I went to Borders the other night to look for a boxing magazine. They didn't have any. Not a single one. However, they did have at least fifteen different magazines devoted to the ignoble art of what the confused kids of today call "Mixed Martial Arts". Ninja, please.
I first because aware of the creeping infection of "Mixed Martial Arts" (MMA to its adherents) last year when I got the all-channels cable TV package. After a few days of channel-surfing, I gradually became aware that boxing matches were harder to find than they used to be, and even wrestling now seemed to have a diminished role, both of them being eclipsed by this MMA crap.
It was humorous at first. I remember the first time I inadvertently tuned into a PRIDE match. I saw two barefoot men performing a warped and weak sort of bastardized kickboxing that seemed, like Calvinball, a mishmash of various sports randomly stitched together. At random intervals, the kickboxing would abruptly turn into a no-holds-barred wrestling match, but more often than not, it ended up with some sort of headlock between legs, with one guy's face buried squarely in the other guy's privates. Then I thought it must be a joke. Sadly, it wasn't. This poor man's bathhouse floorshow is what passes for serious fight-sports nowadays.
Mr. "Fries" Dockery (whose recent absence from the blog is because he's getting his drum hummed in sunny Hawaii) and I put Boxing above all sports, because of its inherently superior mythic resonance lacking in disciplines that involve chasing after a ball. It's always a good comeback, too, when some redneck gives you the condescending "whut's a-matter, boy, don'tchoo lak the Cats?" or some such similar barroom banter. There's no more gratifying response than to come back with double the condescension and reply that mere "ball" is for wussies and that you prefer the manly pasttime of watching two guys beat the holy hell out of each other (and, of course, betting on the winner).
Now that's American.
- - JSH