Tara's Take: MMA at the MSA

By: Tara Wheeler
By: Tara Wheeler

If you're a fan of the Mark Moses morning sports talk show on WKAV, then you know I spent Friday night taking in my first cage fighting experience. Here are my thoughts.

If you're a fan of the Mark Moses morning sports talk show on WKAV, then you may have heard I was a guest on the program last week. The shtick was for me to come in and give Mark some advice on his upcoming speed dating adventure and then come back again afterwards for a debrief/ribbing a couple of days later... Well, it turns out Mark's speed dating adventure was fruitless (it was canceled), so I was attacked with a friendly ambush on his morning show and asked if I would be his date to the January 28th Brawl in the Cage Mixed Martial Arts battle at the Main Street Arena... How could I say no?

Rewind-- A few months ago, one of my first assignments with CBS19 was to interview a cage fighter and an instructor for the first MMA event at the Main Street Arena. The fellas showed me some basic moves and taught me a lot about the sport. It has a violent reputation but it's built around respect. It's a mix of wrestling, boxing, and various other forms of martial arts. Someone doesn't have to get knocked out for a match to end, either. When the competitors are in a dangerous situation, the battle stops.

As an ice hockey player, I feel like I can be pretty rough-and-tumble when the time comes so I was really getting into it and trying hard to learn the moves. I was so excited when the instructor pulled me aside and said "You've got natural talent, kid. Give me three months and I'll make you an MMA fighter"... I don't know what Jim Hanchett would say about me anchoring the news with a broken nose... so I'll just put those words in my "Confidence Bank" and be happy that I had potential.

Fast forward-- Mark Moses is hilarious and I have a great time with everyone at Monticello Media so I was definitely looking forward to taking in my first cage fighting event with them. My thoughts: It is INTENSE! I've seen MMA on TV, but in person, when you can actually hear the kicks land, see the sweat fly and blood drip, it's a completely surreal experience. I saw the trainers applying Vaseline to the fighter's faces and was wondering why that was... Turns out, the slick jelly helps punches slide off and lessens the blow. Neat. I wonder how they figured that out and I wonder if the first fighter to slather it on got some funny looks?

In all, I had a good time. You don't have to be completely engrossed in the fights to still enjoy the social, fun atmosphere. There's music, drinks, and plenty of people to hang out with. I definitely have a ton of respect for the athletes and I'd check out another brawl for sure.

Did anyone else attend the event? What did you think?

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