Back in 2008 Mark Simpson asked a simple question: how gay is MMA? And the simple answer was: VERY! His steamy description of a live fight he attended sounded (deliberately of course) like a review of the latest homo porno:
‘Mac Danzig is still on his back; his sweaty, pumped, almost translucently white torso is flushed with the auburn heat that auburn skin produces when it is aroused. His panting, fetching head has been pushed up against the cage by redhead Marc Bocek’s energetic pounding, as if the cage were in fact a headboard. Bocek isn’t making love, however, or at least not the vanilla kind. He’s hammering the living daylights out of Danzig, stoking the crowd into ever-higher waves of frenzy. Although the Octagon is right in front of me, I’m watching all of this on one of the giant screens overhead: MMA is mostly a horizontal sport — one that requires multiple zoom lenses and a big TV to enjoy properly.’
But it is in 2012 that the ‘gayness’ of MMA has really come home to roost. One of the finalists in the competition to become a contestant in The Ultimate Fighter, a reality TV show featuring MMA fighters, has admitted to once starring in gay porn.
Whilst this information could affect his chances of getting on the show, the general reaction is not as shocked or disapproving as you might expect. In fact he seems to be winning over hearts and minds with his ‘honest’ confessional of his ‘sleazy’ past. The fact he has two kids and is about to marry his long-term girlfriend (who encouraged him to ditch the porn career) probably helps keep his reputation as a good old american boy almost intact.
This is a very different story from one Mark Simpson told us in 2006. He conducted an exclusive ‘investigation’ into a US army scandal involving young soldiers being disciplined for appearing in gay porn movies. Simpson presented them as sexual outlaws, but commented that their activities were not uncommon, either amongst army personnel or amongst ‘straight’ men in general.
Fast-forward to 2012, when the Metrosexy youtube era is in full flow. And we watch our favourite, heterosexual, ‘masculine’ heroes such as David Beckham in hardcore sporno all the time without batting an eye. This latest porn revelation, rather than seeming like a terrible blow for red-blooded, uber-’straight’ MMA, actually just goes some way towards ‘outing’ it as what it is: gay for pay sporno. And that seems normal.
I think gay blogs such as Queerty who have reported this story in their usual giggling OOh Matron tone, are behind the Metrosexy times. Everyone knows that fit young men love nothing more than to display their bodies on film. And the line between porn, sport and personal showing off has been well and truly blurred. Not to mention the line between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’.