Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hi, I'm Leslie and I'm a UFC Fan

I know.  It doesn't fit.  A Southern wife, mom, Christian speaker and His Radio weekend gal.  I'm not supposed to like the UFC, right?  But I do.  I'm coming out into the open and letting everyone know it, too.  I'm not ashamed.  I'm just a UFC fan who loves Jesus!  Let me explain...

It all started when my husband began watching it years ago.  He loved it.  I cringed.  But he told me he would rub my back if I would let him watch it.  So I let him watch it and got many a free back rubs!  Why do these guys beat each other up like this (sometimes it's brutal!) and why would anyone want to watch it? As a mom, I would scream every time they would get knocked out and I couldn't watch some of it.  Why do men have to fight like that?

I have always hated pro wrestling and thought it was so contrived and silly.  This was different though.  This seemed a bit more genuine.  Once they fought it out with mixed martial arts, they would shake hands, hug and congratulate each other.  They were fighting one minute and hugging the next.  I was convinced guys were just plain weird.  Why fight if there is no animosity?  It didn't make sense in my mind.

However, as we watched it, I began to see something more in this sport.  These guys were the real deal when it came to training and technique.  They may fight, but they do it so methodically and it's like a choreographed routine.  Yes, they get beat up.  So do football players.  And hockey players.  And some other sports.  But I suppose that's part of what it takes to get stronger, to get more methodical, to gain experience and to climb to the top in your sport.

I began to think about how cool it was that these guys wanted to fight each other not out of vengeance (for the most part) but out of respect.  They wanted to be challenged beyond what they'd ever fought before and they knew in order to do that, they had to face their biggest competitors.  They are highly disciplined and take their sport very, very seriously.  They make sacrifices and they fight to win.

I began to think that the UFC fighters reminded me of people in the church who are serious about their faith.  They don't play the "game" of church, they are not there for show.  They are there to learn how to fight (spiritually speaking) and the Proverb that says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" kept coming to me as I'd watch them fight.  The pro-wrestlers a few channels over reminded me of how I used to go to church and play the "game".  I'd dress up, act the part and look good and even had some fans.  But it was all contrived.  Nothing real about it - and certainly it wasn't helping me become the person I wanted to be.  (Sorry if you are a wrestling fan - no offense! haha)

So if me telling you I appreciate the UFC makes you scratch your head and wonder how that might fit into my life, I understand.  But I appreciate their discipline, their skill and their ability to take their sport seriously.  I've never been one that fit into a box very well...I like to claw my way out of a stereotype. (smile)

On a personal note, I do still cringe when there is a knock out and I still close my eyes during some parts.  It's too much for a mom to watch sometimes.  But I keep it in perspective by realizing that they are not victims...they are fighting to be warriors and in order to improve their skills, they have to use them.  I'm not sure I completely understand this as a woman, but I do like the character they are building.  As a mom, I appreciate that.

And just to show you the heart of one of the UFC fighters (a guy who was knocked out this past weekend but ended up knocking me out with his testimony this morning), take a look at the following video.  There are many guys who are believers in Jesus Christ in the sport (Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Jon Jones, Matt Hughes, to name a few!) and they even have some gyms that train UFC fighters not only physically, but spiritually, through God's Word.  I think it's amazing how God is using these "warriors" to further His Kingdom!

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