So, my son-in-law is in Dublin, Ireland, this week prepping to defend his MMA heavyweight title belt in a Saturday 5-rounder against challenger D. J. Linderman. Mike “300” Hayes (as in the gladiator movie) is the husband of my elder daughter, Meghan, and fights for the London-based Mixed Martial Arts organization Cage Warriors. They’re basically the British equivalent of UFC or Strikeforce and stage their tournaments everywhere except the U.S. Mike won his belt in Dubai back in March with a technically gorgeous inverted triangle and kimura. (Jiu-jitsu talk there.)
Here’s a cool piece about Mike on a promo trip in Amman, Jordan.
Like most fathers in my realm, while my two daughters progressed through the years from kindergarten to college campus, I had visions of them achieving their graduate degrees with honors, joining prestigious business firms, then — and only then — marrying a couple of brilliant heart surgeons. But life . . . and love . . . and babies . . . happen how they happen, and four years ago I hesitantly began to embrace the fact that son-in-law #1 wanted to make a living beating the crap out of people.
Now, I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, as MMA is hardly Fight Club, and I’ve come to realize that this massively popular hybrid of boxing, wrestling, and a dozen other international versions of hand-to-hand combat is actually safer than you might think. There are plently of rules and regs, and the lightweight gloves make head-thumping less risky than boxing.
Yet, there’s no denying, it is what it is: two guys — or gals — opening a can of whoop-ass on each other. And sometimes there’s blood. And often there’s “Holy moley, that had to hurt!” Here’s a well-produced video showing Mike in Dubai:
I’ve eventually become a fan. I understand it all pretty well now. It’s like the day I figured out the perfect pitch for the baserunner to steal second. I get it.
My wife doesn’t. Nor does she want to. Even the thought of blood flying makes her stomach quease. But her 91-year old dad will tune in. As will my folks and most of my friends. At least they’ll peek between their fingers and give it their best shot.
If you’re game, the fights on Saturday will be streamed live at MMA Junkie. The main card starts at 1pm Pacific. Mike will defend his belt in the final bout. Check it out and who knows, you might enjoy it. Or at least you can say, “I sorta know a guy whose daughter’s husband is Mike “300” Hayes. Yeah, that guy.
Just a thought.