How stupid are mixed martial arts (MMA) fans?
Stupid enough to think a low-rent bum like Artem Lobov can somehow stand and trade with God’s gift to boxing. Well, that seems to be the narrative from Paulie Malignaggi, who battles “The Russian Hammer” this weekend in Tampa.
After all, if anyone really knew what Lobov was in store for, they wouldn’t waste their money on a Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) pay-per-view (PPV), topped by the all-striking showdown between the unlikeliest of rivals.
“I think of it like, thank god that this fan base in MMA is so fucking stupid that they actually have made this possible,” Malignaggi told MMA Fighting. “A fight this easy is possible in a main event situation. That’s how I look at it. I’ve been in the ring with top fighters, main events inside stadiums and the biggest arenas in the world. I’ve been announced as a world champion. And now, I’m fighting this guy, who I don’t think has ever fought a guy who’s been a world champion, let alone fight for a title. So I catch myself and say I can only be thankful. There’s no way realistically possible to have a fight this easy against a bum of this level unless there is a fan base this stupid.”
Part of what makes this headlining affair so preposterous is that we really have no justifiable reason for them to be fighting. Malignaggi was Conor McGregor’s sparring partner until the relationship dissolved (over this), and since “Notorious” is too rich and famous to be paired off with a relatively unknown boxer like Malignaggi, that feud was sublet to Lobov.
I guess that’s all it takes to make a promotable fight these days. Two guys who hate each other for the flimsiest reason possible. And after the fight is over, then what? Will we celebrate Malignaggi’s comeuppance? Or praise Lobov’s grit in defeat?
I’m not sure that’s worth $39.99, even for stupid MMA fans like myself.