Mixed Thoughts on Mixed Martial Arts
This weekend has been, well, let’s just say….a hoot. I had the honor and privilege of going to watch my oldest son’s first mixed martial arts (MMA) fight…in a cage. Now my son, Jonathan Hughes (4th name from the top on the fight card below), has prepared long and hard for this. I can’t even begin to describe the level of training, physical discipline, and hardship he has put himself through over the last few years to get to this point. However, as a dad, the last thing I want is to see anyone trying to pummel my son…good sportsmanship or not.
Because he is my son and I love him, Christi and I went to watch the fight. The fight was a nightclub in Washington, DC. The moment I arrived and saw the cage my heart started pounding and I feared for my son and kept thinking I need to leave, I can’t watch this…but I stayed. I was so shaken I could barely utter words as I prayed with Jonathan before he headed to the locker room. I felt a little better when the opponents for the first fight appeared in protective helmets, gloves, and footgear. That relief quickly disappeared when that fight was stopped in the second round due to injury. The fear came back, the desire to leave came back…but I stayed. The next fight was with light gloves, no helmet, no protective gear. The fight after that was won by technical knockout (TKO) in 37 seconds. In the time it takes to fill a glass of water one opponent so severely defeated the other that even though he was not knocked out the ref called it as if he was; TKO…but I stayed.
When they called Jonathan to the ring I was extremely proud, but extremely worried. I heard more people cheer for him than I had heard for any of the fighters (true story, apparently almost everyone he knew showed up to support him). Then they took a break because Jonathan’s opponent didn’t show. They moved on to the next fight and another and even did the title fight all without Jonathan’s opponent, the alternate, or the alternate to the alternate being able to show up and fight (I kid you not, you can’t make this stuff up). The night ended without Jonathan even stepping into the ring as there were no opponents for him to fight. For Jonathan the night was extremely disappointing and he felt as if he had let so many people down. For me it was a relief but I also grieved for my son’s disappointment.
For me this was also a picture for God’s deep rooted love for us. Many times we make decisions that God is not happy with…but He stays with us. Many times we choose to do things that are not illegal, not immoral, not even wrong, just not in line with God’s will for our lives…and He stays with us. Many times we choose to go down paths, or even BACK down paths that will end up with us getting hurt physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, or becoming disillusioned or getting disappointed…but God stays with us. Many times we make decisions about others and distance friends and family from our lives or make decisions about God and distance Him from our lives…but no matter what, because of His deep rooted unconditional love for us He stays with us. I encourage, if you are looking for that kind of love and that kind of Father, turn to God today…He is with you.