Tuesday Morning Rant: The Ultimate Problem

from Nick Suss

March 18, 2014, 3:41 p.m.

WARNING: This Tuesday Morning Rant is intended to be more humorous than analytical. And it isn't actually funny. You've been warned.

So I was watching Friends yesterday. That should come as no surprise. The episodes being shown on TBS contained and escalated most of the main plot points of season three with the final episode directly foreshadowing the controversy of The One at the Beach and The One with the Jellyfish, two all-time great episodes. (This isn’t a sitcomology. I’m going somewhere. Trust me.) But one of the other plot points discussed and wrapped up in this four-episode block I watched was that of Monica’s relationship with Pete Becker.

At the end of the previous season, Monica went through a big breakup with Dr. Richard Burke, yadda yadda yadda, Monica goes into an existential funk. Everything is wrong in her life until she meets Pete, who is a multi-billionaire software developer. They fall in love. But then Pete decides to throw a wrench in the relationship dynamic. Pete decides he wants to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion.

Completely coincidentally, I watched my first full-length UFC event over the past weekend. In all truth, my only prior experience with the league had been that episode of Friends. Surmising to say, I had some misconceptions. But here’s the thing: I think I liked the Friends version better.

This isn’t a rant to call out UFC fans. Ultimate Fighting is definitely a sport just as wrestling or judo or jujitsu are sports. I’m not going to make that argument. Frankly, that’s mostly because UFC fans as a demographic are intimidating people. But I also somewhat believe what I just typed. UFC is a sport. Ish. If I were to refer to my hierarchy chart of “What Is A Sport” I have posted on the inside of my closet, it would be closer to the bottom than the top. But it would still be on the list. But again, that isn’t my rant.

Today I want to rant about why UFC is simultaneously the most exciting and least exciting sport in the world. UFC is the Vine of sports: the reward is extremely high and the risk is relatively low due to the short timeframe, but if you ingest too much, it will suck. And in my mind, this weekend’s series of UFC bouts sucked.

For those of you who didn’t watch, you didn’t miss much. Some skinny buff dudes bled on a mat in an octagon and a dude tore up his knee on national television. Nothing more, nothing less. For people who love to watch sports because of the predictable and time-structure elements of sport, UFC is perfect. But I liked the UFC in Friends better. In Friends there were no weight classes. Pete Becker, played by a then-skinny Jon Favreau, fought a 300-pounds behemoth in his first attempt to become the Ultimate Fighter. In Friends, the only rules in UFC were no eye gouging or fish hooking. In Friends, anyone can hire a former trained assassin, ahem, house painter to be their trainer. And in Friends, people go in full body casts after a fight for breaking their arm and bruising their Adam’s Apple.

Why isn’t UFC more like this?

I propose we go back to that method. Abolishing weight classes would really be ultimate. Can you imagine that? Weight classes make sense in boxing and wrestling. There are rigid rules in those sports. But in such a loosey goosey world such as Ultimate Fighting, why limit people to fighting others their own size? I know, theoretically the bigger person will win. But isn’t that what we all want to see? As Phoebe pointed out in Friends, wrestling is only cool because of the costumes. We want to see this theatricism. (That’s not a word.) We want to see this showmanship. (That is a word.) We want to see some sort of incomparable violence. (That is conjecture.) We want to see a real version of Hulk Hogan wrestling the Iron Sheik. (I’m not sure if Hulk Hogan actually ever wrestled the Iron Sheik. I could verify this, but parentheses are fun.) And the UFC could easily be that.

When I was watching the event, I was instantly struck by how small some of these people were. As a big person myself, I don’t want to see 140-pound dudes beat up on each other. I want to see big dudes do big dude things. I don’t want to see the Flash wrestle Mr. Fantastic. I want to see the Incredible Hulk wrestle the Thing. (I’d take the Hulk in that fight.) But I know what you’re saying right now. whiny voice But I like watching athletic people wrestle. I don’t want to see fat people. It’s a sport, not a lard festival. end whiny voice But you know what? I don’t care. This is my rant. And by the way, the term Lard Festival is offensive. You should be ashamed of yourself.

So this was an unimportant rant. I didn’t have a good idea this week obviously. Stay tuned next week for a real rant. I hope.


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