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When Blood Comes to Town

Watch your back, Easter bunny, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is coming to town and it wants to kick your ass. As you may have heard, the UFC is making its Houston debut (at the Toyota Center) on this holiest of weekends and generating a significant amount of buzz in the process.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I'm no UFC expert. In fact, I'd say my level of bloodlust is probably below average for a typical American male. Hell, I don't even like fighting in hockey -- hockey fans, if you actually exist, don't try to tell me I just "don't get it." I lived in Canada for ten years, followed the game passionately and know all the arguments. It's just my opinion, okay? If you're looking for a scrap, I suggest you weigh in on the great Clay Aiken debate. Don't get me wrong, I dig boxing and even watched (and enjoyed) the first-ever UFC bouts back when Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock were dominating the octagon. It's just that there's only so much time in the day and, when push comes to shove, my sports calendar is already jam-packed with football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey and the occasional tennis match.

But I have to admit, the escalating excitement surrounding the UFC has me intrigued. I like the fact that its fights aren't fixed, its participants are more accessible to the public and Don King and Jim Lampley aren't involved. Of course, Ultimate Fighting is associated with Joe Rogan and poster-boy Chuck Liddell recently pulled off a damn good Muhammed Ali impression, so I'm not sure just how much credibility it deserves quite yet. Then again, America's big three are the proud owners of Pac-Man Jones, Ron Artest and Barry Bonds. Which sport comes out on top of that steaming pile of ass?

In the end, it just comes down to personal preference. Me? I'm old school. I'm a team guy who prefers the beautiful brutality of eleven dudes working together to stomp someone's face in the mud over the "sweet science" any day of the week. But that doesn't mean I don't harbor a secret admiration for those willing to put everything on the line in the ultimate test of will, strength and machismo. When you get right down to it, that's about as old school as one can get. It's just too bad I already have tickets to the Cards-Astros game Saturday night. Speaking of which, if you really want to witness a hideously violent and vicious beatdown, you'll never see anything more graphic than this. -- Jason Friedman


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