Fight Porn

2013 has been an incredible year to be a fan of MMA and more specifically the UFC. After 2012 was a tough year due to countless injuries leading to cancelled fights or replacement opponents, as well as one event that was cancelled altogether, 2013 has been an amazing bounce back year.

Overall there have been some great fights, the evolution of the women’s division continues to add an exciting new aspect and at the top end we have witness some absolute all time classics.

It could be argued that the three best fights from 2013 would easily have been the fight of the year for practically any other year.

I write this today because we have just witnessed the third of these classics and with the incredible year end card featuring two title rematches, it is possible the all-time classics aren’t done yet.

Today we saw Kiwi/Samoan/Aussie legend Mark Hunt take on recent title challenger Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in Brisbane. Both fighters have great power, but have come up short when taking on the elite of the heavyweight division such as Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. But they are both monster human beings and just below the level of the actual title.

Most thought a fight between these two would not require the additional two rounds allocated to main events and that likely it wouldn’t even go the usual three rounds. Basically we all expected someone to go to sleep relatively early.

But that was not the case as for 25 minutes these two monoliths beat the living shit out of each other until they were both wearing crimson masks and barely able to stand. It was the sort of fight where those who hate combat sports would start complaining or feel sick, whereas those who love combat sports were basically sharing a collective orgasm.

This was fight porn.

The final result was a majority draw and everyone online seems to be fine with that decision, which is rare when a fight is ruled a draw. I personally was hoping it would be a draw as we waited for the decision and am glad the judges agreed. No one deserved to lose that fight.

The other two fight of the year contenders were Jon Jones defending his Light Heavyweight title against Alexander Gustafsson. That fight was less gory but basically the highest level of MMA that can be reached by two fighters at the absolute apex of the sport. It was technically perfect, but still very violent. Jones won the decision, but many felt Gustafsson won and we likely will see the two fight again sometime in 2014.

The other contender for fight of the year was a lightweight bloodbath between two fighters who always put on a show. People were hyping Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez as a potential fight of the year contender from the minute it was announced, but usually that sort of hype leads to disappointment. Somehow, in this instance, the hype was superseded if anything.

Diego Sanchez could not be tougher. In terms of the intangible skills like ‘chin’ and ‘toughness’ Sanchez, much like Hunt, would be a 17 out of 10. Both were massive underdogs and both were nearly knocked out at multiple points during their fights. They also both nearly managed to come back and win the fight outright.

Sanchez in the end couldn’t quite get there, with Melendez taking a deserved victory, but Sanchez did no harm to his standing.

The thing is, there is no wrong answer to which of these three fights was fight of the year as they both were a perfect 10/10. At that point it’s just a case of personal preference and at this stage I still can’t decide which I would say was the best. All of the above maybe?

Dana White has made a point of telling fighters they need to be more entertaining and won’t hesitate to cut fighters who aren’t entertaining the minute they take a backwards step. I don’t blame him for this. The UFC employs over 400 fighters and it is so hard to give them all enough fights as well as sign up and coming fighters deserving a chance.

Entertainment matters and 2013 has been an incredible year for entertaining MMA fights. Outside the UFC there was the rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler in Bellator, who in 2011 had one of the best fights ever. The rematch was incredible too.

Fighters keep raising the bar for each other and the winners from that are us fans.

Not everyone can be Mark Hunt or Diego Sanchez and we can’t expect them to be, but as long as we continue to get wars like this, MMA will continue to grow and become more and more mainstream and popular. That will then lead to these amazing warriors getting even more money and after watching a fight like the one today, whatever they were paid wasn’t enough.

So for today, bless you Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva. You made today that much better for this fight fan.

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