Weighing In on the Next Generation and MMA "Fans"


Disclaimer: This column, as is the case with most things that I write, is an MMA op-ed column. The opinions and views expressed are my own and may not necessarily reflect CBS Sports, the 920 AM affiliate, or insideSTL Enterprises, LLC.

Before I start, I just want to say that the column that is being written at this moment is not directed at every MMA fan there has ever been or the fans who might have differing opinions than me. Without fans buying tickets and Pay-Per-View events there would be no UFC.

To the “fans” (keyboard warriors * again, not fans with different points of view, but rather those who the UFC can NEVER do right by that have to gripe about any and every issue or social media post*) this one is for you. I love the sport of MMA more than any other person in my life will ever understand. Adrenaline-- that rush of people rising to their feet and roaring at the top of their lungs (like when Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds last night)--that is my addiction.

However, it’s because of every JimBob commenting on their favorite MMA-based Facebook page while they sit there in sweatpants with one hand in a bag of junk food as they take a break from World of Warcraft or the the weekend warriors of MMA that I can’t even stand to read comments anymore. *Weekend warriors: That might be an unfair diss as I actually respect you more for knowing what you’re talking about more so than JimBob. * Forget about commenting myself, because the second I hit “Enter” I instantly receive a notification that I’m a “f***ing moron”.

Be that as it may, I’m now going to share my thoughts on a few things anyway. If you would like, you can continue reading on.

Sage Northcutt- In Dana White: Looking for a Fight the world was first introduced to Sage Northcutt.The 19-year-old won his UFC debut in 0:57, finishing Francisco Trevino with a barrage of strikes and elbows. LITERALLY the day after, Northcutt was being blasted for being considered one of Dana White’s golden geese and mostly for his looks.

I have news for you: Dana isn’t the one who has to get the job done. One thing that I find absurd is that more than their looks, some feel that more than their looks, Northcutt and Paige Van Zant have been pushed thanks to being white. To that I say that Jon Jones (an African-American) was the face of the UFC (before Ronda Rousey) and could have been bigger than he was previously if not for his legal troubles. Check mate!

One fan wrote on Facebook shortly after Northcutt’s last bout that they “hate Northcutt for being too positive.” SERIOUSLY? These are some of the same fans that will call Rousey/ Conor McGregor classless because of their mouth while referencing Georges St. Pierre (who’s a lot like Northcutt in terms of respect and attitude.) That’s looking for something to complain about. I have read that Sage’s father has a criminal past, but Sage is not his father.

Paige Van Zant- Admittedly, this is probably my weakest point as I haven’t seen PVZ fight yet as I’m working my way through the last two years of the UFC footage library. Simply put: SHE’S HOT. Her looks and age (21, the same as myself) have made her incredibly marketable.

While she may look like the typical “I train UFC” stereotype, she wouldn’t be there without some amount of just cause. She admitted after losing to Rose Namajunas that she “didn’t have the technique yet” but has handled everything as professionally as Northcutt. Critique her fights if you are a fan and just want to have a discussion, but it’s not fair to overly criticize athletes that have done what most can only dream of (meaning EVERY fighter/ athlete.)

UFC Athlete Health and Performance Center- This hasn’t been a huge issue with the exception that some fans are saying that the money should go to the fighters. While you can’t have fighting without fighters (who would be insane to fight for free if they didn’t have to) this is FOR creating and bettering MIXED Martial Artists.

Oh and Zuffa, LLC has between 201-500 employee according to LinkedIn. Do you expect all those employees to live on a McDonald’s wage? The people working at McDonald’s can’t even do that. Picture a world where the UFC doesn’t exist but all fighters who have been a part of it do and Bellator is the biggest fish in town. You’d probably have the same issues to complain about. The fighters know what they signed up for and that there are other places to go.

Anything Rousey-related- As a Rousey fan, I GET IT! For a number of various reasons Ronda is not liked by a portion of MMA fans, however large or small that portion may be. They feel she was highly over-exposed. Oh well. If you love her or hate her, even when she got knocked out with a vicious head kick, chances are that you paid for or otherwise got your hands on the PPV. That says it all. $$$

As far as allegations I’ve seen by commenters that she is having oral relations with her boss, I say provide the proof.

Conor McGregor- If you were an athlete in a sport that was PPV-driven, wouldn’t you try to be a salesman too? By the way, McGregor showed Aldo his due respect after their fight.

A lot of times I have seen fans make some well thought out points. MY biggest point is that while the UFC encourages fan involvement by way of social media, if the running of Zuffa was entirely based on the fans nothing would get done. Fans are needed, but you can’t change anything from your couch. "Fans": You do have the ability to turn off your TV. You know that right?

#UFC