From Urban Dictionary: “To tell a story or claim that is inherently false and has no chance of occurring. Stems from the boy who cried wolf, thus leading to wolf tickets being sold by the boy. “
Why do we pay money to see people beat each other up?
What I mean is, what do people really want to see? For all the cliches about “the spirit of competition” or determining who the better man is, grudges, even neatly manufactured ones, are what really turns people on.
Now, I’m not gonna speak for anyone else here, but when I heard Anthony Smith and Giovanni Suarez were gonna throw down in the Bancroft Jr. High parking lot back in the 7th grade, I didn’t drop my bag and do a full sprint because I was interested in finding out who the superior boxer was. Nah, I did it because those guys hated each other and really, I fucking hated David and I wanted to see him catch a beating. Hell, if there had been some lady at the entrance to that lot charging $5, I would have given her my lunch money (and my bus money) without any hesitation and walked my ass home that day.
So really, that’s what the fight business is all about. Yeah it’s sport and yeah, competition and the intracacies of the fight game are enough to attract those who love boxing, but you aren’t making any real money unless you attract the other people, the ones who are coming for the grudge match, the ones who want to see the two guys who hate each other.
As for me, well, I’d like to think I can spot the difference. Chalk it up to having seen one too many fights promoted as grudge matches, only to have the two supposed sworn enemies pal it up afterward and talk of how they said what they did to “promote the fight”. Look, I saw the build-up to last years’ Antonio Margarito/Miguel Cotto rematch and that was a real, genuine beef. When that one was said and done, Cotto had nothing to say other than he felt redeemed, and he assured us that he had no love in his heart for Margarito, nor will he ever. Margarito was a dick to the bitter end, sporting a battered face that seemed at odds with his “he hits like a girl” proclamations.
Just to be clear, there’s nothing technically wrong with drumming up a contrived grievance for the sake of selling tickets, it’s just something I personally don’t care for and will most likely disregard. Even if Chael Sonnen’s entire persona was lifted from the “bad guy”pro wrestling aesthetic and his interviews come off as if they were written word-for-word and delivered off cue cards, I certainly don’t blame him for doing what he does if it makes him more relevant (not to mention richer) than he ever would have been otherwise. I mean, what I think about him as a person is beside the point here anyway. It’s really more about feeling insulted that anyone would go for such a heavy-handed shitck or worse, proclaim him some kind of anti-hero badass for doing something so edgy as saying brazilian children play in the mud or any of the other racial taunts he lobbed at Silva in the promotion of this fight.
And if that’s not bad enough, we had to suffer the indignity of UFC head Dana White claiming that this fight was not sold on the premise of Sonnen’s tomfoolery (and/or Silva’s promise to break every bone in Sonnen’s body) but by the first fight itself, as if there mere idea of seeing a good battle alone is enough to encourage over a million people to part with fifty dollars.
In the end, Silva won in the manner most thought they would, and more people than not were no doubt left disappointed that they had not gotten to see someone be dismembered or worse, and while the aftermath lacked the usual “we did it all for the money” admissions for the combatants, it did feature a gracious Silva inviting Silva to his barbecue (way to rub it in) and Sonnen reciting every well-worn platitude in the gracious loser playbook, as if the defeat had suddenly transformed him into your everyday humble sportsman.
And now, Silva will go back about his business of lording over the Middleweight division and Chael will search far and wide for his next potentially lucrative “grudge match” and though the a few spectators will feel swindled, the rest will be none the wiser.
So yeah, hats off to Chael Sonnen for sellin’ them wolf tickets like nobody’s business.
After all, if it were that easy, everyone would do it.