CNN's Soledad O'Brien recently choked out UFC fighter, Urijah Faber--with a rear naked choke (RNC) on a recent edition of her "Starting Point" show (airs week days 7 AM to 9 PM ET). Urijah was on the show to promote his new book, "The Laws of the Ring".
Evidence that MMA is main stream
Urijah held court with the team of four sitting at the table with him, saying, "There's always a tough luck story that people have in their lives...my life wasn't perfect, but a lot of what I've learned has brought me to where I am today."
Then the questions started from around the table, "How often do you get challenged to a fight when you're out?"
"People aren't crazy." Soledad asked Urijah, "Could you kill a guy? I really wanna know."
That was all the encouragement he needed to jump up and show Soledad exactly how to do a RNC. He tapped Soledad's arm and she said, "Why is he tapping me?" video
Urijah made sure to mention that it is honorable to tap out and that the refs keep the action safe. That's a good reminder for kids who might want to try that move on each other. Remember to let go.
Soledad O'Brien tweeted Urijah, "Thanks @urijahfaber for showing me how to kill someone w the rear naked choke! Useful!"
Mixed Martial Arts: no longer unusual
I'm happy to see people being interested in MMA instead of being repelled by it. The CNN team seemed genuinely interested in Urijah's life story about overcoming adversity and were ready to try out a BJJ move without fear. I'm certain that having UFC on Fox has made a difference in how non-fans view the sport of MMA.
That doesn't mean they watch it. I'm just saying that people are getting more familiar with it--maybe more comfortable with the idea of watching someone getting choked out as entertainment.
People--who wouldn't ordinarily be exposed--are getting used to seeing mixed martial arts on TV because of the ads on the Fox networks and because UFC stars are being featured in main stream products like Bud Light.
Somewhere UFC president Dana White is smiling and saying, "I told you so."
Soledad's Combat Sports Journey
Soledad is no stranger to combat sports. She's been tracking women boxers competing for their spots on Team USA's first Olympic female boxing team.
After meeting and hanging out with female boxers and having a chance to hit the mitts with one of their trainers, this short lesson in Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) from Coach Faber, might have Soledad feeling more comfortable with the idea of training in a combat sport. That would be cool--but highly unlikely. At least that's what she said during my interview with her.
Source: CNN.com, Twitter
More from this contributor:
Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. She trains with Keith Florian and UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny