails, it's 90% which mostly naked sweaty guy can sit on to of the other mostly naked sweaty guy the longest.

Boxing, on the other hand, truely is everything UFC fans seem to think ultimate gaying is.
posted by Cosine at 9:28 PM on November 14, 2008

^ thing about boxing, though, is if you throw a jab at someone with the right martial arts training, your opponent is going to return your arm back to you after having detached it at the elbow. UFC requires the fighters to know the actual limits and attack points of the human body to a much greater degree than boxers, or hockey players for that matter.
posted by troy at 3:07 AM on November 15, 2008

Late to the party but I wanted to pop in and say that you should really check out Kazushi Sakuraba. Dude's from a Japanese professional wrestling background and he's one hell of a showman. His epic (no time limit) match against Royce Gracie is a pretty good place to start and here's a highlight reel. He pulls out all sorts of wacky maneuvers that your average MMA fighter probably wouldn't even attempt in the gym.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 7:56 AM on November 17, 2008

« Older Experiences with Disqus or IntenseDebate on...   |   Where should I get married? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.