What I learned about myself watching my first fight night

The other night I attended my very first live fight…

Anyone who knows me would think that was out of character – I’m not your average blood sport kinda gal. But I was there to support a couple of (unrelated) mates who were part of a reality type internet show called Wimp2Warrior.  You know the type, where they take your average Joe from off the street, train them in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) for 6 months or so, and then set them out to fight against each other. And from hundreds of applicants from all around Australia, I happen to know two! How could I not go?

I can honestly say I was a bit apprehensive. I had seen a few snippets of fights on TV (as my bro is your average blood sport enthusiast) and it was a bit gory for my liking. The sound of a punch hitting skin is not really one of my favourite sounds, and these nutcases are so determined not to “tap out” that quite often broken and dislocated limbs are the only things that stop the fights. And having to watch two people you actually know stepping into the cage… That’s just a different story. Luckily for me they weren’t fighting against each other, despite being in the same weight division.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself hoarse after the first round from yelling –
“Go Adz!”
“Kick him!”

Adz in the ring

Adz (blue) in the ring

Granted I’d had a beverage or two, but there I was bellowing at the top of my lungs, telling a friend to hurt someone else! And it didn’t end there. I screamed my support right up until the point he tapped out (guillotine move apparently), then picked 2 strangers to go for before cheering my little heart out for my other friend, Vaughan (who also lost in a split decision by a single point). It was thrilling, it was stressful but I was having a grand old time.


Vaughn (left) waiting to hear the points decision

After we left the event my hubby and I were discussing how weird it was that I had gotten so into it. Maybe it was the personal connection? No, that wasn’t it because it took me no time at all to find some strangers to support. Maybe I’m just a sports supporter – I love watching a bit of rugby, a bit of tennis, and I’ve been known to yell a few words of support. But “kick him”?! Or maybe I was a blood sport kinda gal…

I started thinking about the ancient Roman gladiators. I always thought it was disgusting that people would go and watch people fight to the death. Sometimes they had the power to affect whether the gladiators got to live or die, and it was not uncommon for them to vote for a death. Would I have been one of those people, one who would get so caught up in the atmosphere that I’d vote for an execution? I can be so self-righteous sometimes, and I like to think my values and ethics are first class. I had really caught myself out.

I still can’t explain the inner blood nut that I seemed to awaken the other night, but I guess I knew that they’d never let anyone get really hurt – if anyone looked like they were in serious trouble the trainers would throw in the towel. Despite the production value of the Wimp 2 Warrior finale, and the fact that I personally knew two of the competitors, being there live actually felt more disconnected than watching it on TV. You’re further away, you can’t hear any of the noises going on in the ring, and you have a cage between you and the fighters. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

So for now I’ll take comfort in the fact that I still get grossed out by watching MMA fights on TV. Surely that means that the ancient Roman Cat didn’t get caught up in the hysteria and send gladiators to their death!

NB: I’d like to give a special shout out to Vaughan and Adz. I cannot imagine how hard you boys trained for those 6 months (although I’m about to see on the show!) and how much courage it would have taken for you to step out in that ring knowing that no matter what you’re going to be hurting the next day. Well done – absolutely incredible stuff.