Happy Valentine's Day, Cagereaders! In honor of the day, let's take a look at some reasons to love mixed martial arts.
Heavyweight division to love. Remember when the UFC heavyweight division was a joke? No longer. UFC 160 will feature a title bout between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva, and Junior dos Santos will fight Alistair Overeem.
So much MMA on television. MMA was once the province of pay-per-view and occasional specials on network and cable television. Now, with Bellator on Spike, the UFC on Fox's networks, and the World Series of Fighting on NBC Sports Network, a fight fan doesn't have to drop $55 a month to see any fighting at all.
New divisions giving opportunities to fighters who wouldn't have gotten them in the past. A few weekends ago, we watched Demetrious Johnson defend his 125-lb UFC championship belt against John Dodson. Next weekend, we'll watch women's bantamweights fight in the UFC for the first time. Two years ago, neither division existed.
Blood. In most sports, a little bit of blood stops the action. In MMA, we revel in it. It flows from the faces of fighters, colors the canvas a morbid red, and changes fight shorts from white to pink.
Amazing knockouts. Is there a more pure moment in sports than when one fighter hits the other cleanly, creating a knockout that somehow quiets and thrills a crowd all at once?
Bones and Spider and Rush. Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre are all UFC champions who have easily beat the challenges in front of them, and are constantly adding to their arsenals in fights. It's easy to sit back and wish they would fight each other, but it's also nice to just sit back and enjoy every time they step in the cage.
No off-season. In covering football, February through August can be agonizing because there are no actual games. For the Olympics, the wait is even worse because it spans years. But there is always another fight around the corner. Weekends without fights -- whether in the UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting and Invicta, or at the local hotel ballroom -- are rare. If you want to watch a fight, you can. MMA is never that far away, and that's a really good reason to love it.