Outing Ultimate Fighting
In the octagonal UFC cage set up over the Bell Centre ice hockey rink — octagonal perhaps because it better affords multiple angles than a square boxing ring — Mac Danzig is still on his back; his sweaty, pumped white torso is flushed with the auburn heat that auburn skin produces when it is aroused. His panting, fetching head has been pushed up against the cage by redhead Marc Bocek’s energetic pounding, as if the cage were in fact a headboard. Bocek isn’t making love, however, or at least not the vanilla kind. He’s hammering the living daylights out of Danzig with his gloves, stoking the crowd into ever-higher waves of frenzy. Although the Octagon is right in front of me, I’m watching all of this on one of the giant screens overhead: MMA is mostly a horizontal sport — one that requires multiple zoom lenses and a big TV to enjoy properly.
Bocek pauses for a moment to grab his partner/adversary by his hips, almost tenderly, and drag him backward while still kneeling between his legs, not wanting to break contact and negotiate that tricky “reentry.” It isn’t, though, out of consideration for his chum’s cricked neck. He’s worried that Danzig will use the cage to get up off the canvas — and then get him in the “bitch” position. MMA is all about fighting for being on top. (Or maybe for being a truculent bottom.)
Straight guys would undoubtedly puff out their chests and drop their voices a few octaves in denial. MMA can’t possibly be gay because in order to compete you have to be a “real man” to go mano a mano with another man and risk getting your ass kicked.
And, some gay men would look down their precious and politically correct little noses and claim that combat sports can’t be gay because a “gay” sport would be non-competitive and non-violent.
But, there is something a little gay about nearly naked sweaty men rolling around on the ground to the cheers of hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of other men. And that “something,” whether it is best described as “gay,” “homoerotic,” or homosocial is attracting millions of men gay, straight and bisexual.