Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What it means to be a badass

"Badass" is hard to define but you know it when you see it. Being a true badass is about being tough but not macho and supple but not soft. Being a true badass is about embracing your weaknesses but not being consumed by them. And a true badass knows when to talk and when to walk.

In my opinion, an example of a genuine badass is UFC fighter Lyoto Machida. He's got some bad ass tussle, but most of all, he knows how to stay calm before the storm and unleash an absolutely vicious killer instinct during it. Choosing to live my life in that fashion, it's something that I relate to - and that's why he's officially my new favorite MMA fighter.

courtesy of Sherdog

While looking for photos to insert into my columns, I noticed for the first time the scars on Lyoto Machida's face - namely, on the left side of his forehead and bridge of his nose. The scars didn't jump out at me, but they told me a story of what it takes to become a badass.

It was mentioned during the UFC 94 broadcast that due to his hit-and-run style, Machida is the least beat up fighter in UFC history. He also happens to be undefeated in his professional career. However, what the scars say is that during his formative years of becoming a fighter, he got his ass beat bad by whomever he was fighting or sparring.

Obviously, The Dragon stuck with it - and adapted. While he learned to be tough, he also learned to be smart, and thus we see the Lyoto Machida of today - a true badass.

Jairo Miguel, the Spanish bullfighter who almost lost his life in a goring when he was 14, is already a badass. Perhaps even more so than Lyoto Machida, because his life is much more in danger than Machida's when he steps into the bullfighting ring.

"Baby Bullfighters" on ESPN E:60

Put your personal opinions about bullfighting aside - because an ethical debate on the rights of animals and children this is not. Although you can never fully put your faith in what a teenager says, if his will to bullfight is truly his - and not his parents' - then the kid is well on his way to becoming a badass.

Those big scars that Jairo got from the bull's horns will fade with time and treatment, but what will only grow is his spirit. You learn as you live, and although he got gored again in his comeback fight, it's obvious that Jairo learned his lesson the first time around.

He'll only get better as he refines the footwork, technique and killer instinct that will make him a master bullfighter - and preserve his life in the ring.

P.S. We all have different views on what a badass is. Some may prefer the blood and guts types like Chris Leben, but mine are best exemplified by fighters who combine a great knockout punch with grace and guile like Lyoto Machida or Jairo Miguel.

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