RESPECTED, REVERED–AND EXPENDABLE
Pain. Getting ripped off. Watching your potential wither at the vine because of contractual disputes that arise when people view you as their property. More pain. For the upper echelon of professional athletes in mixed martial arts, life can resemble the nightmare, described by Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, of a snail traversing the threshold of a razorblade.
Pound for Pound traces the five greatest fighters of all time–Georges St-Pierre, BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, Maurício Rua and Fedor Emelianenko–through their humble origins, baptism by blood and fire, and upward push to the top of MMA, where the sword of Damocles repeatedly threatens.
On the surface, we’re conditioned to look these fighters as mere sports entertainers. We consume pay-per-views just as a diner patron drops quarters in a jukebox. Fighters’ lives, on the other hand, are regularly more complex–and disturbing–than what event previews or color observation portray.