About 10 years ago, I went on a vacation with my parents and my siblings. It was a nice little getaway for maybe 5 days. My brother and I were watching random videos on YouTube on our dad’s iPad. (I was probably around 13 years old, and my brother was 9). It was hot as hell outside, so we stayed indoors till the afternoon. All of a sudden, my brother said he wanted to show me something. He typed UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) on the search bar. We opened up the first video that appeared on top. The name was Top 20 Knockouts in UFC History. It was bloody and violent and for some reason, my brother looked like he enjoyed it. Being the older brother, I thought it wasn’t good for us to watch that, at least at that age. I told him let’s not watch it, it’s too bloody violent. He said no let’s keep watching, it’s fun. We ended up finishing the video.
I wasn’t actually that disturbed since I enjoyed watching kickboxing since I was 10. But this was a completely different sport named Mixed Martial Arts. As the name implies, it’s a mixture of all martial arts such as boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu. It seems more violent and dangerous than let’s say boxing, but it isn’t. I can explain it in a different post. After that day, I don’t remember us watching UFC again, but maybe I’m wrong. We probably have forgotten about it or didn’t find it interesting anymore.
5 years later, I came to the United States. It was a different culture that I had to get used to. I also had to make new friends since all of them were back in Turkey. I was an ESL student and studying for TOEFL and on top of that, I had hobbies like reading, playing basketball, watching docu-series etc. So being bored wasn’t the case (FYI, I honestly don’t remember the last time I was bored). One day, I came across some news on the upcoming UFC match. I decided to watch it on Saturday live. It was one of the most fun activities I’d done in a long time.
I don’t watch UFC like I watch movies. I pay attention to fighters’ footwork, their decisions on specific moments, and commentators. Every time I watch a UFC fight, I sort of analyze the fight as I’m watching and it gives me joy. I don’t force myself to analyze, it happens naturally. As time went on, I started to know more fighters, not just the famous ones. I started following UFC just like a fanatic football fan follows Patriots. Most Saturday nights, there is a fight card, not all of them are exciting but I think most of them are. When there is a big fight coming up, I get very excited, even when I’m feeling down for some reason, I think of the upcoming fights and it lifts my mood up immediately. When I watch the fights, I like to be alone, I don’t like gatherings for UFC fight nights. Because most of the time, I need to explain stuff to my friends which I don’t enjoy when I’m focused on the fight. That time is my me-time, and it’s mostly non-negotiable. So I call it an addiction, just like I think jiu-jitsu is too, but I don’t think it’s a bad one. (I know addiction is used for bad stuff but I use it however I like to use it). That’s why I’m not planning to give up on this addiction of mine.