Monday, December 24, 2012

Better things ....

They say that when it rains it pours. Combine that with the good things happening to good people bit from my last post and you have the makings of a December to remember.

Now almost everyone who knows me will concede that I am the peace-loving, harmless, couldn’t hurt a fly even if he wanted to sort of bloke. Anyone who knows me very well will conceded that despite what everyone else thinks, I am the violence loving harmless sort of bloke. Well what can I say? Appearances are deceptive. But shhhhh dont tell anyone.

My predilection for watching physical combat all started when we discovered the magic of the WWF on cable television (  And then sometime in 2006 my Dad and I discovered Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) through the airing of Pride Fighting Championship. And just as wrestling blew me away as a young kid in 1992, MMA positively changed my view of the sporting world forever. With limited airing of Pride events on our sports channels and the eventual downfall of the Japanese organization when they got taken over the up and coming US based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), I had to resort to the internet for my fix of real fighting. And I’ve been watching monthly PPVs ever since. In fact I thought I was the only one crazy enough to be doing so in India all these years.

Now the fastest growing sport in the world, the UFC has taken MMA to new countries and we in India finally have our daily dose of no holds barred combat through the launch of a new sports channel. In a bid to attract more viewers, the channel had a contest where viewers had to list their favourite moment from the upcoming live PPV. I strongly believe that participating in most of these widely advertised contests is a colossal waste of time given that you are competing against tens of thousands of fans. But if there ever was a contest that was a blind folded walk in the park, this was it. In a country obsessed with cricket, cricket and more cricket and with a strong following for soccer, Formula 1, tennis, hockey, badminton and chess, MMA probably wasn’t even on the radar of 99.9999999999 % of sports lovers.

And yet, rather annoyingly, there they were. At least 15 - 20 other MMA fans logged in as the event went live and it was an online slobber knocker till the show ended as each of us did our level best to get our hands on the promised prize of autographed UFC merchandize. Autographed by Rich 'Ace' Franklin nonetheless. Which probably means nothing to all my 3 readers, think of Rich as the MMA equivalent of Steve Waugh. A bona fide legend of the sport. A few days later I received a message from the channel congratulating me for having won the contest! Woo hoo baybeh!

I had to wait for a bit to get my hands on my prize though. And what a prize it is. The UFC encyclopedia is just 390 + pages of unadulterated brilliance. With detailed write-ups on every past and present fighter and two page articles on each and every event that has occurred in UFC history, this book is a MMA fans wildest dream come true. As I slowly and carefully flipped through the pages, I felt that I was in sports heaven. All those hours spent in front of my laptop watching, learning and analyzing the subtle nuances of jujitsu and other forms of martial arts while the rest of the world was out living life king size, finally paid off.

And so Im waiting for my holidays to get over so that I can get back to my daily work life grind with the knowledge that I am going to be coming home every evening to the book that has now taken centre stage in my 60+ book collection. Sorry 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Sorry Yes Prime Minister. I will have to finish you two later. You've been replaced by the perfect book for winter nights. And summer days. And given its size, I think it will last me till the onset of our rainy days as well.

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