Top positive review
86 people found this helpful
on June 3, 2009
It goes without saying that I could kick Forrest Griffin's butt; I merely choose not to. And the reason I choose no to is because I'm terrified of him and hide whenever he comes into the same time zone. Or at least I do now, after reading GOT FIGHT?, his rambling, comedic book on what it takes to be successful in the almost-no-holds-barred world of mixed martial arts. Obviously, if you're reading this review, you know Griffin as the guy whose kill-or-be-killed performance on the inaugural season of THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER reality show helped turn the UFC from a disreputable, back-alley promotion into the world-dominating sports juggernaut it is today. Since then, he went on to coach a season of that now-hit show, and win-and-lose the UFC's light heavyweight title. He's currently slated to fight Anderson "The Spider" Silva, who is almost universally regarded as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in MMA. No small order, but not long ago Griffin destroyed Shogun Rua, who many considered to be the best fighter in the world at 205 pounds: so I s'pose it's anybody's guess. Anyway: what distinguishes Griffin from a lot of guys competing in mixed martial arts are two things:
1) He's well-and-truly crazy. I don't mean fake-crazy, which rap music has popularized, and which has led to a large number of people getting badly beaten up in bars when they tried to go "fake crazy" on people who could actually fight; I mean he's really nuts. Anybody who can hold a lit cigarette lighter to his flesh for fourteen seconds without flinching simply because he's in the mood ain't right in the braincase, but he does make for good television.
2) He likes to fight. I spent many years in "classic" martial arts, and while I was mastering nonsense like crescent kicks and the C-step middle punch, I rolled with a lot of guys who modeled themselves after Johnny from THE KARATE KID -- you know, the rich kids with bolt-on abs who didn't want their hair mussed while they fought, much less lose a tooth or bust a lip; but I also encountered a fairly number of people who would honestly, truly, rather get in a street fight than make love to a supermodel. Griffin is one of these people. If there wasn't a UFC, he'd fight on toughman shows where the loser gets dragged to the curb and laid out with the trash -- great anecdote from the book, by the way!
GOT FIGHT? then, is a reflection of Griffin's personality. It's one of the filthiest books I've ever read -- seriously, this guy has an obsession with bodily functions, bad words and disgusting anecdotes that needs serious analysis, I mean it could make Andrew Dice Clay blush, but it's also one of the funniest. I've seen standup comedians who didn't make me laugh half as much as Griffin, who is probably the most self-depreciating guy who can kick you through a cinderblock wall you're ever likely to meet. It's also highly entertaining. Take, for example, the last chapter of the book, where he's demonstrating through photos various fight techniques. One of them is how to repel a dog attack, and Forrest being Forrest, the dog in the picture is a poodle about the size of his head...and the poodle is talking in captions. At least a fifth of the book is also dedicated to completely irrelevant, MAXIM-like topics such as how to get into a Vegas nightclub, where you rate on the Forrest Griffin Scale of Manliness, or how best to score sleazy chicks at your local watering hole. Humor aside, Griffin has a knack for telling a story, whether it's how he got beaten up once a week for the first 15 years of his life or what tactics he used to dethrone Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the Octogon. One of my personal favorite moments is when he scathingly compares "martial artists" to "fighters" (something I found hilarious even though I was essentially the one being made fun of.) But GOT FIGHT? is neither biography, nor comedy album, nor how-to book, though it has all those aspects; more than anything, Griffin is trying to explain what it means to BE a professional MMA fighter, when the cameras aren't on and Dana White is not in the building. Without trying to intimidate the reader, he wants him to understand just what is involved with making MMA your profession -- not your hobby, mind you, but your actual profession. How to train, make weight, eat, choose a manager, escape crazy women groupies -- he explains all of it, but he also stresses the harships involved, which involve a lot of physical pain and very, very little money.
My only beef with GOT FIGHT? is that it is lacking a conclusion, which is not a mistake the co-author, martial arts expert Erich Krauss, should have made. After riveting the reader with his anecdotes and crazy advice, the book trails off into the usual martial arts pictures of how to do this or that move -- granted, with funny captions, but still, a lame way to close an otherwise terrific book. Hopefully, the publisher will coax Forrest away from his Newcastle Brown Ale and chicken wings long enough to write one. In the mean time, however, I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand what happens -- and doesn't happen -- between the cauliflowered ears of one of MMA's most popular fighters.