Fighting in the Age of Loneliness: The History of MMA


I’m interested in reading your response! I’m not opposed to PEDs, and I liked the way they contrasted Jones with McGregor. Why can McGregor do whatever he wants, but Jones can’t? The line “there is no veneer in vulgarity” is particularly powerful, in that the UFC can’t seem to decide what it is. I’d like to hear your response, please link it when you have it ready!

Edit: just saw your post. I’ll read it after work!


Glad someone picked up on the passage about PEDs because this is where the piece completely lost me. Now I’m not interested in MMA (or any kind of combat sports really), but I know enough about the usage of PEDs in other disciplines and how it affected the lives of a lot of people to say that it’s not as easy as the video makes it out to be.

It’s not only because of the detrimental side effects a lot of PEDs have (just read up on the history of professional cycling if you want to see how bad it can get), they also skew the competition not only because of their intented effects, but also because taking PEDs (especially newer one’s) is really expensive.
Not every professional athlete has the money to afford a complete treatment package for PEDs, which means that folks that are not at the top are either at risk of being outcompeted because they can’t afford PEDs, or they are at risk of being caught.

If we would live in a system where an athlete’s performance is independent from their ability to live a good and comfortable live and where all of them get proper medical treatment, then maybe we could talk about PEDs not being incredibly harmful for sports in general. But then again, under these circumstance we probably also don’t have athletic organisations pushing for more events and a media landscape that always wants more and more spectacle. Which might mean there would be less of a need to use PEDs anyway.


I feel its worth being explicit about PEDs in Cycling.

A number of otherwise healthy Professional cyclists died in their sleep because their blood became too thick for their heart to pump, due to taking drugs to increase red blood cell production.

It is also somewhat disappointing that Cycling always gets blasted for PED issues, even though half of the early 2000s Barcelona football team were clients of Eufemiano Fuentes, but that just gets brushed under the rug because $$$


I’ve read through the whole article (which I wasn’t expecting as someone who has no interest in fighting at all), the potted history is great, and well focused on your first point of criticism (the idea that UFC sprung fully formed and perfected into the world as opposed to being built on a long history of others).

The rest of the piece reads well and seems balanced in its criticism.

I totally recognize this comment in myself

This will happen to everything that you love. Nothing you like will remain untouched, and it will get further and further monetized into meaninglessness

But as you say, its meaningless to just throw it out. If you think its true then it should be the crux of the discussion, about how you maintain meaning and a sense of authenticity when everything has a price, and if it is even possible to maintain that meaning through high levels of exposure to something (an issue I find increasingly prevalent in my consumption of games). Its a very naive thing to say on its own, without some critical engagement with the fact that everything is a product.

On a more practical note, is there any way to force a maximum line length on tumblr? The were … quite long on my laptop by default


Really appreciate the feedback, thank you.

I definitely share your perspective on PED usage @branwen, I am a long time fan of professional cycling. My first draft included a couple of paragraphs that touch on the same sort of thing you mention regarding Barcelona FC and Fuentes: sports that actually try to catch cheats generate bad headlines, but sports that do token testing and pass out suspensions under the table maintain a reputation of sportsmanship and fair play.


This quote stood out to me as well, it seemed to be used in a jokey, gallows humor like fashion, like “don’t care for the UFC? well, everything you like has probably been turned to shit by the world too” Read the wrong way it comes off a bit petulant but there’s some truth in there…


Tito Ortiz’s message to Felix was very cute.

How about them Mixed Martial Arts?

I hadn’t thought of this before. In powerlifting it’s generally understood that if you juice you compete in non-tested federations. If you choose not to use steroids you can compete in tested federations. I’m not saying that this is the answer, but it allows for both types of competition. Your comment just shows that I’ll have to think more about steroids in the broader context of sports rather than just lifting.


It turns out that one of the most prominent journalists in MMA when it comes to PED topics has been convicted of some extremely dark shit. Unfortunately for MMA, I think this will slow down the progress that is being made in addressing PED abuse since that journalist was regularly calling out the UFC and USADA for inconsistencies and poor practices.

However, I’m fucking glad that the journalist got caught now rather than later.