I learn up on the fundamentals, just like the prohibitions on biting, head-butting and hair-pulling. Which makes for one benefit in doing a crash course on a sport like M.M.A. versus, say, cricket: There are fewer guidelines. Lastly, I understood the origin of the phrase “no holds barred.”
The night time earlier than the struggle, I texted my father-in-law, Gary, who lives in Pittsburgh and is a giant U.F.C. fan, asking for suggestions.
“Don’t blink,” he mentioned. “It’s quick paced and something can occur right away, together with lack of consciousness.”
I texted again a sweating emoji.
On Sunday morning in Taiwan, I awoke, showered and poured myself some espresso earlier than deciding on the sofa with my laptop computer in entrance of the TV, prepared to soak up a number of hours of uncooked, unbridled fight.
Then the fights started. Watching the dwell motion, I shortly realized that no quantity of labor beforehand might have ready me for the gruesomeness of the game. Within the first bout, I noticed one fighter, Jimmy Crute, go down within the opening spherical after Anthony Smith delivered a tough kick to the again of his knee. Within the second struggle, I watched Chris Weidman shatter his leg simply by kicking Uriah Corridor’s knee initially of the bout.
Seems my father-in-law was proper.
There have been additionally some uplifting moments. Like Corridor’s gracious interview after Weidman was taken out of the octagon on a stretcher. And the Kyrgyzstani fighter Valentina Shevchenko’s endearing but lost-in-translation exchange with Joe Rogan, one of many announcers, about rising to the problem.
After which there was Namajunas, who defied the bettors by knocking out Zhang with a robust kick to the pinnacle within the first spherical. Tears streamed down the previous champion’s face because the title belt was wrapped round her waist as soon as once more.