Humbleness Vs. Exclusiveness: The Writer’s Place In MMA.October 1st, 2012 by Joshua Scott Beranis
If we remain progressive as a spectator, we can hope to advance to better chairs. The first sign of an advancement might be that you will find your name in a designated area. This slight designation should be of little to no importance, but that it might render you useful to the function of promoters, event coordinators, or other event participants. There is also the case where you may be established as an esteemed and welcomed guest, serving little to no actual function aside from indulgence for the sake of entertainment.
In the particular case of the writer, it is the goal of his or her writing that will set them aside as having more or less of a function within an event. The case at present would point to the MMA sports writer being regarded as a sort of critic of cage fighting events in a format which encompasses an event as a whole. However, the MMA writer as of yet, does not seem to have such an established role that he will be brought into the very heart of the event, the cage.
So far as Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fighting is concerned, there are a handful of divisions and categories for both the event participant as well as the common spectator.
The perfect example of the need for this particularity can be seen ring-side at an MMA event, and depending on the delivery of the event to a public audience, these divisions vary.
At a televised event, photographers and film-crew are most likely to be seen closest to the celebrated activity in the cage. During bouts, aside from the referee, they are typically the only people aside from the fighters that should be found in motion. You will see photographers swarming like bees in and out of the octagon, or stationed at ring-side tables. Camera-men might be posted at either end of the cage in a sort of uncomfortable looking crows-nest. Very often, there are several of these crow-nest fashioned stations, not all of which will be found connected to the cage.
There are also cage-side medics, whose purpose should be self explanatory, commentators who might keep minutes and seconds in addition to speaking with fighters following a bout, or time-keepers at a judges table who are entirely separate from the commentating.
It is not uncommon to see large montiors along the walls of a venue, displaying a larger view of in-cage action, otherwise only attainable to the ring-side spectator. The further out and less exclusive the seating arrangement goes, the more common it is to see spectators depending on the monitors as opposed to glaring directly into the spot-light.
Tickets usually range in price in three to four different categories, depending on visual access to the cage, and the provision of customer service within each of those designated areas. The price of the ticket depends mostly on visibility of the showcased fights, but also on services and benefits within each designated area.
If you are a die-hard MMA fan, and are looking to get the ride of your life, it would not be unrealistic to go ahead and spend the 100$. You will find yourself up beside the ring with scantily-clad Cage Girls walking around you holding large signs to signal which round of the bout you are watching. Waitresses will come up and ask you what drinks you would like to have. You will often find yourself face to face with fighters pinned against the fencing no more than a few feet from your table. You are also very close to gore which often ensues on the mats. This is an intense experience which I strongly suggest for even the less serious MMA fan to try at least once. It really is worth it.
For someone who has the money to spend, but does not wish to be on lock-down in front of the cage, there are typically tickets for about half the price of cage-side reserve which will land you an excellent view of the fights. Occasionally there will be just as sufficient beverage service as at cage-side.
The very serious MMA fan who shows up to these fights on a regular basis, or who simply wants to watch the fights without going too deep into thier own account for a good show, will be just as happy to find general admission seating at a price below those middle-quality tickets. General admission at these events is most likely an open seating arrangement. A general audience finds these to be the most realistic. It should not be a dissappointing arrangement, especially considering that there are often the large screens to view the fights, and the action in the cage is just as entertaining to see from a distance. The reason it is so entertaining even from general seating, is because the friends and family of most fighters arrive to these events, adding to the excitement for the spectator. During a good knockout, a split-decision bout, or an excellent submission, it is not uncommon for an entire crowd (including the general admits) to find themselves on their feet cheering or swearing.
In addition to the fighters and working patrons of a large promotion, celebrities may be brought in to the mix, adding to the significance of the event. Rough and tumble personalities can be brought in to give the event a sort of smirk, and retired fighters or experts in the field of commentating may be brought in to establish distinguishment and professionalism at the event.
Writing for Mixed Martial Arts however, is not like writing for tennis, and I use tennis as an example only because it should be considered an MMA fan’s worst nightmare. Unless of course you are L. Jon Wertheim, who is a writer for Sports Illustrated, a fan of tennis, and a fan of MMA.
Not all writers have the luxoury of being L. Jon Wertheim. To enjoy the event as a true spectator, a certain blood-lust is both appropriate and necessary. We have to regard the MMA reader as a special audience member; which he is. The quality of the writing is entirely dependent upon the writer’s ability to indulge in the luxuries offered to the common spectator, as well as the writer’s ability to control his inner demons in relation to his love for the violence, pageantry, and beauty of the sport. The love of writing for MMA should be fed by the intoxicating energy of celebrated events and promotions, but should also be founded professionally in relation to its statistics and general mathematics.