Lingerie Fighting Championships (lingeriefc.com)When Sports Meets Commercialism: Fans Too Serious About Lingerie FC, X-Arm Dale De Souza April 24, 2014 Spotlight As sports increase in popularity, it becomes inevitable that someone decides to create an offshoot for one reason or another. In some cases, the people behind these offshoots just try something that blends sport with something else and creates a unique product. Some appreciate the end result, whereas others express their disdain and disgust at high levels. If anyone thinks that the sport of mixed martial arts provides the lone exception to this sort of thing, think again. In the time that the sport has existed, fans have seen concepts from all ends of the spectrum enter the MMA world. There has been X-Arm’s combination of kickboxing and arm-wrestling. There has been Hip Show: Arena Combat, which put fighters in a setting akin to something out of the old American Gladiators television program. There has been Double Fighting and every other promotion that deals in the niche of tag-team MMA. With these particular companies doing something that separates themselves from the norm in MMA, it makes perfect sense to ask the millenniums-old question of “What will they think of next?” Enter the Lingerie Fighting Championship, operated by MMA personality Roni Taylor Parsons and created by executive producer Shaun Donnelly. We kid you not, boys and girls. This organization functions as a roster of beautiful women, all from different sports backgrounds, fighting in different types of lingerie, ranging from leather to lace and everything else in between. To date, the promotion has put on 17 events, including its pay-per-view debut two weekends ago. Despite sparking a bit of controversy due to its format, the promotion clearly has no intentions of leaving the MMA world anytime soon. Still, this format of “MMA fights in lingerie” falls into the same category as those other aforementioned MMA-influenced ventures, and it is time that MMA fans and media stop taking this stuff so seriously. Every time one of these things comes along, there seems to be a large group of people who freak out and say, “I can’t believe they’re doing this and making a mockery of the sport!” But is it really? The way it looks in the grand scheme of things, the organization merely wants to provide something different, with the sport serving as a basic influence. Haven’t we seen this before? The commercial viability of sport-influenced entertainment programming makes it an inevitability. From beer companies to animal-oriented cable television networks to adult entertainment, numerous industries have adapted a sport to meet their marketing needs. Some look at these ventures as a form of imitation, which is almost always the sincerest form of flattery. Lingerie FC isn’t by any means trying to duplicate or compete with the product that companies like Invicta FC and Jewels put on for women’s MMA, as is evident by the format alone. They don’t need to pretend to be anything other than what they are. The people behind Lingerie FC recognize the sort of sex appeal that exists within the sport and, in their own unabashed way, use the format to complement that aspect. Simply put, the Lingerie FC brand of MMA is pure entertainment that was never meant to be taken seriously by fans or experts. If anything, it is the MMA counterpart to the Lingerie Football League, as well as the MMA equivalent of the Puppy Bowl or Bud Bowl in a way. In other words, MMA is simply being used as a vehicle to sell a completely separate product. In the case of Lingerie FC, that product is sex, obviously. NFL fans understand that the point of ventures like these have nothing to do with serious competitive sports. They view it as a fun alternative that they can enjoy without worrying about salaries, live gates or anything that would try to put it in serious comparisons to the NFL. Perhaps due to the additional decades of history that the NFL enjoys, football fans don’t cringe at every entertainment and product tie-in. They certainly don’t view these things as a potential black eye on the sport. MMA fans haven’t had that luxury. Whenever something like X-Arm or Lingerie FC pops up, the natural reflex for fans is to go on the defensive. It’s time that changed.