Staying with the theme of assholes for a little bit longer, here’s another pet peeve of mine.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to competing:
- Compete to the best of your abilities but do everything you can to stay within the rules.
- Win at all costs, regardless of rules aka “As long as you can get away with it, it’s OK.”
I was always of the first category and the opponents I met from the second always pissed me off. First of all, there are rules for a reason:
- It’s a game, no matter how hard you punch and kick each other. Games have rules. By entering, you explicitly agree to them. If you don’t want to do that, find another game to play.
- The rules make the game fun. They force you to find solutions for the limitations they create, especially the rules you might not agree with. But they make you a better athlete if you focus on solutions instead of problems.
- They’re there to keep you safe. Fighting is dangerous and competitions create a legal and controlled environment to engage in that dangerous behavior. When you break the rules, you start edging towards illegal acts (if you don’t flat out break the law already) and control goes out the window. As a result, it’s no longer a game. And if you don’t want to play a game, then say so before you enter one so we’re all on the same page.
The last point is what annoys the hell out of me. If you want to play the fight game, then stick to the rules. If you want to fight without rules, go to the bad part of town and start calling people names. You’ll have all the fight you want in no time… But the competitors breaking the rules usually don’t want a “fight”: they either want to win at all costs or they want an excuse to beat somebody up.
Winning, no matter what
When you compete, winning is the best feeling there is to the whole thing. All your hard work pays off and you get a glorious moment in the spotlight. Then there’s the afterglow of the next couple days, before you start training for the next event. If you’re a professional, winning also means lots of money, fame, women, etc.
Put it all together and you have a situation in which competitors want to win real bad or feel enormous pressure to do so. Given the right situation, it doesn’t take much to turn a fair-play minded fighter into a mean mo-fo in the ring. So I do understand the dynamic behind it. I disagree, but it’s human nature. Especially when there’s a lot of money involved.
However, when there’s no money to gain, I don’t feel much empathy with the bastard who acts like an asshole in the ring. Case in point:
My very first full-contact competition was an open tournament under kyokushinkai-type rules. I made it to the finals and later found out my opponent’s teacher was the referee for our match. That alone qualifies the guy as an asshole. I wouldn’t have accepted my teacher doing such a thing (nor would he ever do it but that’s besides the point). It was a clear conflict of interest, period.
Anyway, we seemed evenly matched throughout the fight which was probably why the guy decided to knee me in the balls. It was in plain view of his teacher/referee but the guy obviously didn’t call a foul. It pissed me off. I got up and started to pound on the guy as hard as I could. He backed up under the pressure but there wasn’t enough time before the end of that last round to finish it. Obviously, the guy won.
That was my first (and certainly not last) encounter with this kind of fighter. I loathe them now just as much as I did then. It just rubs me the wrong way. I won’t think twice about kicking a field goal into the nuts of an attacker in the street, but I don’t feel the need to do so when I compete.
I understand about frustration in a fight: giving it your all and you can’t put the other guy away. Or he’s just using unorthodox techniques that throw you off and all you need is one clean hit, which you just can’t seem to find. Been there, done that. But it’s also part of the game. You know upfront you’ll be in situations like this so if you can’t stand it, go play another game instead of acting like an ass.
Beat somebody up
Then there’s the other kind, the bully/fighter. They’re the guys who like to beat somebody up and find a perfect environment to do so in the ring. Because in there, you can get away with being aggressive without any repercussions like a baseball bat across the head when you step around the corner. You’ll even get praised for being such an impressive “warrior”. But in reality, these fighters just look for opportunities to act like a common street thug and not pay a price for it.
Don’t get me wrong, they still have to train hard or they’ll get owned when the bell sounds. But that doesn’t change their mindset of looking for victims instead of opponents.And they’ll cheat or commit fouls whenever they can get away with it. They’ll even ridicule their opponents for being boy-scouts and sticking to the rules.
As you can expect, I loathe these guys just as much as the cheaters. I loathe it even more when they whine like a baby when an opponent turns the tables by using the same fouls or illegal techniques to show they won’t put up with that crap. Or when they take it out on the referee or the crowd like a spoiled little brat.
Here are some examples of assholes in the ring:
Take it out on the referee.
As you can see, not only is our friend Datsik a bad fighter, he’s also a really sore loser.
Act like a total douchebag.
This is an old exhibition Rick Roufus did when he was in his prime, age 27. His “opponent”, Dominique Valera, was 47 at the time. The whole idea of an exhibition is that it isn’t a real fight. Both fighters are supposed to shine and entertain the crowd. If you look close, you’ll see Roufus puts a lot of power in his strikes; he doesn’t hold back all that much. Valera however never does much more than snap his punches and kicks. In round 1, Rick’s jump spin back kick breaks Valera”s ribs but the man continues without complaining. Roufus goes on to repeatedly plow into the Frenchman with heavy middle kicks and punches.
He makes it all about him and humiliates Valera in front of his home crowd. For an exhibition match with a guy who could have been his father, that’s some pretty low class behavior.
Cheat because you can.
This fight mainly shows the incompetence of the referee: he lets it all happen. Hitting after the break, wrestling, guillotine choke, pushing the throat into the cords, rabbit punches, holding and hitting, the works. And the only reason he gets to do all that is because the referee isn’t stopping it and he knows it.
You just can’t help yourself.
I don’t like Badr Hari. He’s a good fighter and all that but he’s also a bully with this here being the latest example. He just can’t help himself and his street mentality shows when Bonjasky slips. Sure, Bonjasky puts on a show but that’s besides the point. Hari was frustrated because he got nailed by Remy in the first round and couldn’t really pin him down. So he acts like a flaming idiot.
Now I may not be a choir boy but at least I never did any crap like that when I competed. Nor do I accept students of mine to behave like that. Like I said, if you want to pull dirty tricks, go pick a fight in a rough neighborhood. It doesn’t have a place in the ring.