(Donovan Craig at Joe Stevenson’s Victorville, Calif. gym. Photo by Landry Major.)
On Aug. 24, Sherdog.com blogger Jake Rossen took a friendly swipe at participatory journalism in MMA, comparing Tuff-N-Uff wins by author Mathew Polly and FIGHT! Magazine editor–in-chief Donovan Craig to a midlife crisis:
“On the heels of Fight! magazine editor Donovan Craig climbing into a ring, this news further cements my declaration of MMA as the new skydiving, the kind of midlife-crisis adrenal dump you pursue when you’ve worn out your copy of “Fight Club” and want to get very gonzo journalist.”
We can’t speak to Polly’s motivations, but we here at FIGHT! take MMA seriously. A significant portion of our full-time staff and freelance contributors train with camps around the country not just because drilling, rolling, and sparring helps us understand the sport we cover, but because we love its mental, physical, and emotional benefits. Donovan undertook his project in order to explore the motivations of fighters and the hardships they endure, not for a “midlife-crisis adrenal dump.”
Now Donovan’s no George Plimpton or Hunter S. Thompson (sorry, Donovan), but we, and a lot of our readers, loved his insights. And we’ll probably enjoy what Polly has to say about his experience at least as much as we enjoyed Sam Sheridan’s book on the subject. Has participatory journalism outlived it’s usefulness in MMA? Maybe. But whether or not neophytes intend to write a story about their experiences, training to fight allows the average person to achieve a level of fitness they probably wouldn’t otherwise while breaking down mental barriers that prevent them from making the most of their lives. That beats skydiving hands down.
But don’t take our word for it – read Donovan Craig’s three part story and decide for yourself.