“Las Vegas – The audience has paid to see blood and will not be disappointed.
When the arena plunges into darkness, they rise as one: an 8-year-old in a skull cap that says ‘Punishment,’ a tourist in a T-shirt that says ‘Legalized Brutality,’ a young woman who is being paid $2,000 to wear a bikini and blow kisses to the catcalls. The bass line of a heavy metal song, its lyrics indecipherable at this volume but clearly delineating some manner of rage, compresses 10,863 chests.
It is time.
Once confined to the underground and assailed as ‘human cockfighting,’ the savage sport of mixed martial arts _ a spectacle melding ancient fighting tactics with those of a bar brawl _ is poised to go mainstream. Cage-side seats now sell for as much as $1,000. Fights periodically draw more men ages 18 to 34 than anything else on TV. Peddling raw, real violence to a zealous, cutthroat crowd, the sport has become an economic and cultural force through events like this one, held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on a Saturday night.
Two men, barefoot and slathered with Vaseline, their hands covered in little more than leather wraps, enter a cage at the center of the arena. For five minutes, they kick and punch and lock limbs, trying to land a headlock known in their trade as a guillotine and designed to cut off the blood flow in the opponent’s carotid artery…”
The above paragraphs are the opening to Scott Gold’s recent front-page article in the L.A. Times, which offers a mainstream look at mixed martial arts going mainstream.
Many MMA insiders covet the article as proof that the sport has indeed succeeded in steamrolling into the living rooms of mainstream America. But to many detractors, it further skews the public perception of MMA as a blood, guts and gore fest. The reality is likely to land somewhere in the middle.
Tonight on MMAWeekly Radio’s SoundOff, Scott Gold joins Damon & Jeff to discuss the article in depth and where his perceptions of the sport lie. Listen live tonight at 6pm PT / 9pm ET. You can call the show toll-free at 1-877-888-5520 or join other listeners in the Live Fighter Chat as the show is on the air.
If you can’t catch the radio show live, but want to hear what Gold had to say, you can become an MMAWeekly.com Premium Member for just 5 bucks a month and check it out any time you want in the Radio Archives, plus you get complete access to the MMAWeeklyTV video library.