Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Why Do People Watch UFC Weigh-In's?
In the world of mixed martial arts, there are a few rules and axioms that I've picked up on over the years: if you wear pants in an MMA fight, you're probably a good grappler ... if you're in Japan, and you wear a Luchadore mask into the ring, you're probably going to get kicked in the head by a Croatian anti-terrorism expert ... never get into a leglock battle with a Japanese guy ... and lastly, if you're holding a UFC weigh in, 2,000 plus people will show up, and thousands more will watch them online, without a single one of them really knowing why.
So why do people watch weigh ins? The easy answer is that they're free. Free is always the best price for anything, whether it's samples of bacon at the supermarket, comprehensive health care, or (especially) UFC prelims on Facebook.
I'm on board with every one of these ideas. But why do schmucks like me go out of their way to watch these things online when I could be doing a million (much more important) things? Why?
The meatheaded perspective on this is that I must be some sort of closet homosexual that becomes aroused whenever I see heavily tattooed men strip down to their undies and step on the scale. But this isn't accurate. Don't get me wrong; I do think it's interesting to look at a guys physique and compare it to his physique the last time he weighed in. Does he look soft? Does he look overly emaciated? Is he Anthony Johnson making yet another futile attempt to cut to 170?
The pro wrestling perspective is that I want to see the "face offs". Is the staredown respectful? Do the two fighters shake hands? Or are they Jon Jones making the "I'm so effing mad and keyed up right now that I can't even look at you" face? Are they DaMarques Johnson, hamming it up for the cameras like they've had a few too many drinks at the club?
The comical perspective is that I'm curious to see if anyone tries to bring humor to a process that is anything but humorous. With the ubiquitous nature of the UFC, weigh ins happen all the time now. They are commonplace. In reality, though, it's a brutal process. Guys are dehydrating themselves and melting pounds off in the sauna to make their agreed upon weight. I've heard people wonder why weigh ins dont take place on the same day as the fight. After all, why should Urijah Faber have to weigh in at 135 when everyone knows he's walking into the cage at 150? The answer is because fighters need time to rehydrate their bodies.
With all that being said, some guys take the opportunity to clown around. There was Kazushi Sakuraba drawing muscles on himself for his face off with a yoked out Ricardo Arona. There was Roy Nelson wearing a fat suit to his weigh in and still coming in at a svelte (for him) 252 pounds. But my all time favorite was Tom Lawlor growing a mustache and instantly becoming a dead ringer for Dan Severn. This almost made me lose it. He looked EXACTLY like Dan Severn. He then went out and lost to Joe Doerksen. There's a lesson in here somewhere.
So where does our answer lie? Somewhere between everything I just described and nothing I just described. I have no idea. I love UFC weigh ins. They get me fired up, and if nothing else, they remind me that mixed martial arts at the highest possible level will take place the following evening. Also, they remind me that Dana White loves to be in pictures. But mostly the former.