On Saturday, for the first time, I watched UFC. I’ve been out places while it’s been on, and it’s not been hard to keep my eyes away. It generally doesn’t jive with my values. Violence for pleasure is not something I particularly enjoy, and I often have to close or cover my eyes so that I don’t see certain things. It had been recommended to me that I should give the series Breaking Bad a try, but I only made it to the third episode as it was far too graphic, and I spent a fair amount with my eyes covered, worried about when such scenarios would be off the screen to be able to worry about the plot that was supposedly happening around me.
I found myself with some extra time on Saturday though, after I had volunteered and before I was to head over to my friend’s birthday celebration. I didn’t want to drive all the way home (out of the city) so I gave my dad a call to see if he was home. He wasn’t, but my brother M happened to be, so I headed over to hang out for a bit. He was just sitting around waiting for the fight to happen. Apparently this was a moment in history. It was the first night that ladies would be allowed to fight in UFC.
I didn’t think much of it. I thought that I might be around for part of the showing but that I was going to be heading off as soon as my friend gave me word he was on his way to the pub for his birthday. I had a slice of pizza and chatted. Then UFC started. I continued to chat, play with my phone, and asked a couple of questions about what was going on on the screen. I wasn’t really paying attention but I was aware of what was going on.
Then somehow, and I have no idea how it came about, I was completely enthralled with what was going on. It was a like a bad train wreck that I just couldn’t look away from. These people… They were beating each other. There was blood drawn, fists pummelling one another, legs striking out. It was violent. It was more violent than anything I’ve seen in years by choice without covering my eyes.
And it was uncomfortable for me. It’s not that I felt like cheering for anyone in particular. Yet I watched and continued to watch. I described it to my brother as being like “a thriller.” I’m not much for that kind of literature, but the books that I’ve read that fall into that category have always completely sucked me in, unrelenting until I was finished and not really sure how I felt about the whole situation.
So I ask… What DO people actually like about something like UFC? Why is it entertaining to see people hurt one another? What is it deep inside of us, that even as it makes us uncomfortable, can also make it hard to look away? Or is it because it deals with the uncomfortable and we are forced to confront that in some way when we choose to view this type of entertainment?
I don’t know, but I’d love some insight.