Over the last couple of weeks, there have been quite a few posts about mixed martial arts/ultimate fighting that have come across the transom. Most of them have focused on female fighter Ronda Rousey, who reigns supreme (most of her opponents don’t even last one minute against her).
I get that Rousey has a compelling story: former judo Olympian, becomes bartender (most ex-Olympians don’t have a lot of direct money-making options), and then rises to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
What puzzles me is that, just a few years ago, ultimate fighting was seen as worse than boxing, and only marginally better than dog fighting. It’s a brutal ‘sport’, which like boxing, can cause a lot of damage (one fighter in its short history has already died). Admittedly, Rousey’s strategy seems to involve far less brain trauma and much more tendon and ligament destruction.
By the way, if you think I’m overreacting, re-read the previous sentence–I’ll wait.
I’m not naive about sportsball in general: people–disproportionately men who feel emasculated by life–use all sorts of violent imagery to discuss sports. And football is a violent game. But even there, the ultimate goal is not to damage your opponent (though that can help you win).
What bothers me about the whole Rousey phenomenon is that a pseudo-feminist veneer is being placed over what is essentially a blood sport. When it was just men, it was viewed as violent garbage, but add women, and magically, this is now about ’empowerment’ (another reason why decent people should be wary of “communicative performance leftism“). Never mind that the whole “I’m not a ‘do nothing bitch'”–that is, kept woman–strikes me as saying, “I’m not a grifting whore like the rest of them.” Not exactly a strong statement of feminist solidarity.
It’s just dog fighting with humans.