Back In The U.S.A.
I live in the self-proclaimed best country on earth, and I tend to agree, since I pay taxes here, and refuse to pay for low-quality toiletry items. My grandfather was born here, the son of Russian-Polish immigrants, and had to endure hardships we would never fathom in this day and age. Sure, we have to bow to greedy insurance companies to keep our families safe, but it’s better than being like those hockey playing, snow-ball fighting, maple syrup-swilling Canadians. I really love America, and not just because most people here speak English – we have opportunities and freedoms afforded to us by our forefathers that we may have not landed into had we not been crapped out here, or swam here or been shipped here in a cargo container. I have the right to vote for elected office. I can own a firearm. I can worship the god of my choice, or like the heathen that I am, none at all, and no one can legally stone me to death. Most importantly for me, in my line of work, in many states of this great union, I have the right to put on 4-ounce gloves and punch, kick and choke another grown man on network television. I love America.
Although I have been living here, I’ve been making quite the commute to earn my bread, all the way over to Japan. I know what you are saying, “But Mayhem, you fought in Hawaii one time.” To which I say, “Come on smartypants, most of America doesn’t realize Hawaii is part of the U.S., so let’s just shut your mouth about it.” Point is, I’ve been away from mainland America and out of the public spotlight for quite a while. “But Mayhem, you do Jason Ellis’ radio show on Sirius 28 and XM 55 every Monday — they call it ‘Mayhem Monday!’”
I didn’t even know you had Sirius in your car, smart guy, and you don’t have to plug the Ellis show in my articles, I just meant I haven’t been in front of an American audience on regular television in quite a while. “I WATCH ‘BULLY BEATDOWN’ EVERY THURSDAY! ” OK, now get the fuck out of my article right this minute. Ahem, I have not FOUGHT on TV other than HDNet, which only the hardest of the hardcore have been able to find. Demand your cable provider get it now! And FUCK OFF. I told you to get out of here, or I’m going to kick you down the stairs, Grandpa.
Anyway, sorry about that, I am well aware that other than the most hardcore of the Mayhem Monkeys, most people may not have seen me fight since I got beat up by Georges St-Pierre back when I snuck down to 170. I lost a unanimous decision in a memorable blood battle that netted me $2,000 American dollars, getting licensed cost me $1,200 and I paid my trainer/manager 20 percent. So, I netted $600 to get my face smashed in on television. I realized after I paid my parents’ hotel room, that being famous wasn’t as cool as getting paid. So, I parted ways to fight across the Pacific in Hawaii and Japan.
I’m glad I did this for a few reasons. The most obvious, of course, is that I brought heaps of taxable income from a Japanese corporation, money that we Americans need to kick-start the economy. Also, I can now buy groceries, I don’t have to fight at welterweight, I got my mom LASIK and I got to go to exotic places, meet foreign people and knee them in the head. What I didn’t realize was that while I was behind the bamboo and coconut curtains, my American fans didn’t get to see me compete at all, and I have now become “The Bully Beatdown guy.” I don’t mind that at all, but it’s odd that in the MMA community I’ve always been known as the wacky fighter, and now I have most of my notoriety here in the states not as a fighter, as I’ve been for over 10 years, but as a wacky TV host, catering mostly to the tween boys that watch MTV — and maybe read this article. If that’s the case, put on your jammies and let Uncle Mayhem tell you a story.
Once upon a timeafter my lone UFC fight, in a magical kingdom called Japan, there was this fabled fight organization called “Pride.” You might have heard of it — yes, yes, it was glorious! Giant ring entrances that were like rock concerts, an earsplitting announcer and fighters from all over the world. A legendary brawler named Rampage Jackson did battle there. A champion Greco-Roman wrestler named Dan Henderson grew into a great fighter there, and some chap by the name of Anderson Silva honed the skills that would soon make him unstoppable in an 8-sided cage. Matches were held in a 4-sided ring with a white mat, which was great for the spectators, and the rules allowed for knees to the head of a downed opponent, which was, well, great for the spectators. The company had almost 40 fights, and began to hold shows in the U.S. — the kingdom of the UFC. Pride looked to be a real threat to “The Ultimate” but secretly was facing financial hardships, when suddenly, in a heroic bit of corporate maneuvering, the UFC put together millions of dollars and bought the company, its fighter contracts and its entire tape library in one fell swoop. This was very bad for Uncle Mayhem, because Pride was the only real competitor to the UFC, and due to my flashy entrances and crazy fighting style, Pride wanted me to go to them. This was very good for the UFC, because now MMA fans had only one company to choose from to watch their favorite sport. Do you kids know what a monopoly is? The UFC planned on having Pride shows in Japan, but Pride had played a dirty trick on the UFC. The Japanese wouldn’t let them onto TV there and the fighter contracts were something called “non-transferrable.” What happened was, Pride went sleepy forever and now we can see highlights from the million-dollar library during the UFC. The end. You kids go to sleep now, I’ve gotta check on Grandpa.
Hmm, he’s sleeping. While I’ve been gone fighting west of California (a nap in a plane ride over the Pacific), it seems that a sea of change has occurred. With the death (suicide? murder?) of Pride, the only place for a fighter to fight and be recognized at all is the UFC. If you really want to get famous, you’d better join the cast of The Ultimate Fighter, sign the contract for three years and get to breaking apart the house when the producers wheel in the free alcohol. Even if you don’t win the “six-figure contract” ($100,000 divided by three years) you will still be rewarded with chubby girls at Wal-Mart recognizing you.
Now, you can be a famous tough-guy and not have to shine big D-Effin-Dub-yoo’s shoes — just go to Affliction and … “HA! Affliction is not a fight company anymore! They sponsor UFC fights again! ” Yeah, well there’s always EliteXC. “NOPE, gone gone gone! ” Really, UFC ran them out of business? Goddamn. Ah well, they were dumb for using Kimbo — “Ha! He’s on The ‘Ultimate Fighter’ now! ” Goddamnit Gramps, I told you to get out of my article — get back in your cage! Well, I guess it goes without saying that the USA is still owned by UFC, but much of the top talent hasn’t caved to the pressure of signing with the juggernaut. What that means for you, the consumer, is that now you can watch top-level mixed martial arts on normal television, be it CBS or Showtime.
Strikeforce has quietly positioned itself in a place to have elite fights on network television — a feat that the UFC has not been able to accomplish yet. Not only that, but through some feat of negotiation and copromotion, it’s bringing Fedor to fight on regular television. Amazing — this is something that hardcore American fans have been awaiting for years. “My rabbit ears don’t work on this TV any more! ”
Don’t worry Gramps, we’ll get you the digital converter box before November 7. Not letting you see this card would just be inhumane.