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    Passing The Torch From WWE To UFC

    I remember when I blogged here before that Michael Maiello was really in to the WWE. WWE was truly a strange creation and while it dominated the market for "sports entertainment," with copycats like TNA or WCW mimicking its image, in retrospect, it seems like the creation of madman Vince McMahon.

    And Vince McMahon may have genuinely been insane. The look on his face during matches, when he took his shirt off to reveal that he definitely was getting high on his own supply as far as steroids were concerned, seemed like that of a madman. WWE had storylines that boasted on the gross and disturbing (including, at its extreme worst, necrophilia) and the bizarre (there was a storyline in which his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, was crucified in the middle of a wrestling ring by the gothic "Ministry of Darkness.").

    That's not to oversight what happened to all the wrestlers. Macho Man Randy Savage, Eddie Guerrero, the Ultimate Warrior, and Chris Benoit all died premature deaths (the latter occurred under especially circumstances). Roman Reigns is beset by a very premature case of recurring leukemia. I met Guerrero before he died and he was a really nice guy.

    Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan somehow survived that but not unscathed. Flair lost one of his children to a heroin overdose. Hogan really got it bad - his name was temporarily pulled from anything WWE related (he returned to the WWE ring recently at a show in Saudi Arabia) after a tape was revealed at the height of his personal problems, which was full of racial epithets about black people as he discussed his daughter dating a black man. He won a lawsuit with an internet site that had leaked a video of him having sex with a friend's wife, an incident that he admits led to him coming close to suicide. Hogan once testified before congress that Vince McMahon pressured wrestlers in to using steroids.

    The UFC is a whole different story. Whereas the stories of Vince McMahon's were contrived, fictional, and bizarre, UFC is real world drama. After Khabib Nurma​gomedov defeated Conor McGregor to become champion, he was awarded with a conference with Vladimir Putin, who was as happy to meet with him as he usually is the many athletes he grants unusual access.

    Khabib's success led to a short film series called "The Dagestan Chronicles," created by filmmaker Will Harris. The film provides unique access to this small pocket of Russia, which is heavily Muslim. It's hard to imagine anything so genuine or able to open a door to a culture foreign to America ever having come out of the WWE, although the WWE will definitely have earned a unique place in sports history. One thing I found interesting is the director, Will Harris, is African American and he found himself in directing this being the privileged American coming to learn about a much impoverished culture halfway around the world (he noted in interviews that some homes there didn't have toilets, just a hole in the ground with a switch to open and close), a little bit of a flip on our expectations.

    Check it out:



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