Toxic MMA Fans: Just A Symptom of a Bigger Issue?

Navigating social media can be a dubious task, many use the cloak of anonymity to spew hate from afar, knowing full well there is little chance of facing any real consequences for their actions. Going from profile to profile, like a ever growing cancer, with one account taken down it appears two more take its place, spitting the same vitriol and poison as its predecessor.

MMA Twitter is no different. It’s easy to bring about a mob of faceless warriors frothing at the mouth, pounding on their key boards. Reaching every outlet they can to tell another person how stupid they are or how their political standing, in some way diminishes a stance on a fighter or their actions.

“We don’t need you far left fanatics pussifying our sport” or “Oh, you like Donald Trump, makes sense now”. Both just as mindless as the other, but therein lies the issue, it seems that real discussion has died. Replacing it? A flame war where well thought out exchange of ideas breaks off into a tirade of insults and personal attacks. It’s a place wherein ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ are what decides the winner of the argument.

No longer is it a disagreement based on the ideas put forward, but becomes a personal vendetta to tear down the opposing commenters very existence. Battle of the minds and a sharing of differing ideas has become an exchange of barbs attacking the structure of the person, instead of the very idea that’s presented.

Why has this become the norm when discussing things online? It seems as though we are unable to see other people on the same intellectual level as ourselves. When we get opposed it is taken much further than a disagreement on the topic at hand. It’s as though the very thought of being wrong burns a hole so deep it causes a sense of loss.

This type of insecurity doesn’t just materialize, its based somewhere, but what actually is it? I would suggest it being the lost art form of communication and discussion. The technological age has crippled much of the present generations from being able to communicate properly in an analogue ‘Speaking’ sense. Many rely on the safety net afforded to them by social media and texting.

Dating sites such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish have crippled somes ability to hold a conversation. The need the buffer of a computer screen to help shield them from the sting of an awkward silence or the sharp knot in the stomach that arrives after a failed joke.

Illustrative of couple representing online dating

So with the tools of communication missing, people turn defensive and attack one another. On top of lacking the tools, we no longer want to hear a differing idea, we become too lazy to discuss these things. Instead it suits us much better to cram the opposer into a descriptive box, lock said box, and just toss it away.

“Oh, another soyboy”. What does that even mean? Well, there is no meaning, but it has a simple purpose, you are this person therefore your opinion means nothing. It’s quick, it’s “clever”, but, most of all, it closes discussion on the topic. Now, sure, there could be some follow up discussion, most derived of insults and personal attacks, but no longer will a person stance be attacked.

Thats what makes interacting with other fans of the sport so exhausting, theres always the lazy minded who cannot form a structured argument who need to derail any conversation because they either can’t carry on in one, or they lack the ability to form a well structured argument.

No one can tell a person how to carry their affairs, but it’s clear we need to move modes of discussion in a different direction. Can it be changed? The reality is, there will always be those who want, nor are interested in, an open discussion. The handle protects the ignorant, well if the term and conditions are followed.