All it took for UFC to gain the national spotlight was for somebody’s shin to split in half

If you watched the late edition of SporsCenter on Saturday night, you may have been surprised to see them open not with football, or basketball, or some manufactured yet inspiring story about a kid in a wheelchair overcoming great obstacles — but with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as UFC.

Your NewsFeed, too, may have been replete with some statuses about the events that transpired during Saturday night’s UFC fight card.

And even Twitter, more than 24 hours later, had a national trending topic of #UFC168 — the name of Saturday’s event, in which Chris WeidmanChris Weidman defended his Middleweight title against Anderson Silva.

This sudden burst of popularity wasn’t because the sport had finally blossomed into an overnight sensation, as some people predicted that it might. Rather, it was the manner in which Weidman won the fight that caught people’s attention. And that was the way in which Silva’s left fibula and tibia snapped after his ferocious leg kick was blocked by Weidman’s knee.

You know that feeling when you accidentally bang your shin, possibly on a staircase, or on the side of your bed? And you know how that really, really hurts?

Well this was a lot worse.

Here is a GIF image of the injury, but, be warned, do not watch it if you are not a fan of body parts contorting in ways they never should.

Instead, watch this GIF, also UFC related, and involves the female competitors prepping for their match.

The irony here is that the reason UFC became such a hot topic this weekend may very well be the same reason why it isn’t as popular as it could be. And that begins and ends with the sport’s violence.

There’s no question that other sports like football or hockey are violent as well, but unlike UFC, they don’t purely revolve around injuring your opponent.

You can make the case that it’s the same reason why boxing has lost a lot of its glory in the last couple of decades. It may also be due to the lack iconic figures like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, or even more recent ones like Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield, but I believe in this day and age when we know so much more about head injuries and post-concussion syndrome, it’s just not as enchanting to watch grown men bash the living shit out of each other’s faces.

Hey, if they still want to sign up for it, people will watch. But only the devout fans. And that’s why it unfortunately takes a gruesome injury like the one we saw with Anderson Silva for casual sports fans to discuss it as well.

Chris Weidman, on a side note, actually spurred a little interest in my hometown for the sport when he first won the title in July, because he’s originally from the same region of Long Island that I live in. Cool story, bro.

So what’s the moral of the story here? Kids, if you happen to be a good fighter in your youth, and are entertaining the thought of pursuing it as a career, at least consider pursuing a pre-med track first. Or wear shin guards.

Anyway, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, which means everybody is finetuning their plans for the evening, because there is nothing, nothing more embarrassing or depressing in life than spending New Year’s alone.

Except maybe when your mom buys you underwear for Christmas.

Which, uhh, didn’t happen for me this year.

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