Friday, July 25, 2008

How Did the World's Straightest Sport Become So Gay? Mark Simpson Went to Montreal's Ultimate Fighting Championship to Find Out

Are gay men interested in sports or only the athletes who play the sports? I believe it's both. Growing up I was not the most athletically gifted, but nonetheless, I did track and field, swimming, weight-training and cycling. I thoroughly enjoyed the physical activity of it all. In my adult years I was able to (up until my accident) carry on with my love of cycling. Below is an excerpt of an article written by Mark Simpson on the subject of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Simpson describes MMA as "... gay porn for straight men because its violence not only justifies the intimate, protracted, eye-popping physicality of the sport but also preserves its virility -- the very thing that gets many of its fans hot." It's a great read with lots of insight into how sports and masculinity are interwined.
MarkSimpson writes: 
Despite the gore, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is generally safer than boxing -- there are fewer fatalities and brain-damage injuries. Because the fight is “full-contact,” the head doesn’t take all the violence. When it does, though, it’s pretty gruesome. Yet amid all the mayhem, there is a touching tenderness to MMA. Not because it looks to my twisted, queer eye like very rough sex -- but because of that “heart” business. After a bout is over, most fighters hug each other in a pseudo-postcoital embrace that reenacts the warlike hug earlier, only this time it’s a hug of warm brotherhood.
Sometimes the  MMA fighter really is homo -- like professional MMA fighter Shad Smith, who was recently profiled in The New York Times. From a tough blue-collar background, Smith was desperate to hide his sexuality at first. “I was petrified because I didn’t want anyone to find out,” he told the Times. “And I would try to be the toughest person around. That way no one would suspect. No one would ever say it. No one would think it.” 
Read Mark's full article here.

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Exploring the homoerotic undertones of mixed martial arts
How did the world's straightest sport become so gay? Mark Simpson went to Montreal's Ultimate Fighting Championship to find out
The secret life of gay boxers
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