Bill Simmons is doing his first dive into the world of mixed martial arts since landing at his new Any Given Wednesday show on HBO, and you can tell he’s just starting to come around to the spot. His opening monologue (which you can watch at the bottom of this post) shares his experience attending UFC 39 in 2002, which left him “rattled, not just by the carnage, but by the crazy aggro males in the crowd who wanted blood.”
But now Simmons is impressed by the athletes performing in the cage and the promotion’s growth outside of it. In a world where everything is safe, he asks, “Where are we going to get our stupid violence? From the sport that’s nothing but violence!”
Bill had Joe Rogan on the show to discuss how possible it is for a thirty-year-old to come “pick up the sport and learn to fight at that level.” Joe responded with the two big examples of older guys trying this: Brock Lesnar and CM Punk.
“Lesnar won the world title at four fights into his MMA career, he beat Randy Couture. He stopped him. It wasn’t just a decision where he just lay on top of him. He stopped Randy Couture in his fourth professional fight. But he’s a real freak. And he’s also a two time NCAA national champion. He’s a freak wrestler.”
“His bone structure is just straight viking. He’s just not a normal human. His head is way too big. His body is way too big, his hands are too big. This is a guy who’s cutting weight to get down to the 265 pound weight limit. He’s an enormous human being, and he’s skillful. The advantages he has like the horsepower advantages over the average person are so substantial that he’s a real threat. Even today, like what is he, 36, 37?”
“So for that guy, it’s different from a guy like CM Punk. CM Punk is a very reasonable looking athlete. He looks like a guy that’s fit, that works out. If he’s mentally tough and he’s intelligent and he prepares at a very good camp, who knows? He could have some success.”
So there’s your ray of hope, all you thirty-somethings considering a sudden switch in profession to cage fighter. Unfortunately, you’ll often be facing the next generation of MMA competitor: a 20-year-old kid who has been training jiu jitsu since he was six and everything else from twelve onward. We’re not saying it’s impossible … just more likely some young kid will ice you with endless knees and elbows right to the nose. Now that’s something that will leave you rattled.