This is Why We Fight

What Would GSP Do?

131012-gspGeorges St. Pierre—a former UFC welterweight champion who hasn’t fought in nearly three years—could be returning to the octagon. And if he does, it would be for current middleweight champion, Michael Bisping.

When asked about this matchup, which can only be described as a super-fight, GSP told MMA Fighting;

“It’s a fight that the UFC wants and the fans want, if it creates a buzz and the money is there, because we’re in a business, I’m down for it.”

There’s no doubt that fighting at this level brings a lot of money. But for most of us who’ll never turn pro, however, fighting is essentially a crazy and—contrary to Georges St-Pierre, who, according to Forbes magazine, was the highest paid UFC fighter inside and outside the octagon—a money consuming hobby.

So why do we do it?

This past year, I’ve been volunteering at the Conseil de Muay Thai du Québec (CMTQ), a non profit organization dedicated to promoting Muay Thai in the amateur circuit in Québec, Canada. In the course of my work, I’ve witnessed some pretty vicious knockouts.

In particular, a knockout where the poor chap got rocked so hard his body fell into the fetal position then began convulsing. About 200-300 people were there that night. But believe you me, when that guy hit the canvas, no one, absolutely no one, made a sound.

I left the venue shaken, and wondering why we risk the most precious thing there is—our bodies, our health—to make our gym (teammates, krus, and all) and ourselves proud.

Are we on some sort of narcissistic quest? Or are we trapped in a Tyler Durden emulating fantasy of our own making, chasing that proverbial “dream no one can see but us

Why do we fight?

UFC’s president, Dana White, has said many times that it’s in our DNA. And he’s right. Throw some elbows at a bitch in bar, I promise you, you’ll get in touch with your primal instincts real quick. But I also think that it’s deeper than the “narrative of the naturalness of human violence”1 upon which the UFC has based its activity for so long.

I believe even without money, buzz or fame GSP would still fight. Maybe not Michael Bisping, but he’d definitely be superman punching the shit out of somebody, somewhere. You see, many things “are in our DNA,” but we don’t necessarily see all of them through. So why do we do it when it comes to fighting?

I think fighting gives us access to a regulated form of violence that transcends into “an activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society… [And] we all need something that helps us forget ourselves for a while… something that takes us so far out… that we forget to eat, forget to pee, forget to mow the lawn, forget to resent our enemies, forget to brood over our insecurities… Something that can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are.”2

And so, I believe, this is why we fight.

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Pascale Fontaine
My name is Pascale Fontaine, I've been learning muay thai for about three years at Académie Sparmax in Rosemère, Canada, under Ajarn Normand Grimard. I attended the TBA Pacific Northwest Annual Muay Thai Training Camp in 2014. I plan on having my first amateur fight in 6 months. I graduated from University of Montréal in 2005 with a degree in literature and in 2008 with a degree in translation.

Comments 3

  1. I think another reason is that there is the innate question of “how much of a badass am I?” I think humans are basically competitive, certainly male humans are, and while there are obviously different ways to compete, none are as primal or as violent as beating the crap out of someone. It has to be a very different feeling than, say, beating someone at chess. Both can be satisfying victories, but I’d think winning the fight would be felt much more on a primal (emotional) level, and therefore more satisfying.

    1. I totally agree Art. One of the main reasons I began fighting was to see if I was as tough as I thought I was… fortunately, I’ve been able to prove myself right (most of the time) so far 🙂 But yes, winning a fight is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world!

  2. The reasons why we fight may vary, some might be on a path, some may do it to validate or prove something to themselves, and some do it purely for satisfaction.
    The consistent and unarguable however is that fighting is the ultimate form of survival, it is a primal instinct that is prevalent throughout nature and part of our design.
    So we fight because it is natural to fight, as it is all around us in different manifestations and is the resistance to the threats we encounter.

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