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Sunday, 04/29/2012, 11:58 am

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The Humble Will Thrive


Sports and humility do not often go together so well.  We’re more used to seeing an athlete pretend to rip off his shirt like he’s Superman or refer to himself in the third person than we are to see anything resembling humility.  But MMA is different.  At its core, MMA is a sport that will humble you.  MMA is a sport where, one way or another, the humble will thrive.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know that there’s plenty of arrogance and self-promotion in MMA.  Think Tito Ortiz pretending to dig a grave after beating his opponent.  But as time goes by, bodies get older and the competition gets more difficult.  Age can can bring humility very fast.

And that’s the secret to MMA being a sport about humility.  No matter how good you are, it never lasts.  There’s always a better striker or someone who’s better on the ground.  If you haven’t met him yet, you will.  But in MMA, there’s no lazy offensive lineman or weak bullpen to blame for your loss.  Like no other sport, your loss reflects directly upon you.  The guy that beat you was better.  There’s a lot of humility that comes with knowing that.

I had been going to the same gym for a few weeks and one day, in between classes, we were all sitting around talking about the UFC.  Most of the guys I was with had fought at the amateur level.  And then there was me.  I hadn’t done anything since the six weeks I spent in karate class back in the 5th grade, unless you want to count all the time I spent watching Kung Fu Theater.  And yet I felt the need to share my expertise about how bad Forrest Griffin looked in the Anderson Silva fight.

I’ll never forget what one of the real fighters in our class said before standing up and walking off.

“At least Forrest was willing to get in the octagon and fight Silva.  That’s more than any of us can say.”

Ouch.

By the end of that class, I had a new respect for Forrest Griffin.  It’s those of us who have the biggest mouths that are usually working with the small skill set.  The guy that really knows what he’s doing doesn’t feel the need to openly critique every single fighter or get the Tapout logo tattooed on his forehead.  He doesn’t do those things because to get to where he is, he’s been humbled.  He’s tapped before.  He’s fought tougher, quicker men. Nothing will humble you like getting thrown around by a guy twice your size and twice as good as you.

Well, almost nothing.

A while back I taught my three-year-old son how to do the triangle choke.  We kept on practicing and he got pretty good.  One day I sat down next to him on the couch and within seconds, he had his legs wrapped around my neck, his hands pulling down on my head and his hips up in the air.

I really regretted teaching him the triangle but I was glad that I taught him to let go when the other guy taps.

The best fighters walk away from the sport with their share of defeats but if they walk away with humility it’s all been worthwhile.  You can grow a lot when you win in MMA.  You can grow even more when you tap out.

Even if it’s to a three-year-old.

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13 Comments to The Humble Will Thrive

  1. magnetic dick says:

    whats up with this site posting shitty articles about nothing lately.

  2. Bjj BB says:

    @ Magnetic Dick, Mma news is mma news, reguardless if its only about your favorite fighters, DUMBASS!!

  3. Gabi says:

    I like this. It’s all true.

  4. jbeamazing says:

    I don’t think there is such thing as a completely humble fighter I think big nog is as close as it comes you don’t see anderson silva being cocky out side of the cage but if you seen the demian maia fight it makes it hard to see him as a humble guy completely but to market your self as such can’t hurt your career
    the sport has bloomed so much that you have to make noise to get your name out there like if chael didn’t say such ridiculous stuff people would careless about him and he probably wouldn’t be fighting for the tittle

  5. Fuck You says:

    Totally agree with this article, guys who criticize the most are the ones who’ve never fought or trained in their lives. I have no respect or those types of people let alone the ones who think they’re bad bc they watch every fight, wear TAPOUT shirts and get it tattooed

  6. pitbull jits says:

    LMAO. Forget the guy that walked out after the Silva comment. Bj Penn is arrogant as duck and still my favorite all time fighter. Forrest Griffin is a horrible loser. He ran out of the cage cryin after Rampage KO’D him in the cage he ran out crying didn’t even shake the other fighters hand. Had a battle with a guy that was tossed around by Jon Jones. Fans will have their opinions. As far as Tapout goes, never wore a tapout apparel at anytime I wouldn’t wear the shit if they gave it to me.

    • jbeamazing says:

      forrest beat rampage your opinion officially don’t count

      • pitbull jits says:

        I meant to say Silva I was talking to my friend about the fight with rampage and accidentally typed that ohhh sooo sorry Griffin is still a poor sport for running out crying.

  7. pitbull jits says:

    LMAO. Forget the guy that walked out after the Silva comment. Bj Penn is arrogant as duck and still my favorite all time fighter. Forrest Griffin is a horrible loser. He ran out of the cage cryin after Silva KO’D him in the cage he ran out crying didn’t even shake the other fighters hand. Had a battle with a guy that was tossed around by Jon Jones. Fans will have their opinions. As far as Tapout goes, never wore a tapout apparel at anytime I wouldn’t wear the shit if they gave it to me.

  8. Ryan says:

    People who don’t understand the message of what the writer is trying to say have no respect and forget that this is a sport. Hopefully future demographics of mma fans will understand the respect of what its like to compete and have honor.

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