What goes 'round comes 'round
"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Even if it takes a few centuries or so.
They were the gladiators, those whom you have seen on the silver screen with
the help of Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), Barabbas (Anthony Quinn), Gladiator
(Russell Crowe), Demetrius and the Gladiators (Victor Mature) and many others.
They were not as glamorous or heroic as depicted. To the contrary, they were
usually recruited from criminals, slaves (captured fugitives) and other
categories that were tossed on the dung heaps of their various societies.
They were the unwanted, prepared to die or gain some glory by killing others,
repute and acclaim that might lead to their freedom.
In fact, they fought for Nero in 63 AD but it was all truly initiated in 310
BCE by the Campanians' military success over the Samnites...when they were
aided by the Romans. The Romans seized upon this to create the first Roman
gladiatorial games in 246 BCE.
Russell Crowe as the Gladiator.
It was not the brainchild of the UFC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, nor
the MMA, Mixed Martial Arts. Hardly. And the arenas where men fought to the
death before Roman emperors and zealous crowds with nothing better to do, were
slightly larger than the cages and rings where the "gladiators" of today find
themselves on a weekly basis. The crowds are the same, having changed only
from togas to jeans. And, there are no thumbs down, only middle digits
pointing skyward at any disagreement with another fan or the combatants
As far as referring to any of this as "martial arts," that is the same as
calling applicants for American Idol and America's Got Talent the next
Streisand, Whitney Houston of Celine Dion. Not even an Elton John, Bruce
Springsteen, Billy Joel or Neil Diamond hiding in the folds of the next
curtain before it goes up. Some rare exceptions with talent? Of course, but
there is no Maximus Decimus Meridias, the real life character portrayed by
Crowe, waiting in the dressing room. No Emperor Commodus for "The Spaniard"
These men are street bullies in presumably great shape, and with nothing else
to do but bludgeon one another into submission to the utter delight of the
same people that fill theaters to see every version of "Friday, The 13th" and
think that Jason will soon show up to enter the cage. They would love that,
saw and all. Not about to happen but don't bet against it.
What aspects of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan does one see when rushing off to
Vegas or, if that is not affordable, to the tube to watch two men, and now two
women on more than an occasional instance, beat the hell out of each other in
any way that they can, absent swords or tigers let loose while they fight?
Welcome to the latest version of civilization.
You cannot possibly call this entertainment. It would be like watching a
pyromaniac set fire to a home or forest and enjoy it. If it pleases you then
Shirley MacLaine was right and you did live at another time, likely during the
It is not boxing, not wrestling, certainly not any sort of combative art form
and derides the notion that it is actually within the definition of martial
arts. What you see is hand to hand combat that is evident on any street
corner of a neighborhood where gangs are attempting to determine alleged
territorial rights. Winner take all and loser to the emergency ward of the
Mixed Martial Arts?!?! It is mixed alright. It is mixed with mayhem and a
complete disregard for anything other than maiming your opponent and doing all
that you can to pound him, or her, into the canvas and onto a stretcher.
Rules? What rules? No guns, knives, hand grenades or brass knuckles. The
way they fight, you not only need iron-clad protection of the nether regions
to compete, you need it to keep from losing your manhood after one swift kick
or grab that does not have "love" and hope for a dinner date accompanying it.
OK, you are a fan. Congratulations. Do not tell me, however, that this is
classic combat when it is "kill or be killed." It is alien meets predator,
and no holds barred. No redeeming value need apply. Gladiators of the Roman
Empire they are not. Russell Crowe a/k/a Maximus Decimus ("The Spaniard") they
No doubt there are fans out there that will take umbrage with my view of what
they call "sport." However, sport it is not!! And, it makes street fighting,
without guns, look like a minor disagreement.
Gladiators, as we think of them, thanks to the movies we have seen and absent
personal Colosseum "box seats" knowledge? Nope. If this is the best you can
do for pleasure, an evening out with the better half or, perish the thought,
the kids or a few hours on pay per view to while away the time, you gotta be