So, you’re at the fights? Your friend/teammate/family member is laying it all out in the cage, on the mats, in the ring, and you’re JACKED! Good for you being there, that’s awesome. Way to go, I’m sure they appreciate it, you’re a good friend. If you don’t, however, train? If, in fact, sometimes you park at the gym, wait outside, text people about the bad ass training sesh you’re going to embark on, and then…you drive to chipotle, no judgement here. You do you. But now that you’re in the moment and you feel like you need to add to it, scream something at the top of your lungs because hopefully they will hear it and it will help right? Has to, you’ve seen enough fights, the words are right there. Hold up. Just pause.
Here is the process I’d follow if I were you, step by step:
One, if you’re standing, sit.
Two, if you have a drink, pick it up with your closest hand, then slowly wrap your other hand around the first and bring it to your lips. If you don’t, slowly place each hand under each corre-sponding thigh, and (now this is important) don’t take your eyes off the cage, in fact, watch closely.
Three, close your mouth.
That’s it. It’s easy. Simple. Straight forward. No, seriously, most of the time whatever you’re go-ing to yell is dumb. It really is. In the event you cannot follow the three step process above, please, for the love of all things holy, do not yell any of the following three things.
1) Go, Just Go!
Thanks, Teddy Atlas. No, really, thank you. The fighter in question is likely not giving their all at this particular moment. They really needed that phrase to encourage them to kick the effort up against the other person engaged in combat against them. Super duper helpful. Never mind they may be setting up an attack you don’t see, or that they’re hurt, or exhausted, or, I don’t know listening to their corner. Your generic encouragement to simply, ahhhh, what was it, ‘Go!’ is really helpful, much appreciated. In lieu of that, why don’t you yell out the items on your grocery list? ORANGE JUICE, CAT FOOD, TOILET PAPER! All equally helpful tidbits to be screamed.
2) Say anything about their opponent.
This one needs a small caveat. If the opponent in question is doing things particularly douchey, like egregious dick moves? Yeah, call them whatever you want. That said, trash talk-ing someone in the embrace of another person dead set on their demise, well, that’s just low class. There are enough negative emotions running through the mind of fighters on either side of the scrap. You needn’t add to it in any way. If you feel you must add your tepid thoughts to the melee, try yelling fashion burns. Equally helpful and maybe more poignant. “Hey, your part is off center!” “I feel like your tattoo placement is poor!” Then at least there’s evidence to those around you that you’re paying attention to the parts of the fight a novice can understand, and you’re not painting yourself as a uneducated troglodyte.
3) “Go for (insert technique/combination/move here)!”
Hey, thanks spotter, really great advice, specifically coming from the cheap seats. Of course you can see that the other fighter is dropping their left, and is now a prime candidate for a meeting with a hard right. You know why you can see that? No one is trying to kill you. Seated comfortably yards away, sated by food and maybe a couple of drinks, you can see all that’s happening. Of course you can. Guess who can’t? The person striving to survive. Please don’t arm chair the fight. The vantage a fan has versus what’s happening in the cage is like the difference between what you see when you open a bill and what your dog sees when looking at the same piece of paper. It’s nonsensical and not helpful. Just don’t.
I’m not saying don’t support your fighter, absolutely add your voice to the din. Absolutely. Just avoid trying to help past encouragement. Everyone will appreciate it. It’s better for people to think you’re an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.