Fight night

As payback for taking him to see Twilight, my hubby made me watch a UFC fight.

Having read about fights in my romance books and having watched movies, I was confident I knew what to expect. The hero would have quiet dignity and not be very demonstrative. Neo-like, he’d move so quickly the naked eye would have trouble following his actions. Rocky-like, he’d take punches stoically without so much as a flinch. He’d wait until just the right moment, when he’d unleash his punch and with minimal fuss, subdue the bad guy in seconds. It would be a thing of beauty.

I was taken back as soon as the fighters emerged. Neither of them looked right. For one, their hair didn’t look like Fabio’s and they weren’t cool and aloof. They were tattooed, with shaved heads, broken noses and had ‘cauliflower’ ears–an item never once mentioned in a romance book.

When the fight started, it was a huge let down. For minutes on end, all the fighters did was circle each other giving their opponent their version of the ‘evil eye’. I stared as time passed and not a single arm was lifted. When I finally asked my hubby what was going on, he explained they were ‘looking for an opening’. An opening? Napoleon didn’t plan as long as these two did.

When they finally got into the actual scuffle, their punches were ridiculous and uncoordinated. While Rocky had punches that could fell a tree, these guys seldom hit their target and their hits looked feather light.

Something romance books never mention is that the chin is like a On/Off button on people. When a flailing limb somehow hit one of the fighters on the chin, he went down like a sack of potatoes.

Another fact that romance books blatantly ignore is the power of the elbow. Fists might look powerful but if you want to really hurt your opponent, you should use your elbow. Harder than any knuckle, the elbow can do incredible damage and can actually cut someone’s face. To my knowledge, not one of my romance heroes has ever elbowed someone.

And to bring about submission, you writhe on the ground with your opponent looking a lot like two earthworms who have gotten very friendly with each other.

Watching two well trained athletes slither on the ground, grinding against their opponent burst what was left of my hope that this fight would ever resemble those in my romance books. Not one ounce of dignity, not an iota of romantic flare, this wasn’t a hero and a bad guy, this was nuts.


I practically ran back to my romance books.

12 thoughts on “Fight night

  1. Welcome to reality! We write or read these well-choreographed versions of fights, but they never look like that in real life. It always cracks me up when movies portray fights so graceful and planned. Yeah, like the bad guy is going to stand there and wait to be hit! Or the twenty bad guys are going to each patiently wait their turn for a shot at the good guy. Movies and books are much more fun than the reality of UFC, though.

  2. I loved this post – I laughed so hard I swear there were tears. All the action scenes I’ve ever read came back to haunt me and you have my deepest sympathy for having to sit through it! The elbow I did know about. In the fantasy romance I’m writing, my female character hits a demon in the face, and there’s a satisfying crunch as he cheekbone shatters (really, he deserved it!).

    I can also sympathise with the quid pro quo to a certain extent. I’m always forcing my daughters to watch Marvel movies when they’re released (LOVED Guardians of the Galaxy), and they make me sit and watch Wizards of Waverley Place in return. You probably don’t know what that is, but believe me…it’s torture!

    • Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun writing it too. I especially liked the picture. Apparently, in his day, that guy was pretty intimidating. Those pants alone sent me into fits of laughter. Then the moustache…sigh. Sooo good.

  3. One thing I like about mixed martial arts (of which UFC is the most famous league) is how intentionally raw it is. Nothing is planned, nothing is choreographed, and you truly don’t know what to expect. Stats like “punching distance”, “height”, and “martial arts known” disappear into irrelevance the second the fight starts, with sometimes raw willpower being the only difference between winning and losing.

    And it’s that rawness, that pure unexpectedness that makes the fight interesting to watch. It’s not beautiful in the cliche sense of beauty everyone touts, but in its own way the purity of chaos is its own beauty.

  4. Great description of the fiction fight vs. reality. And funny, too! For one scene in my novel I researched hand to hand combat. I also asked my husband, the combat vet. He told me the truth. Fights are fast, nasty and over before you know what hit you.

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