The United Nations General Assembly kicked off its global celebration of “happy” with March 20th’s International Day of Happiness way back in June 2012, and it took a mere two years for what? For the antidote to end all antidotes to emerge on OZY’s horizon line.
Which is to say, alongside Administrative Professionals’ Day, International Beer Day and International Day Drinking Day, our newest and nextest personal favorite international celebration is International Fight WEEK (too good for just a day, we guess). Cooked up by the cage-fighting folks at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and held July 1 through the 6th in Las Vegas, International Fight Week is either the crassest example yet of corporate co-option of the spirit of International Days of Celebration, a perfectly genius promotional ploy, or a true tribute to the universal love of mano a mano dispute management.
”The Independence Day thing is a nice touch,” said Nathan Lee Wilcox, League Manager for Combat Sports at SB Nation (and, total disclosure: my occasional co-commentator on the MMA Tete-a-Tete video podcast). ”But I guess, for many, 51 long weeks of peace and quietude is too much. So probably: all of the above.”
So, any and all of the above, and internationally speaking, more fight love than you could shake an angry stick at.
The week itself is anchored by UFC 175, which features a championship bout between Lyoto Machida, the challenger, and Chris Weidman, the champion at 185 pounds. There’s also a geektastic fan expo and ”Community Days” which we imagine feature, um, fighting? Pool parties with fighters and ring girls that will probably inevitably lead to fighting, free concerts with, we’d hope, fight-themed music, and a fight-related bake sale.
OK. We made up that last bit about the bake sale, but the point remains: if combat sport is your cup of tea, then International Fight Week is the pot. Of tea. Overdone and overblown, chockfull of celebs from both inside the cage and out, and from inside the U.S. and out, International Fight Week is just what the doctor ordered for those hardcore fight fanatics and those who previously preferred life minus punches.
”Look, if you’re not a fan before this fight week, and this week doesn’t convince you, you’ll probably never be one,” former sports agent Sal Russo said. ”And if you’re still a fan after this week, you’re probably going to be one for life.”
“This is going to be like the SuperBowl for our sport,” says Russo. “But with planes of people coming in from Russia, Japan, Brazil, England and all over the rest of Europe? This is precisely the kind of thing they invented the phrase ‘must-see’ for.”
Five days of unremitting/unrelenting combat sport love. See you there.
Why you should care
Because after International Happy Day, what’s left really?