July 13, 2009

Integrity & Honor...

...two words that seem to missing from western societies vocabulary. I have witnessed its demise in the service industry, retail world, professional workplace, pretty much across the board here in North America. Integrity and honor often times become severe roadblocks for fame and fortune. As a whole our society holds sensationalism in the highest of esteem, the more crazy and asinine the better!

Combat sports evolved from the martial arts where certain values are taught via the struggle against your worst opponents, whom for the most part one discovers in their training is yourself. I miss the days of Pride Fighting Championships in Japan where the crowd understood what it meant to be a warrior. They understood, and appreciated, the bravery, skill, dedication, and discipline it took for two men to step in front of 90,000 (yes that number is correct especially for some of the super arena's they have over in Japan) people and fight the best of the best in the bad-ass category! And the fighters understood these aspects even more, and they paid their respects and the best man that evening went home a victor with his pride and integrity intact. Tact did not show up Saturday evening at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas.

Take Yoshihiro Akiyama in his UFC debut Saturday night for instance. When he entered the ballroom Akiyama and his five man corner all got down on their knees and bowed old school style in full seza, foreheads to the ground. Same when he entered the ring. In his pre-fight interview even the normal shit talking was absent. Akiyama simply stated, "...I hope to show my warrior spirit and heart tonight while fighting a great opponent." No trash. No attitude. Simple respect and honor prior to testing himself in the heat of combat. Integrity and honor.

Frank Mir after his defeat to Brock Lesnar was asked by Joe "Dipshit" Rogan what he thought of Lesnar's antics, and all Mir had to say was "..he caught me and beat me. I guess I have some things I need to work on." Mir got beat. Got beat fair and square, and made no qualms nor excuses about his loss. Integrity and honor.

If you have not seen or heard the debacle Brock Lesnar gave the world in his temper tantrum Saturday night, Youtube or Google it, as I have a little to much pride and self worth to shit upon my own blog by repeating his bullshit antics once more. But it should be clear that I do not blame Lesner. No no! He knows he is trailer trash with no skill and is simply trying to make a buck to support his white trash family and make sure they have a constant supply of Coors Light (really... do I need to say more???) for the rest of their lives. Brock clearly has no self respect nor worth, let alone for his fellow MMA fighters (all you need to perk up and get involved because this is your industry that is being affected), his superiors, UFC sponsors, and lets not forget his wife and kids!

Dana White has wanted this from day one and he is now manifesting his dream. White was not pissed at Brock's actions, he was pissed he shit talked the UFC's main sponsor, Bud Light. White will act the part but in the end he has wanted to compete on par with the likes of the WWE, and has slowly been turning the UFC (keep in mind the UFC is pretty much the ONLY pro level MMA organization that is significant) into sport entertainment. The recent signing of Kimbo Slice to the next season of TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) is another case in point. Another no talent thug who is propelled to the top (via the now defunct Elite XC) because he is a spectacle, a freak, a ticket!

This quote from White during his interview with Alex Marvez of Fox Sports summarizes his attitude well:

Still, White claims he "couldn't care less" about his legacy.

"The fighters are the ones who are going to be remembered," White said. "Who was the champion? Who was the best? The only thing that matters to me is when I'm in that (coffin), my kids get up and say he was a good dad. That's your legacy."

White is solely concerned with making money. Not the integrity of the sport. MMA as a sport. Nor the children who emulate these amazing athletes and want to participate in one of the best sports out there for a child.

I am not a father, but I was raised by one of the best and I cannot really see where perpetuating the antics by Lesner is remotely leaving a legacy you would want your children to be envious of.

Honestly I have felt disgusted and saddened since Saturday evening. I am not sure where I stand any longer in terms of MMA. The UFC has never realized, or they have realized and just don't give two shits in a bucket, about the influence they have on the sport, the arts represented by the sport, and the people in society who purchase their products. Zuffa and its lap dog Dana White have no respect, integrity, nor honor except to the all mighty dollar. They have single handily built the MMA industry as we know it, and mark my words they will destroy it with the same hand.

The real vulgarity lies in the reflection this debacle leaves on the martial arts and the true warriors within those arts. Unfortunately it is typical that the art is sullied by the people that represent said arts via the mass media. Lets hope MMA can recover and perhaps get its priorities straight. I have my doubts, but one can hope.

Jake

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