No MoreFreak Shows!

I’m one pissed off hombre today! I’m simply stunned at the stupidity and short-sightedness of some in our sport. What has me so ticked off at the world today? What has me acting as if you-know-what was in my Cheerios? Two words: Jose Canseco! The fine folks at DREAM recently showcased him in a fi ght with 7’2” Hong Man Choi, a sideshow in his own right up to a point, but only because of his size and not because of his commitment to the sport.

Have we not learned anything? Are the people with power to propel MMA to the next level blind to our past criticisms? Memo…To all promoters of major mixed martial arts events: Stop marketing freak shows! Stop degrading our sport in exchange for the quick shock-value buck.

We don’t need it. We’re doing just fine without some circus-freak sideshow or gimmick to scream at people, “Hey, come and check us out! Yoo-hoo, over here!” We are legitimate! We are true! We are revered by even the most grizzled and accomplished fellow athletes. So why do promoters act as if we still had to use a catch? If we don’t need “Two men enter, one man leaves” anymore, we certainly don’t need to turn for help to a juiced-up meathead who has decided that his hero is Sammy “The Bull” Gravano.

Juiceheads like Canseco care nothing about our sport, or even about putting in the proper training, blood and sweat to become a serious player. The man is a joke and an embarrassment to the word “athlete.” He’s a bleeder and a sideshow freak who simply used us to make a buck. And we allowed him to! Shame on you DREAM! Shame on you! We didn’t need to bring in a disgrace, the Kato Kaelin of the reality tv and sports worlds, and allow him the privilege of competing in the toughest sport we know. That’s right, folks. It’s a privilege to be a player in our world, not an entitlement. The folks at DREAM should be ashamed for having set the sport back, even if it was set back only in the minds of a few.

Choi vs. Canseco is garbage. What’s wrong with harvesting the wealth of talent that will continue to improve as our sport garners more positive attention? The young wrestlers, boxers and martial artists who will make up our future generation of MMAers can look to the Anderson Silvas, BJ Penns, Randy Coutures, Georges St. Pierres, and Fedor Emelianenkos of the world.

Seriously, would you rather pay money to see Jose Canseco or to witness the start of a promising championship reign for Lyoto Machida? It just makes me sick that, even after MMA has won in the court of public opinion, some still feel the need to turn the courtroom into a circus.

Look, I have no problem with Canseco trying to become a professional MMA fi ghter. But do it the right way! And promoters – don’t give guys like Canseco a chance to participate in an expensive freak show. This sport should be marketed for what it is: the most grueling contest in the world by some of the baddest, most dynamic warriors on the planet.

I remember telling Johnnie Morton before his fi ght in K-1/EliteXC that he had no idea what it feels like in there. I don’t care if you’ve played in front of a crowd of 100,000 before, I said to him. It’s nothing like this! You think you’ve felt nerves? No, no, no! Not even close! I pleaded with him to go take a few smokers before stepping onto such a big stage. Go feel what it’s like to really hit and be hit — to get truly teed off on. Go feel the type of butterfl ies that dart in your guts in this arena, and learn what our world is really like before stepping up.

Kimbo Slice? Sure, give him a chance on undercards, and let him earn his way to glory. Unfortunately, the Gary Shaws of the world have focused on the dollar rather than on the integrity of this sport. You think Shaw honestly felt that putting a hyped PR stunt like Slice out there as many viewers’ first taste of MMA would help our battle? I can’t tell you how many people I had to plead with after that to give our sport another chance. Thanks, Mr. Shaw. Thanks, DREAM. Thanks, K-1.

You all want to dethrone the UFC? Fine. Then start taking your athletes and matchups as seriously as it does. Brock Lesnar, for instance, had a legitimate amateur wrestling pedigree to begin with, as well as a fight in a major organization, before signing and getting a few fights with the UFC. He trains his ass off. As far as I’m concerned, he cut his teeth enough. And he’s done nothing to bring disgrace upon himself in any other area of his life.

Canseco? Can’t say the same about him. Leave the sideshows to Ringling Bros. and the real men to the world of MMA!

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