Technically, it’s not a sad day for MMA (for those who don’t know what MMA is, just think of UFC and that’s close enough), but it is a sad day for me because my favorite fighter lost last night. The fight itself was relatively even for the majority of the time. However, the way he lost was so disappointing that it left me wondering why he was even there.
Let’s give a little background on the fighter in mention. To start off, let’s call him Mirko…cause that’s his name. From 2002-2007 Mirko spent much of his professional career kicking people’s heads off into the crowd (figuratively speaking). Image Mike Tyson style of explosive knockouts.
When Mirko was knocking people out on a regular basis he was mainly doing it with Left High Kicks. Left foot says “hi” to opponent’s head, opponent’s head meets ground, opponent takes a nap and everybody wins, yay! However, during the matches, he was doing a lot more than just throwing a high kick. He threw jabs, crosses, leg kicks, body kicks, pushing them away, the occasional hook, etc. Although, most people tuned into his fights in hopes that they would see one of those signature kicks, it was everything else that helped set it up.
That explosive strike always seemed to come out of nowhere. It seemed to come out of nowhere because he set the attack up the same way a magician would. He has you look over at the right because of a few jabs, you forget to watch his feet and all of a sudden his foot is at your eye level. Then you’re left wondering how the hospital food will taste when you eventually wake up. Very Houdini like if you ask me.
Unfortunately, when he finally came to Vegas (that’s where most UFC fights take place), he seemed to have forgotten his bag of sleight-of-hand magic tricks elsewhere.
So last night, instead of doing:
jab-jab-hook-cross-leg kick-push-jab-jab-Left High Kick-Win-Celebrate
push-push-push-left high kick-miss-nothing-nothing-repeat-Lose-disappointed fans.
One formula of attack seems to have worked better for him than the other and now I’m one disappointed fan.
Improv is a lot like fighting (I knew I’d find some way to tie this into improv). Most of us have our special attack. Some people can “ooh ahh” the crowd with cartwheels, some are excellent singers and others are great at the one liners. Mirko had his one liner – it was his left foot. Show after show he relied on it to get the reaction from his opponent (and the crowd) that he wanted. Eventually he became so focused on that one attack and one crowd response that he lost sight of everything else he needed to be a complete performer. He stopped doing all the little things to build up the special attack and now he is predictable.
Whether your special talent is cartwheels, head kicks or the power of song, don’t let it control you. The more attached you are to the reaction, the harder you’ll try to force it and the less people will care because you will have become predictable. Then I’ll be left feeling disappointed again and really…no one wants that. So remember your jabs, your hooks, your knees to the mid section and save that left high kick for the best moments…metaphorically improvisation speaking of course.