How many times have you found yourself watching the final round of an MMA contest and practically screaming at the screen in front of you? All the while you sit there; hoping one of the combatants will do something drastic in the closing minutes and just go for broke already. Yet time and time again, neither party deviates much from their gameplan and both fighters ride out the round, eager to find out if they’ve earned enough points for that evening.
This isn’t the MMA we paid to see. We deserve an exclamation point. A cherry on top. We want something flashy. We want more than just a winner and a loser. Enter Anthony Pettis.
That kick (don’t even act like you don’t already know the one I’m talking about) felt more satisfying than any KO or Submission finish I’ve seen in recent history. The victory was monumental for Pettis, but the kick is what fans, noobs and pundits alike will remember and talk about for years to come.
I almost feel bad for every other participant who battled on the final WEC card tonight, since Anthony Pettis completely eclipsed them with something I’ve only seen in movies and attempted when I was a stupid kid. Like so many other MMA diehards of today, I grew up on a variety of kung-fu flicks chock full of wire work and breathtaking kick-ass maneuvers. I soon thirsted for more than the movies could offer, and it wasn’t long before I tried out some crescent kicks and wall-walks in my basement, offering the mirror my very best Jackie Chan impersonation.
Then I got old and lame, my imagination waned and I realized that not only are those fancy zero-G roundhouses completely fake, but utterly impractical when it came to real-world combat. Yet earlier this evening something unexpected happened that blew a hole straight through my mind. In the very last frame of a professional MMA championship contest, Anthony Pettis took a page from Ninja Gaiden, leaped onto the fence with his right foot, and rocketed off the cage connecting directly with his opponents face. So much so that it caused poor Ben Henderson to fall to the canvas like so many other Rumble In The Bronx villains.
My jaw dropped, my girlfriend now likely awake due to the yelling, I suddenly remember what it is that drew me into MMA in the first place. For me, before it was mixed, it was just martial arts. And the idea of someone being able to pull off what Anthony Pettis just did, without looking like a total buffoon, is exactly what makes MMA the alluring, oft-misunderstood creature that it is.
It provides a stage where the unfathomable can take place at a moments notice. It creates a harmonious environment out of chaos and dares you to watch to see what happens next. Most of all, it can still make you want to practice those absurd acrobatic kicks that the average person should never attempt, but absolutely will, due to how awesome it looked on TV.
Whether he stands a shot at taking down the Edgar/Maynard winner is irrelevant for now; Anthony “Showtime” Pettis should take the time to fully indulge and relish in his moment of brilliance. Because even if he never fights another round, Pettis has already achieved something only a fraction of people can say they have. He truly made the impossible possible, and he looked good doing it. Get the man some champagne and a cigar.