Few professions allow, nay - encourage, their practitioners to be so constantly and egregiously wrong as that of Mainstream Sports Columnist. Their entire careers are predicated on comforting their fellow old white men’s opinions that all change is bad, the NBA is full of “thugs,” and baseball statistics are the worst thing to happen in sports, ever.
(Would you call either of these men gay to their face?)
Such professional contrarianism has been lucrative for Dallas columnist Tim Cowlishaw, who has played his whitebread opinions into a daily gig yelling at his colleagues on ESPN’s “Around The Horn.” Not content to hate everything new and changing about the nation’s mainstream sports, he has now decided to focus his bland, toothless vitriol on the fastest-growing sport in the country: MMA. And he might have just, finally, gone too far.
It’s a column that’s been written a thousand times, by a thousand different hack writers: take some combination of 1) MMA is too brutal, 2) Dana White is too vulgar, and 3) boxing is better, throw them in a blender, and send to editor. There’s nothing new to see here…wait, what’s this?
I can’t say I’m a fan of ultimate fighting because the times I have tried to catch a fight on cable or once on pay-per-view, they weren’t terribly entertaining events. One guy gets on top of the other, starts hitting him in the head a few times, and the bell rings.
They could call their videos Rough Man Love Gone Wild, for all I can tell.
Now, here’s the thing. I’m not an MMA fan. I don’t find the fights particularly interesting, and I think all the Affliction shirts look kind of dumb. There’s nothing wrong with MMA, per se, it’s just not my thing. A lot of people don’t like baseball, either. To each their own. But one thing that’s never crossed my mind until now is that mixed martial arts is somehow … homosexual? And that’s a bad thing? Strong words coming from the guy who, just today on ‘Around the Horn’ was accused of having frosted tips by Tony Reali. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
While I have quite a few gay and lesbian friends (and proudly live in one of the “gayest” ZIP codes in the country), I suspect that many of the fans and participants of mixed martial arts might not take too kindly to being accused of wishing to engage in “rough man love” by anyone, let alone a doughy suburban newspaperman. I’d be interested in seeing a group of wrestlers and mixed martial artists discuss the matter with Cowlishaw over a cup of coffee. I’m sure he’d have no problem saying that to their faces.