On Tuesday, May 25th, Gamestop locations across the country opened their doors at midnight and began raking in sales The reason? UFC Undisputed 2010, the sequel to last year’s critically acclaimed UFC video game, was about to launch, this time with more fighters and brand new combat mechanics. I was one of the people in attendance, and what I saw Tuesday night makes for quite a story.
As a practicing mixed martial artist, I was excited to attend a launch event for a game that covers one of my passions. I assumed that at the event I would run across people with a similar set of interests, and maybe even meet some people who could hold intelligent conversation with me about the UFC or mixed martial arts. I was wrong.
Upon entering the store, I was flooded with fellow gamers all wearing their “fight gear” branded clothes. Affliction and Tapout were the most popular among the other customers, and I was donning the t-shirt of my MMA gym. This is how I learned that Tapout shirts do indeed come in extra large. Immediately, the words of one of my gym’s leaders came to mind, “Guys who wear Affliction shirts are douchebags.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I own an Affliction shirt myself, but there was a reason why I didn’t wear it to the launch event. I’d much rather represent myself as an actual MMA practitioner as opposed to a potential poser, which fairly successfully described almost everyone else at the event.
Alright, so, maybe I judged these people a little bit too harshly, right? Well, not really considering some of the conversation I overheard and engaged in.
Upon walking into the store, there were two of these aforementioned large guys playing the store’s demo of UFC 2010. They were simulating the upcoming pay-per-view event in which Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson are due to fight. Kicking the night off in a tasteful manner, I overheard them displaying their vast UFC knowledge. “My black guy just kicked your black guy’s ass,” the smaller of the two said. Delightful. What really happened was Rampage Jackson won the bout by TKO.
The line of people waiting for the stroke of midnight was impressive. It consisted of at least 30 people, and a few of the attendees even brought their girlfriends. Or maybe it was their sisters… Either way, the females in the crowd offered equally impressive conversation.
“I can’t wait to go sleep, this is so boring” one of the girls said. “Honey,” the guy she was with replied, “You have to stay up and play a few rounds with me though,”
Another couple was having equally interesting conversation. “I don’t know why you like this stuff,” said one female. “Two sweaty guys rolling around on the ground. Definitely not gay.” Her man’s response was inaudible, and most likely some sort of weird grunt.
That last conversation was almost insulting, considering that Jiu-Jitsu, the martial art that utilizes submissions and locks on the ground, is my favorite. But if that quote does demonstrate one thing, it shows that the UFC and mixed martial arts on the whole has quite a way to go before it reaches main stream acceptance.
Eventually, midnight came, and there was a mad rush to the counter. Receipts and cash were waved and flailed, and copies of the game were handed out. I paid my remaining balance, grabbed my game, and left the store.
As I was leaving the store, I was saddened to have not had one interesting conversation with a single person about their favorite fighter or martial arts, and was slightly disappointed to see the type of people that the big game release had attracted.
As I got to my car and was about to step in, I overheard the conversation that would stick with me for the night. The same large man-couple that was playing the demo earlier were approaching their own vehicle. But before they stepped in, I heard the larger of the two shout, “I can’t wait! I’m gonna kick your ass this time with that mohawk guy!”
Chuck Liddell, my favorite fighter, I thought, as I closed my door and drove away.