UFC 158 has come and gone.
The question, “Where you at, Georges?” has now been answered.
The hype leading up to main event was intense. And by “main event,” I mean GSP vs. Nick Diaz.
Image courtesy of @UFCFIGHTERART
The final drama of these two martial artists was served on a silver platter in the form of a Pay Per View, a shitty “free stream,” or perhaps a ticket to the live event in Montreal. No matter how you watched the fight, your entertainment for the night was ultimately served.
Was it as delectable as it could have been? Could the steak have been juicier? Was the wine a little flat?
Regardless of how you feel about GSP vs Diaz, one truth remains: there’s a lot to be admired about both of these individuals. Each of them has something to teach the world.
I adore these two fellows in the same way I adore large, beautiful dogs: from a distance. (I’m a small dog kind of person.) I don’t know Nick Diaz or GSP personally. I’ve never met either of them – yet – but as is characteristic of me, I’ve studied their stories in-depth, and I’ve met people who’ve met them.
I’m always moved by the power of a good story. As some of you know, the martial arts caught my soul HARD back in August 2010 (see: my response to Roger Huerta’s infamous street fight.) I was not only a naive MMA newb, but also a female-in-search-of-an-alpha-male with a kind soul. After chasing down poor Roger, whom I believed to be a modern day knight in shining armor (and who turned out to be…well…human), I now know better than to take the “story” too seriously.
I’m smarter and wiser now. I take fight promotions with a grain of salt. I’ve learned that Dana White’s bottom line interest is in selling tickets, and you can’t sell tickets without creating stories.
A great story certainly emerged between GSP and Diaz. (Did anyone else see the underlying historical themes of “potential fall of the white man” and “rise of the uncivilized, uneducated wild savage”? Looks like this time around, the civilized prevailed.) But I digress.
Knowing that GSP vs Diaz could have been as emotionally “intense” for me as Roger Huerta vs War Machine was, I decided to approach UFC 158 tactically. First of all, I DIDN’T hop on a plane and fly to Montreal (as was my original plan). Rather, on Saturday March 16th, 2013, I cleaned my house. I scrubbed marble countertops and cleaned mirrors. I washed dishes and did laundry. I spent the day thinking about what draws me to mixed martial arts. I thought about the kind of person I want to be someday. I let my mind wander as I got the ‘crib’ sparkling (well, not really – but I got certain parts of certain rooms sparkling).
I then proceeded to pamper myself with a 1-hour full-body massage scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m MST. As I lay there, naked, getting my kinks worked out, I toyed with the idea of NOT watching Diaz vs GSP. I thought, “Hmm, maybe I could skip the fight and still be OK with my life…” That insane thought quickly passed and was furiously abandoned the second I got home just in time to catch Condit vs Hendricks.
To be honest, watching fights does something weird to my psyche. I have this unique ability to put myself right there inside the cage, with those fighters. I become them. They become me. I know exactly what they’re feeling…maybe not physically, but emotionally. I’ve always had a gift, or perhaps curse, of empathy. I take things personally. I take things literally. I put myself inside the mind of another human being and let my imagination take it from there. Watching a fight becomes a visceral experience that lives inside my heart.
I imagine fighting in the cage is similar to what it must feel like going to war. It’s a taxing, emotional, deeply personal experience. I go crazy.
That’s why I don’t watch too many fights.
I don’t care much about points – and I still don’t know the names of all the maneuvers (rear naked what?). But I see the big picture. I know the stories and backgrounds of GSP and Nick Diaz – bits and pieces of insight I’ve collected on them over the years, certain phrases they’ve said in the media that stuck with me, certain “ways of being” that define who they are, or aren’t.
George St. Pierre’s dark place
It’s an ongoing accumulation of understanding – but really, it’s an interpretation. The more these guys share about themselves, the more I realize I don’t know them at all. You can’t really know a person until you’ve met them in the flesh, spent meaningful time with them, and gained the ability to see past their bullshit. (These are lessons I learned, courtesy of Roger Huerta.)
So what can we learn from Diaz and GSP – or at least what they’ve shared in the media?
Diaz speaks his mind, doesn’t put a filter on his mouth, is angry, likes to blame the world for his problems. He may genuinely be a good person deep down inside, despite his rough exterior. But he seems addicted to chaos and playing the victim role. He reminds me of War Machine. But is his approach getting him the success he wants? Does he even WANT success?
Georges St. Pierre, on the other hand, is polite, indeed filters what comes out of his mouth, keeps it classy (whatever “classy” means. Opposite of “real”?). Year after year, he has successfully and tactically defended his belt, proving to the world he’s not only the welterweight champion, but also a champion over himself. Even if we don’t all approve of how GSP defends his belt (boringly? predictably? intelligently?), he certainly has a lot to teach us about character. And perhaps underneath that seemingly admirable exterior, GSP harbors some juicy secrets, as we all do. In that regard, he reminds me of Roger Huerta.
I watch these fighters closely and have to remind myself they’re just models for a certain way of being.
I sometimes ask myself: Am I a champion in the making? Will I be a superstar celebrity in my own realm someday, as a writer (not a fighter)? My weapon of choice is words, not fists. But must I use words as weapons? Can I use them as instruments of peace?
Diaz’ reaction to hearing Georges give him credit for doing a good job of promoting the fight
To end this post, I shall quote an interesting question sent to me by @MiddleEasy: If you had to write a book on GSP or Diaz, who would you pick?
My answer: I would only be interested in writing authorized biographies on these guys. I would only take on such a project if I could gain the subject’s complete confidence and trust, and create a space for him to express himself fully – with no judgment on my part, and no holding back on his part – so I could get as close to the truth as possible and be able to honor each man’s individual story. (So basically, the opposite of what I did with Huerta.) For this reason, I wouldn’t pick either of them. I would let them pick me, if they were so inclined. I’ve found that in life, I’m more successful being a “receptive force” – where people come to me willingly, instead of me coming to them and initiating my own agenda with blunt, stalker-like force. Obviously, talk of a book on Diaz or GSP is premature. You guys are all still waiting to read Stalking the Alpha Male aka Roger Huerta Crush. I intend to honor my promise – that book SHALL be published soon!…when the time is right.