I wasn't sure about Amanda at first because I didn't really get to see much of her personality because
But then Amanda Nunes smiled.
Amanda has this way of smiling that breaks her whole face open in the most vulnerable, eager way that you feel like you can see straight through to when she was seven years old and getting her first bicycle or ice cream or winning a game of hop scotch. It is pure and joyous and remarkably free of any self-conscious holding back. Her nose crinkles, and her top lip sort of folds down in a way that is most endearing.
Okay, so you know why I'm a fan.
Now let's talk about why most of the people in the arena at UFC 215 sounded like they are definitely not fans.
First, a little theorizing to lay down.
Ya'll know how sometimes people like to watch train wrecks of other people's lives blowing up just to make themselves feel better about their own lives that are normal and functioning by comparison? I'm talking about stuff like Jerry Springer and Cops and Donald Trump's presidency.
Well, on the other side of that, I think people also like to watch other people be extraordinary because it gives them something to pretend that they are, or that they could be.
I'm talking villains and heroes, here.
Nobody wants to be the ordinary guy. Nobody wants to be the victim.
Certainly, nobody wants to be the villain.
We all want to be heroes, and we feel this need to fuel our ideas of our own heroism by filling our brains with images and story lines of humans who are superhuman.
This is why Ironman works.
This is why superhero movies are usually blockbusters.
We're watching our greatest hope for ourselves on screen.
The problem is when we forget that we are all truly human.
The problem is when we stop allowing others to be human.
Now, how this applies specifically to Amanda Nunes.
Amanda Nunes had to bow out of her last scheduled fight because she is human, susceptible to human limitations, illnesses and twists of fate.
Boom, she is suddenly no longer a hero, no longer bullet-proof. But because we need these heroes, need these examples to cling to in our mind so that we can hold up our own inner schema of ourselves as heroes, you saw people turning on her left and right.
And what did you hear most of?
Usually it went something like this:
"I went to work with a sinus infection!"
"I gave birth with a sinus infection!"
"I completed my Christmas shopping with a sinus infection and a hangover!"
Notice that most of those statements involve "I" rather than Amanda. Because who is threatened here? That's right - the fan's own sense of themselves as a superhero.
Because if a fucking beast like Amanda Nunes who trains like a mother fucker and took out bitch after bitch after bitch in the UFC can be taken down by a sinus infection, where does that leave a miserable little lazy, regular person like me?
Right. It leaves you uncomfortably, vulnerably less than what you thought you were, less than what you wanted to be.
The people in the arena at UFC 215 last night weren't booing Amanda Nunes; they were booing their own weak, ruined selves.
It's as if, by not fighting, Amanda Nunes said, "Look guys, I'm human."
And the fans, like something out of the classic elementary school insult textbook, booed back with "I know you are, but what am I?"
And they didn't like the answer.
So, for the next time something like this happens (and it already did happen, to the other, former main card event, as a matter of fact), fans need to realize that fighters are human - fucking awesome, bad ass, super talented humans, but human - and while that may be difficult for you because it makes you feel like something less than human as you sit on your wine-stained couch in your ratty underwear with yesterday's pizza on the menu, you still need to accept it - accept it for the fighters, and accept it for yourself.
And just try to be the best human you can be instead of booing someone else because they're not who you need them to be.
* I am aware that Amanda Nunes has a girlfriend and at this time I would like to request that she not come beat my ass. No offense is intended to either Amanda Nunes or Amanda Nunes's girlfriend.