You know who I am.
In a sea of thousands, I am one of the few female faces breaking up the joyfully raging male crowd surrounding the ring of combat. I am the one you will find in the baby section of Target, being held in a Full Nelson because my husband just got word of the huge win at the event being held in Brazil. I am the one you will find in the emergency room at midnight because after three hours of endless nagging and begging, I finally put on a pair of MMA gloves and awkwardly punched my husband on demand, fracturing my hand at the mercy of his cheekbone…which remained unscathed because, well, I hit like a girl. I am one of many and this is my life…because I married an MMA Junkie.
Thinking back, I can remember the first time I was introduced to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, in the form of a Saturday night Ultimate Fighting Championship event on pay-per-view. I can remember covering my eyes at the spray of red blood splaying across the mats and screeching as shoulders dislocated and their muscles tore. Truthfully, I thought it was barbaric. But, as with anything, the stronger my relationship with my significant other grew, the stronger my relationship became with MMA. See, women are very resourceful and we can make anything work in our favor. Instead of dreading the perpetual Saturday night in the sports bars, crowded by the adrenaline induced guy with beer muscles, I let the cocktails flow and not only learned the sport, but I learned the fighters. I can promise you one thing, any man who asks his partner, “Who do you think? GSP? Man, he’s the man.. Koscheck? He looked good at weigh in’s. But GSP, it’s going to be his night, I just know it. Babe, seriously, what do you think?” I can tell you that she answers based on who gets her temperature rising. When you watch hours upon hours of sweaty men fighting to the bell, we have to figure out ways to keep ourselves entertained when the excitement of the sport wears off, and it does. After 5 years of genuine interest, I had been reduced to getting by through appreciation of the male form, and from time to time, a cute face that hasn’t been mangled.
For many, the “lucky ones” as I refer to them, the sport lives and dies with that Saturday night pay-per-view. Then there are the warriors, the “Gold Star” members of the group, like me. Our life revolves around my husband’s obsession with the sport. My beautiful picture frames filled with loving photos are eclipsed by a signed photograph of Matt Hamill. My prestigious, top shelf liquor cabinet is littered with medals as my husband not only watches, but participates as a professionally licensed MMA fighter. My DVR is compromised by every single fight card in existence that airs on television. What’s a girl to do when I need space to record the new season of Real Housewives? I’m forced to let him marathon through hours of combat, just to open up some space for me to use. My days and nights are filled with contracts and ad space, as we own an MMA promotions company. Even my husband’s face is coded, marred with scars of a past in the ring. Or even better, a night wrestling one of the guys, after a UFC pay-per-view event had left them all thinking they were Vitor Belfort. A very, very drunk Vitor Belfort.
You may be asking yourself, as I’ve asked myself, what was in it for me? I can answer this a few ways, but first and foremost, I feel safer with my husband than if I were flanked by the Secret Service. Being protected by a guy who has been involved in the sport of professional fighting for 20+ years gives you a sense of peace that is priceless. Plus, I don’t care what anyone says, the sport is sexy. I know, the blood and shattered bones, the brutality; that’s the facade. The core of the sport is a group of (mostly) incredibly talented, respectful, bad ass men who fight their hearts out and when that bell rings, crumble like teddy bears, shake hands and exchange hugs, thank their wives for their undying support and shout out their kids who idolize their Dad’s more than anything else in the world. They are family men and there is nothing more attractive than that.
So, the next time you see me or one of my sisters out there, in a headlock at the grocery store, or out on a Saturday night wiping the tears of her husband (he spotted Chuck Liddell in the crowd and was overcome with emotion- he’s a legend), don’t feel bad for us. Truthfully, there is nowhere we would rather be.