Mar 21, 2012, 1:36 PM EDT
“Pain is just weakness leaving the body,” as Mother Teresa once said, I believe. Light heavyweight champ Jon Jones is a believer in this philosophy. He said as much on the recently aired documentary, I Am Bruce Lee. Apart from paying homage to the legendary martial artist, Jones explained that a butt-whooping is beneficial to his opponents. No word on whether they feel the same way (maybe it doesn’t feel like it at the time), but the logic is there.
There is a certain camaraderie with fighters once a fight has ended. And it doesn’t particularly matter how much trash talk went on beforehand. Afterward it’s all handshakes and hugs. Is it just sportsmanship? Is it just, ‘OK, I’m supposed to be nice to you now’? Or is it more than that? Jones might think so.
“I actually feel as though I’m helping people as I’m punching them in the face,” Jones said in the documentary. “I’m beating weakness out of them. I’m making them a better person … I don’t look at it as if I’m hurting my opponent, my enemy. It’s really like we’re brothers and we’re painting this picture together.”
That’s right. They’re painting a picture. Well, Jones is painting and your face is getting painted on. Nevertheless, your mangled, swollen face is now a work of art for all to enjoy. OK, maybe I don’t fully understand the painting analogy, but the first part is dead on.
It’s like when your high school football coach makes you run sprints or do pushups as a physical punishment. It’s intended to make you stronger. And amuse your sadistic coach. You eliminate your mistakes to avoid pain. Same thing here, although in a more direct way. You make a mistake, you get hit.
When two fighters hug after a fight, it’s not just a sign of respect, it’s a thank you. It’s an ‘I owe you one, as soon as I’m released from the hospital.’ In the cage, you’re performing at your absolute best. You have to. Or the other dude will kill you. So when someone pushes you to this level of achievement within yourself, you can’t help but be grateful. Even when it hurts. Remember, you’re getting stronger.
Previously in The Beatdown …
Tim Gilmour is a sports reporter and author of the humor blog LetMeThinkForYou.com. For more NBCSports.com MMA coverage, click here.
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