The Octagon (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)MMA Fan Quirks: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Richard Wilcoxon June 6, 2014 Spotlight Silly traditions and annoying chants. Every sport has them. What would an NFL game be like without the wave? Or a baseball game without some casting the voodoo fingers at a batter? These traditions can get even more specific. What would a Chicago Cubs game be like without “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” or my hometown Philadelphia Eagles game without “Fly Eagles Fly”? Some of these traditions start in one region and then are claimed by many. Think about the “Let’s go (fill in your team name here)” clap, clap, clap chants that cross sports and regional lines. Some of these are fun. Some are tradition. And some are just plain annoying. MMA is no different. Through the sport’s short history, MMA fans have adopted a number of traditions and stereotypes. And, like any sport, some are just plain irritating. Here are some of the biggest MMA quirks and traditions around. The Fist Pose You see a MMA fighter and head off after him. Your buddy is in hot pursuit with the camera. You finally catch him and convince him to stop. The fighter smiles for the camera, and what does every fan do? They hold their fist up for the photo. Why? It just looks awkward and odd. Are they pretending they are a fighter? I understand where this started. After running down your favorite fighter, you put one arm across their shoulders and smile for the camera. But it doesn’t feel right. What do you do with that other hand? Sometimes a fighter has their gloves on or they will throw the fist up first. Next thing you know, you throw the fist up just like everyone else. Even it’s understandable why people do it, it is so cliché today. You’re not a fighter. You probably aren’t even that tough. Do something else with that hand—anything else. Just don’t be that guy again. Screaming for the Camera Here is the scenario. You got your tickets for a great event. Your seats are pretty good, right along the aisle or within a couple of rows. The prelim fights are over. The UFC just played its hype video and you are ready for action. But the UFC isn’t. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg are still hyping the event. The camera wants a shot of the crowd and turns the camera to your section. So, what do you do? Everybody stands up, throws a fist up and screams. Why? What are you screaming for? There is actually a lull in the action. I have seen the quietest, most shy person jump out their seat to scream for the camera and shake their fist, only to return to their seat to rarely say another word during the fights, of course until the camera comes back. It is a strange phenomenon to watch. Do You Even Train? As the sport has grown, you thankfully don’t hear this as often. However, I did hear it at an event just a couple months ago. The scenario plays out like this: It is the day of the fights and you are getting decked out in your MMA gear. It may be an Affliction shirt or it may be a Tapout shirt or some other gear company shirt that you decide to wear. You are off to the event. You arrive and someone you have never seen before takes a look at your shirt and then says loudly, “Do you even train?” or some variation on the question. This idea never made sense to me. I regularly go to NFL games and no one looks at my jersey and asks, “Do you even play?” I have been to the World Series, and no one questioned if someone in their team colors was a member of the team. I can only assume that it is a way for those who are insecure and do train to announce that they train. However, the idea that only people who train should wear a gear company’s shirt is insane. The gear companies themselves would be out of business if the only people wearing their shirts were fighters in training. Only Wanting to Know the End Anyone who has ever gone to an event has noticed this. You rush to buy your tickets hoping to be as close to the cage as possible. You get there as the first fight is about to start and you notice the arena is only a quarter full. By the time the main card starts, it may be up to half full to 75 percent full. The final seats don’t fill up until the main event is about to begin. The best seats in the house seem to be open for 90 percent of the event. As a fan, nothing drives me more crazy. It is like buying a movie ticket to only show up to see the ending. You have missed so much excitement, and those great seats could have gone to someone who really would have appreciated the event. White Knight for Dana White Once upon a time, MMA in the United States was just about shut down. It was branded as “human cockfighting” and was banned in most states. Pay-per-view, which showed porn flicks, decided MMA was too horrible and too dangerous for the public to view. The sport was kept alive by dedicated fans over the internet who would trade videotapes of events and discuss all aspects of the sport. The fighters and even UFC President Dana White regularly would interact with these fans. And the attitude of “us against them” pervaded the MMA community. In recent years, this early history seems almost forgotten, except in one regard. On any internet forum or on the comments of any internet site covering MMA, if someone criticizes White, out come his defenders in droves. The attitude is, “You don’t run a billion-dollar company, so how dare you criticize White?” Of course, the problem with this attitude is that White can’t be criticized except by a select few. This idea would be the equivalent of claiming no one should be able to criticize embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for recent incidents unless they, too, own a basketball team, or that no one can criticize a Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s poor decisions on a field unless they, too, were a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. These traditions, quirks, attitudes and actions stand out to me, but they certainly aren’t the only ones out there. What MMA fan traditions, behaviors and quirks bother you?