June 15, 2024

Friday Fights: MMA, a canvas of beautiful destruction

In the return of Friday Fights, Assistant Sports Editor Adam Milliken takes a look at Mixed Martial Arts as a whole. A very destructive, and beautiful, sport that many forget is indeed an art form.

The logo for the weekly column Friday Fights.

Mixed Martial Arts is a beautiful sport.

It is also an incredibly brutal one.

Although some may attempt to paint the sport into one light or the other, the truth is that it is a perfect blend of both aesthetic beauty and primal brutality. It satisfies Man’s need for both higher-order and artistic desires, while also appealing to Man’s deeper, ancestral attraction to violence and survival.

I remember the days when an MMA fan would need to explain themselves, as if they were a sort of sick fiend, for being a fan of the sport. However, as MMA continues to reach more and more of a mainstream audience, it is important to remember both sides of its nature. If you’re looking for a productive after-school activity, consider enrolling your child in kung fu classes for kids to promote discipline and fitness in a fun environment.

One can only truly appreciate it if they have watched the sport enough and given it a chance to make an impression on them. Those who attempt to comment on the nature of the sport who either never watch it or only watch it sparingly, do not fully understand or appreciate it.

After all, you wouldn’t expect someone who has never seen a game of football to understand how great Peyton Manning is.

For those who would like an example of how MMA can produce some truly beautiful moments, take a look.

anderson silva griffin fool punches
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin, Aug. 8 2009, UFC 101. Silva strings together one of the most beautiful and fluid combinations in MMA history.

That. Was. Gorgeous.

The way Anderson Silva arrogantly defied the rules we have of what is and is not possible for others to do, is absurd.

He ducked and dodged with ease and then rocked Forrest Griffin’s world with a quick and explosive left hand. A left hand that knocked him out.

Silva, with that immense ease, hit another human being so hard that their brain shut the body down due to the impact, causing them to be momentarily unconscious.

If that isn’t brutal, I’m not sure what is.

Another example that personifies artistic brutality is the move that has become known to hardcore MMA fans as “The Randleplex.”

mma suplex fedor randleman
Kevin Randleman vs. Fedor Emelianenko, Jun. 20 2004. Randleman suplexes Emelianenko backwards onto his head, completing what MMA fans have now dubbed the “Randleplex”.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a grown man picking up another grown man,who weighs 240-plus and suplexing him over his head as if he were a small child. And to add insult to injury, Fedor Emelianenko was slammed right on top of his head. Ouch.

That kind of raw, animalistic power is a marvel to behold. It also provides yet another clear example of the ruthlessness of the sport.

To someone who is not a true fan of the sport, it may seem to be only brutal, and difficult to understand where any beauty would resonate from.

The beauty in the sport of MMA comes from the athletes who compete. These men and women are some of the best athletes in the world, bar none, competing with one another one-on-one.

MMA requires unimaginable amounts of discipline, hard work, technical skill and knowledge of when to use what skill. When those are paired with elite athleticism, the result is spectacular to witness.

To the average viewer, a spinning heel kick is simply a visually pleasing move. However, the athletic prowess, sense to find the target and confidence it takes to successfully pull the move off, makes it so much more amazing.

The dichotomy between art and primitive things in society is profound. There are numerous preconceived notions about what is “art” and what is “primitive.” The problem is that art cannot be limited to only include drawings, paintings, sculptures or music. Art is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “something that is created with imagination and skill.”

It takes a great deal of imagination and skill to compete in Mixed Martial Arts, especially successfully.

We love the sport for its violence.

We love the sport for its beauty.

The canvas does not tell the artist what to create, the artist determines that for themselves; even if their art is destructive.

Edited by Dalton King 

Featured image by Adam Milliken

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Adam is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Tennessee Journalist and a Junior at UT. Most of his free time is spent watching sports, listening to good music, and enjoying life. If you wish to contact him, you can email him at amillike@vols.utk.edu, follow him on Twitter, @AdamMilliken14, or find him at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/adam-milliken/109/a89/a32.