Friday, January 4, 2008

I’m Definitely Buying Matt Hughes’ Autobiography

Ben Fowlkes, a fellow contributor, has penned a new piece about coming to terms with the fact that despite Matt Hughes’ ostensible douchebaggery, he will be buying himself a copy of Matt Hughes’ new autobiography, Made in America.

“You see, I want to read Hughes’ book, but I don’t want to give him any money for it. It’s not because I’m cheap, either. It’s more because I don’t want Hughes to have any more of my money, especially not for a book I’d mostly be reading in order to revel in my dislike for him,” Ben writes. Fair enough.

But I don’t care. Matt Hughes doesn't need to be Atticus Finch for me to buy his book.

I don’t care that Hughes is an asshole. I can be an asshole. My neighbor is an asshole. Some of my best friends are assholes. If Matt Hughes truly is the self-righteous prig that we see, hear, and read about, then so what? He’s a regular guy, straight off the farm, who might be a bit…bristly. I’ve seen and heard fighters do and say far worse than Matt Hughes, but it seems that the cool thing to do these days is to hate on Matt Hughes.

I don't care that Hughes was rude to Tim Sylvia and made him cry (or whatever the story is). And since when did MMA fans come to the aid of big Timmy? The way I see it, Tim asked, Hughes answered. It made me laugh.

I don’t care that Matt Hughes cites Scripture or that he’s borderline imperialistic in spreading his faith. I, for one, am not a person of great (or even decent) religious devotion, but I’ve seen how living a life of faith brings peace and inspires acts of kindness. Is Hughes a hypocrite for not practicing what he preaches? Probably. Then again, is anyone really looking to Matt Hughes for spiritual or moral guidance? Didn't think so.

I also don’t care about whether Hughes is a crappy coach. Only two of his eight guys won preliminary fights this season on TUF…the same two who outlasted all of Serra’s guys and reached the finals. If Hughes is a crappy coach, then Pretty Boy Floyd is a pathetic ballroom dancer, and Todd Bridges is a poor excuse for a figure skater. Reality TV is a beautiful thing.

What I do care about is that Matt Hughes has given MMA some of its most dramatic and most historic moments inside the cage. Under the sport's brightest lights, Hughes has dismantled the likes of BJ Penn, Georges St-Pierre, Royce Gracie, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, Carlos Newton, and “Mach” Sakurai. That’s what I care about, and that's what I hope to read more about.

Hughes spent years trading punches and laughs with one of the sport's most legendary fight camps. And then he left! What was the aftermath? How did Pat Miletich take it when Hughes told him? What did the rest of the Miletich guys think of Hughes leaving and taking Robbie Lawler with him? That’s the type of stuff I’m dying to hear about. There's much more I want to see in his book, but I think you get my point.

What I liked most about Jens Pulver’s autobiography was how Jens walked the reader through his life and career, tracing over the good and the bad. I get a better sense of who Jens is as a fighter and as a person, and I'm looking forward to taking a similar journey with Matt Hughes. Maybe I'll like him more, maybe less. That's not really important.

Say what you will about Matt Hughes and the way he comes across in his book. The odds are that you’re probably right on the money, and that this book may very well serve to reinforce the negativity surrounding his character. But so what? No matter what we say about Hughes, he's a country boy, and country boys can survive.

1 comment:

The Fighting Life said...

I want to read about the stuff you mention just as much, but I also have to think that Matt might be something of an unreliable narrator when it comes to his own life. That's just another reason I want to read it, though.

For example, what would he say about his departure from MFS? I know a little of the inside scoop on it, and unless Hughes wants to alienate everyone, including his wife, I don't think he's going to go with full disclosure there.

I think Hughes' memoir will have the same appeal as Romanowski's, which essentially boils down to watching someone deliberately trick themselves about what their life has been about. Good times.