The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Cleveland and MMA


I used to wonder why there were no MMA fighters of note from Cleveland. I had spent years hating mixed martial arts for their roll in the devouring of boxing, a sport I grew to love for its combination of instinct and mathematical theory. And Cleveland has had great gloved men for years. Power, anger, restraint. Joey Maxim, Johnny Kilbane, Kelly Pavlik (-ish).

MMA also seemed synonymous with personalities and lifestyles that, on street level, are macho bullshit. There were all of a sudden these men clad in uniforms known for representing disregard. Insulated alpha males, delirious misogynists and usurp-ators of space lobbying the concept that space is governed by brute force. MMA was not composed nor composed of boxers or wrestlers or jiu-jitsu aficionados. It seemed composed of men who lacked boundaries of temperament. Boxers, wrestlers, martial artists not fond of the restrictions of their discipline. This is why I hated MMA: The person over the sport, the accidentalonpurpose shoulder, the collage.

But finally MMA is evolving and coming-of-age and beginning to reject sheer anger. Like in the advent of any sport, enough time has elapsed to allow for assertion of actuality and legitimacy. No longer are MMA contenders angry-born breeds, fierce rejects with tendencies too violent for the confines of traditional fighting arts. The sport is becoming too smart, too practiced. Technicality gone wild stemming from intense analysis. Silva front kicks a face; the front kick becomes scrutinized and then a part of the game. A superman jab off of the cage; now momentum and use of architecture must become a part of the plan. The popularization of cage fighting is creating autonomous microsystems where only hybrids existed and a hybrid is only a hybrid until it is recognized as itself. Beauty replaces anger, Chopin replaces Static X.

Now that MMA has won my love and allegiance for everything it is, for being almost whole, I no longer wonder why there are no fighters to note from Cleveland. Big enough, tough enough, cage-fighty enough is not sufficient. MMA is dictating that its ranks cannot be dominated by the mentality of old for much longer. Fighters growing up in the sport, through creating recognizable processes and becoming disciplined machines, are allowing themselves and MMA the opportunity to evolve. Maybe orchestration and violence are not as synonymous as anger and violence or pride and violence here. Many have the attitude and gull to fight but do they have the brain? As the art evolves, so must the city. Then the people will follow suit and it is time for Cleveland to make its mark on the game.


-Jon Conley


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Posted by on Feb 5 2013. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Cleveland and MMA”

  1. Nice article. Clevelanders Chris Lozano, Brian Rogers, Jessica Eye and Youngstown native Kevin Zalac compete for national promotion Bellator. Also Clevelander Stipe Miocic competes under UFC contract. For the size of our city and the relative youth of the sport here, Clevo is represented well. That said I’d love to see more Cleveland fighters earn the UFC & Bellator spotlight.

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