We talk a lot about cages but fail to make a vital distinction. Unlike animals in the wild, the modern fighter is in a cage not by chance, but by choice. When the cage door shuts, there is of course a certain fear in anticipation, but it trifles next to the terror of a true cage closing around you.
Far scarier than octagons are hospitals and prisons. Nobody is ever there because they want to be.
Fear is relative.
Brock Lesnar is well, and I am happy about that.
There were a lot of plans orbiting Brock over the last year — the plans of the UFC, of Dana White, of fighters from Mir to Carwin to Couture. None of those plans anticipated the crippling case of diverticulitis that floored the Heavyweight Champion in a way that none of his opponents ever have. Everybody had to put their machinations on hold and just wait for information that wouldn't come. What was wrong? Had the doctors made it better? Worse? Surgery? Career? Nobody knew anything.
Nor can I blame Lesnar for keeping it that way. Famously reticent with the media at the best of times, that he should keep us posted on all the things he didn't know was an unreasonable expectation. We’re used to every minute detail of a celebrity’s life being dissected, chopped finely to a near-atomic level. Brock could have come out this week with a smile on his face or with a colostomy bag on his hip and life would have gone on a couple of news cycles later. It was the unknown that was driving all of us crazy.
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Fights have been blurring together for me recently. But I think it was Simpson vs. Lawlor at Fight Night 20 when Joe Rogan, nearly apoplectic in post-fight interviews, expressed shock and anger that the Fairfax fans would deign to boo a fighter when they found the decision unjust.