If there’s one thing that apparently we need to learn to do properly in relationships, it’s how to fight.
I was reminded of this because of two things – Campbell Newman turning Queensland into the Weimar Republic, and because I’ve tagged along to two pub “sporting events” lately – boxing and UFC.
Having grown up with an academic for a father, I like to argue, or shall I say, have “robust discussions”. About all kinds of topics, including those which I don’t even care about. This has been met with utter confusion by my partner, who can’t understand why I leave said discussions feeling satisfied even though absolutely no agreement has been reached. From my perspective, I was totally bewildered as to why he thought every discussion has to end up with us thinking the same thing (a futile yet charmingly optimistic approach on his part, which belies his lack of understanding that I will take an adversarial viewpoint just for the fun of it).
One such argument occurred when I argued Campbell Newman was violating the supposedly inviolable rule of law by empowering the Attorney General to overturn decisions of the court in certain cases. After 30 minutes of increasingly energised ‘thought-sharing’, I began to marvel at our different approaches to disagreements. Which leads me back to boxing versus UFC.
In an alarmingly simplistic attempt at summarising these two sports, I’d say that Boxing embodies a type of fighting with strict rules. UFC embodies the type of fighting without. After watching Mayweather destroy Alvarez, and St Pierre versus Hendricks, I realised that in an argument with my partner, I’m Boxing:
*Boxing sticks to a structure. The rounds are shorter so everyone can regroup.
*I’m not going to jab you, unless I really want to win a point. And then I’ll make it count.
*Most of the time I’ll spend just exhausting you by leading you in circles until you’re too tired to continue.
*Boxing is the more popular sport. Sure, I’m liable to inflame UFC fans everywhere, but I’m Floyd Mayweather and my partner is St Pierre and we all know who would win in a real fight.
*Boxers are dressed better. We make the effort to wear something shiny (and hopefully, distracting to the opposition). Anyone familiar with me knows I’m partial to a sequin.
*However – often there’s very little payoff. Most of the time, there’s no winning knockout, so it’s hard to tell who truly won.
This leaves my partner representing UFC.
*From what I can see, there’s no sense to a UFC bout. Basically, you just keep throwing out hits until they land
*You have more options in your armory to use which means you can throw out anything at any time – kicking is totally ok.
*As a result, there’s a lack of logic. You can kick, but eye gouging is out of the question. Which means I’m usually spending time preparing for an argument that actually never eventuates.
*Fights can escalate quickly – so there’s more chance of someone definitively winning and someone losing.
*UFC fighters care more. They actually want to fight, and give the audience a show, which means they’ll take a fight through to the very end, long after I’ve grown bored of the whole shebang.
Happily, my biased analysis of these sports means that I consider myself the winner in every argument, and my partner the UFC style opponent sweetly bleating for sports equality. But the best thing about arguing with my partner in a manner reminiscent of fighting sports is that, exactly like the competitors at the end of a bout, we hug each other, congratulate the winner, hand over the spoils and move on.