Monday, October 12, 2009

Long Live Ultimate Punching

There was a time when being on The Simpson's was the height of pop culture cool and mainstream acceptance. If you showed up in Springfield, you were at the top of your game and this was your animated standing ovation for excellence.

But 1997 was a long time ago...

However, despite the fall-off in The Simpson's over the last decade-plus, the never-aging family stepped into the cage with Mixed Martial Arts last night, producing a great back-and-forth match that saw MMA come away victorious in the end.

While The Simpson's certainly doesn't have the cultural sway that it had in the past - or the audience for that matter - the first family of Fox presented both sides of the argument for and against MMA last night and did it very well.

"Call me a killjoy, but just because something isn't to my taste, I don't think anyone should be able to enjoy it," was Marge's initial suggestion to the rest of the well-known women of Springfield (Luann Van Houten, Mrs. Krabappel, Dr. Hibert's wife Bernice and Helen Lovejoy) before launching her attempt to shut down the sport as a whole.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand the intelligence of the comment; a clear cartoon jab at the anti-MMA set who don't enjoy the sport and can't fathom how anyone can. Here in Canada, we call them members of the Provincial Legislature of Ontario...

After taking to "The Septagon" at the next Ultimate Punch, Kick and Chop Championship, Marge accepts the challenge of Ultimate Punching's Chet Engelbret, a southerner with a multitude of titles including "the public face of the sport" not unlike a certain well-known bald gentlemen.

Instead of providing an complete episode recap and ruining your plans for searching the Internet all afternoon while at work, we'll cut to the chase.

Last night, The Simpson's did a great job of showing both sides of the challenges facing Mixed Martial Arts, best illustrated (pun-intended) by the the resident bullies with KILL spelled out on their stomachs being joined by an S on the stomach of one of the known nerds to create SKILL.

There is no question that there is a segment of the population who simply cannot stomach Mixed Martial Arts; there is too much violence, too much blood and simply no interest whatsoever and that is perfectly okay to me.

I can't stomach the CFL, with their points for failure, three downs and elongated field and no matter what the staunchest supporters say to change my mind, nothing is going to make me enjoy the Canadian Football League.

The argument shouldn't be about whether people like the sport or not anyway, as it's readily apparent from the stack of gate receipts and pay-per-view dollars that MMA is massively popular.

To me, the true debate is one that doesn't even make sense in my head:

We have karate studios, boxing clubs and high school wrestling programs in just about every city across North America, but the thought of combining all three with jiu jitsu, tae kwon do and other disciplines, then having talented practitioners of all the styles compete against each other in a structured and regulated environment is too much to take?

"Who cares that it brings massive amount of money to each town that hosts an event, and thousands of people thoroughly enjoy it, they're doing things they do in the Olympics inside a fenced-off stop sign for chrissakes!"

On a much smaller scale and more in tune with last night's episode, I can't help but recall Tom Farrey's question to Dana White from the ESPN E:60 piece as to whether or not it's okay for kids to train in MMA.

Marge Simpson was able to surmise in her post-fight speech that at the very least she got in shape and made some new friends through her cartoon dalliance with Ultimate Punching.

How would that differ at all in the non-animated world?

Heaven forbid we let our kids or society in general make friends and get in shape, especially through something as barbaric as a combination of sports built on respect, discipline and honor.

Last night, Mixed Martial Arts scored a cartoon convert in the matriarch of the Simpson family.

Hopefully the sport also score a couple in the real world too.

Long live Ultimate Punching...

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