Sorry for all the mystery, but we wanted to wait until it was official to make the announcement. I know it is only about 4pm in the Midwest, but it is almost midnight here and I want to go to bed.
My name is Marcus Prince, and I’m the new owner of ChokingMinnesota.com. I’m a Minnesota ex-pat living in Moscow for the time being (work takes me all over) and I have been reading this site for quite a while now. I can’t exactly say that it reminds me of home, but it has definitely made me laugh.
I have my MBA, but I also minored in journalism in college and have always enjoyed covering sports.
I contacted the previous owner, Jon, about four months ago seeing if he would be interested in having a partner. To say he was uninterested would be polite. I wrote a few pieces for him, a couple of leads, etc, to show that I love the tone of the site and don’t want it to change.
Really, I just wanted more out of it; more articles, event results and op/eds. Though, only time will tell if I can keep to that standard.
Most things will stay the same, Jon (on occasion) and I will both use the Choking Minnesota facebook page, and you can contact me at email@example.com my own facebook page. Chances are if you see the CM logo online after 4pm, it’s Jon and I am asleep or passed out. Perhaps that's why Jon likes me.
Just four days ago, Jon agreed to stay on and cover some local events, handle advertisers and maybe do the occasional op/ed piece, but he will largely be stepping back to spend more time with his family and work/writing (still haven’t read his book, but it’s on the to-do list). I also hear, possibly, some color commentary work is in the future, though can’t imagine what that will sound like.
And I feel that in keeping with the tone of the site, I will need to do what I can to continue the Amy For President (or whatever it is) campaign.
I really hope to do the site justice and make the transition as smooth as possible. To prove my intentions weren’t just to piggyback on the site’s success, I submitted Jon the article below about some fights that were planned at a club near Kolomna, Russia.
He must have seen something in it that he liked. I hope you do, too.
Enjoy! I'm going to bed.
My Heart of Darkness
by Marcus Prince
Can I confide in you?
It is my understanding that it is nearly impossible for a mind with a tenuous grasp on reality to be able to separate itself from works of fiction. In many cases not only drawing parallels, but also substituting places and occurrences in literature for its past, present and future.
And given the amount that I straight up abused my body in college (not to mention the fact that no one drinks water in Russia), and the cumulative effects of massive jetlag, my 2003 Lada 2104-5-7 (which is a car for those of you unfamiliar with the Russian auto market) barreling down the M5 to the stretches of rural Russia might as well be a steam boat on the Congo River. I am Charles Marlow. My query is Kurtz. This is my decent into the Heart of Darkness.
…and you all have no idea what I am talking about do you? I’m guessing you saw the Kurtz part and probably thought Apocalypse Now, right? Well, that movie was based on the Joseph Conrad book Heart of Darkness written in 1902.
I love you Lavar Burton, but this is how Reading Rainbow is supposed to be!
Anyway, it will take a couple hours to get to the club (so sad what I will do for a good fight, or any fight, but any port in the storm) and my mind tends to wander on these long, lonely car trips.
I swear, if I suddenly drive through a white fog, I’m going to lose it. I don’t care if it is the Russian traveler or Dennis Hopper. I’m not ready for that.
I don’t know what to expect from the fights. We’ve all either seen or heard horror stories about fights on Native American reservations back in the Midwest. Well, do you think Russia has better regulations? Sure, this is at a club, but semi-rural Russia isn’t exactly an MMA Mecca.
They ain’t all Fedor, you know.
There’s a kind of madness to it all. Being a MMA writer isn’t the greatest thing in the world. In fact, for the most part it downright sucks. Or it at least it used to. This isn’t an oh-woe-is-me moment; I embrace the road I have taken. I’m just telling you that the life isn’t what you might think.
I’ve been watching MMA regularly for about twelve years now and spent the last three years or so writing the odd MMA piece for different websites, usually under a pseudonym, but now enough coworkers know about it, so why not embrace it?
Writing for other people is, for the most part, bitch-work, really. Most people that write MMA do so because they don’t want real jobs, or they can’t be fighters themselves so they like the limelight that MMA affords them as journalists.
Side Note: Though, calling 99% of MMA writers out there journalists is literally shitting on the memory of the likes of Helen Thomas, Hunter Thompson, Judith Miller, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and hundreds of other brilliant talents.
While there are some holdouts that cover MMA because they still really love the sport, that gets drummed out quickly enough from having to interview a never-ending string of no-talent fighters that think they will be the next Tito, Chuck, Randy, Anderson or Georges.
Or the truth is that said “journalist” really sucks as a reporter, writers and a person.
Many sites themselves seem to take some kind of sick pleasure in screwing writers out of paychecks and reimbursements. This isn’t a front end kind of business, and when you work on the back end, you have to expect that is exactly where you will get stuck first.
I’ve seen some version of mixed martial arts fights on four continents, and for the most part, it is same the world around. The differences are mainly in how the fighters carry themselves, but if you know what you are looking at, it’s all the same.
Here’s a little insight into the life:
You ask the questions the fighter has either already answered a dozen times before, or that they will never be asked again because they are no good. You don’t ask the questions you want to ask, because if you piss off the wrong guy, you will lose a connection in case lightning strikes and they get called to the big show.
Side note: I’m sure this is why Jon is so adamant against interviewing fighters. It isn’t worth it. Who really cares? Go punch that guy in the head and stop having to deal with a public that expects you to be respectable members of the community. Either you are or you aren’t. Most of you aren’t.
And I respect that.
What? Mike Tyson was unstable? You mean that an uneducated, violence-prone guy that gets paid tens of millions of dollars to try and destroy another man isn’t able to cope with the fame and lifestyle change?
The hell you say!
Next, go watch a fight, pretend to care who wins. Pretend to be riveted by the guy who can only wrestle, the guy that thinks muay thai is enough or the guy that only knows one submission (and even then, not very well).
Have a shot of vodka (or two if you recently had to make a student loan payment. Three if it was for grad school).
Watch another ring girl. The fringe events are the best, out in the woods. Notice a fresh scar; maybe a knife, maybe a c-section. Note that she doesn’t seem to notice her own 5’1, 200 pound frame squished into daisy dukes.
Side note: more of a United States thing. The Russian and Brazilian girls are pretty smokin’, but dead behind the eyes.
Have another shot, after all, they are cheaper than water.
Don’t tell anyone who you are. Say you are from Sherdog or MixedMartialArts.com, it saves having to look at another blank stare and nod as if they know who you are, or like it matters.
The fights are over. Watch the celebrating; the peacock strutting from the horrible mismatches. Watch each fighter go to the bar, regardless of age, and start drinking. Know at that moment, every single fighter is thinking all eyes are on them and that they are the envy of every available woman.
Have another shot when you realize that this is the life you have chosen for yourself. Stop thinking that anything you write matters. Start to wonder, what if I actually embraced the insanity of it all and just went where things took me?
Find yourself an hour outside of another venue -days, weeks, months later-wondering how crazy things can get. Worst case scenario you don’t get gas money compensation, or they say there isn’t a room for you like the promoter promised. Know that it is your fault for trusting a promoter, after all, they are standing behind you, just waiting for your boss to get done.
When you take away the expectation that you are writing something that matters, or that you will do better in life, the sport is really fun. Mismatches? Who cares? That just means the event is over quickly and you can finally hit on women playing “the silly American”, hoping their boyfriend isn’t former or current Spetnaz.
They all go the distance as they beat the hell out of each other? Works for me! One guy just lays on top of the other guy for three rounds? So what? They do that in the UFC, too. It just means you can go to the bar in the middle of a round instead of having to wait for song-that-was-popular-in-1995 walkout music to start again.
Stop thinking you are a special and unique little flower in the manure field that this sport can too often become. Have another shot, just to help sleep come.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a casino or rez fight, but I’m guessing where this venue is will be close to that sort of scenario. I’ve never been to one at the venue (never heard of it until earlier this week). I know next to nothing about the fighters. This is as much of an adventure as MMA writers actually do. I’m in foreign and possible hostile territory, chugging up the Congo with a thought of what I might see, but no actual idea.
I hope for the best, believe it or not. I always do. I hope these fights are barn-burning showcases for talent that will grace the sport for years. I hope the club and promoters put on a smooth, classy show.
Do I know any of this? No, but sometimes, you just have to go.
Follow up: Well, the show was cancelled. It turns out that “the guy whose aunt is nurse said she can’t”. So there was no ringside “doc”. The whole event was bagged. I still got a room and blew my mileage reimbursement on booze and dirty imported Carmella Bing movies.
I love this game!