Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson Would Love the MMA World Today


From The Desk Of Kenny Rice

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”

–Hunter S. Thompson
Author, Journalist

The father of gonzo journalism, the first person accounting of an event where the facts are often liberally sprinkled with opinion, would be all in on the state of MMA today. For it has never been weirder, more rumor fueled, more wildly personality driven than right now. Hunter hanging around the cage with Dana and cast of characters like never before. Fear and Loathing and Decadent indeed.

Imagine how the man who was the counterculture beacon of light reporting, satirizing and embellishing on such offerings from the Hell’s Angels; Kentucky Derby; Super Bowl; 1972 Presidential Campaign; and Las Vegas, would tangle with the MMA world where the line of objectivity has long been a blur. For a man who embraced danger, controversy, wackiness, and flat out unpredictability, welcome to the UFC in 2016.

The two biggest stars, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, are coming off losses yet nary a sign their popularity has waned. McGregor was booted off the showcase UFC 200 event for rebelling and maybe retiring for ten minutes. Rousey seems as content with acting now as throwing down another opponent. Usually the active, at the moment athlete stands tallest in the public view but not in MMA where stirring it up increases fascination as much as a choke out or TKO. Hunter would take a long pull on his cigarette holder soaking up that wonderfully strange take on pop culture today.

“For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.”  – H.S. Thompson

Better yet the behemoth Brock Lesnar who was heavily courted in the hopes of getting a big name for the big show coming up in a few weeks. An extraordinarily engaging entertainer coming back from the WWE planet to land in UFC-ville where he was 4-3 in the cage but did win a championship. Never has a slightly above .500 fighter garnered so much attention and reinforces that less than a degree of separation between putting on a great act and actually putting up a great fight. He could carry Hunter, wearing a pith helmet, on his massive shoulders during the walk out and in this advanced technological world gonzo takes on a new layer by Periscoping the whole madness.

The guy fighting for the title on the 200 card? Vintage Hunter in describing in detail the rise-fall-rise of interim light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who tries to unify the belt he once controlled taking on nemesis Daniel Cormier. Jones’ history of drugs, alcohol, and run ins with the law is the domain of Thompson. Plus this week, Jones’ humble act was dashed when his camp wanted legendary ref “Big” John McCarthy tossed, to no avail. Repentance mixed with arrogance, It’s another “Where The Buffalo Roam” chapter or two. This guy did what? Oh yeah. And then what? Oh, bonding.

“No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.”  – H.S. Thompson.

Georges St. Pierre has carried the news this week, the future Hall of Famer who dreamt of aliens sometimes in his abrupt retirement in 2013 now is coming back. Well, maybe. It looks like a good possibility, sort of. GSP meet HST and possibly ET. The well spoken former welterweight king and the erudite reporter could fill countless discs with discussion of afterlife, planetary beings, and (this would get sticky) GSP’s insistence that there were too much performance enhancers being allowed in the sport. HST might take some to show it doesn’t matter but then again he might type at a rate never experienced.

Which would then lead him to meet with Nate Diaz, the always solid fighter who became a headliner taking and winning a short notice bout with McGregor. That’s not the story, it’s Nate and of course brother Nick, combined with Hunter a book on better gardening for medicinal purposes writes itself.

“You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye.” – H.S. Thompson.

Hunter’s old buddies, Bill Murray and Johnny Depp would salivate on the chance to if not star (the age thing) at least produce a movie about this whole zany ball of wax being reshaped weekly.

Lest we forget the newest champ in town, Michael Bisping who is going to break someone’s neck or something along those lines. Put him shotgun in the convertible with Hunter and cruise The Strip pausing for discourse with fans at stops from the MGM down to the Sahara. Genius. Love and Hate and Neck Snapping in Vegas. Rolling Stone magazine gets a needed jolt of energy printing it.

“Yesterday’s weirdness is tomorrow’s reason why,” he once said. Hunter you would love covering the MMA world today.

– Kenny

Got something you’re burning on? Tell the man himself on Twitter.

Watch Kennyalong with Bas Rutten, LIVE on “Inside MMA” Fridays on AXS TV! Check out Kenny’s book “Not Hit Yet,” an insider look at the MMA world.

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