Sports, especially combat sports, are often more about the narrative than the actual fights themselves. Sure, Fedor was an unbelievable wrecking machine, but what made him so interesting was that we knew nothing about him. He didn’t do interviews, he still doesn’t for the most part. During his reign, MMA reporting on the internet was still in it’s infancy, there was no information on him. All we knew is that he was this mysterious Russian, who came into the ring and violently beat opponents down while showing zero emotion. That’s what endeared Fedor with fight fans.
We have something like Shogun vs. Machida II for example as well. A fight on it’s own, without having any knowledge of the two fighters is a fairly standard affair. A fun knockout, nothing more. Knowing about both the men is what makes that fight legendary. Shogun, the man that came over from Pride, who didn’t set the world ablaze as he was supposed to when coming to the UFC. Machida, the man who had the style no one could solve. Their first fight, a five round war, with Shogun clearly winning, except in the eyes of the three judges. Shogun being screwed again by something out of his control, first his knee surgery and now this? Shogun fought the perfect fight, Machida will just have to change things up and somehow pull out a victory vs. Shogun right? If he did, Shogun’s chances at UFC gold would surely be up. Unless your name is Uriah Faber, you don’t get more than two title shots. Machida didn’t have the chances to change things up in the second bout, Shogun finished him quickly in the first round. The narrative behind that fight is what makes it so great, not necessarily the fight itself.
The narrative behind Bernard Hopkins is what makes him a must see. A man that’s more than twice my age, beating up men that are nearly 20 years younger than him is one of the best stories in sports. Bernard is very aware of who is he and where he is in his career. Listening to him talk to the media telling them don’t worry when he’s going to hang up the gloves, enjoy him while he still has them on, is surreal because it couldn’t be more true. There’s a very good chance Sergey Kovalev becomes the first man to knock out Bernard Hopkins, resulting in BHop to retire. There’s also a good chance that BHop will take Kovalev to school. Just enjoy him while he’s here, because you’ll never see anyone like him again.
Props to the Fight Nerd for posting this video: