Looking Back At 2021: Are We Shocked Too Often?

Maybe we should be shocked less often.

In the world of MMA and around the world at large recently, we have seen surprises every single day that make us question whether our daily lives are slipping further into absurdity.

There’s been more than enough examples of that in MMA and combat sports recently. Who knew that in 2021, internet celebrity Jake Paul would build his boxing career off knockouts over former Bellator and UFC Champions?

In the cage, upsets have shocked the world. Many didn’t expect Deiveson Figueiredo – Knockdown News’ 2020 Fighter of the Year – to end the year without a belt. But after Brandon Moreno secured a shocking third-round submission win, that happened.

And it would be reporter negligence to not mention the recent upset for the ages, as Julianna Pena stoppage Amanda Nunes in the second round to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion.

The unthinkable happens quite often. That sentiment can be shared with people who don’t even watch MMA. Most would likely agree that the past two years have been quite a rollercoaster. Along with dealing with the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the world continues to grapple with the continuous issues of the virus. To many, it has become apparent in recent months that this issue will certainly not be left in 2021.

Surprising events have some thinking the world is too weird to be real anymore. While mostly written in jest, it has become a common phrase to claim “the simulation [of life] is glitching” because of odd events occurring.

All of these surprises and unexpected events pose a question: does our definition of shocking need to change?

We are certainly in changing times. And not to get too philosophical, but maybe the number of surprises we see nowadays is the normal amount, and it was just always less before?

Things we once viewed as wild might become the norm in the coming years. Things that we view as shocking might be the expectation if they can stick around. And it looks like they will stick around.

The crossover boxing bouts against other boxers, or celebrities, or even other MMA fighters, has happened enough to exceed being just a blip in the history of combat sports. So has other concepts like the return of bare-knuckle MMA or other newer ideas, like the unique “Triad Combat” system that Triller Entertainment has attempted recently (and is reportedly set to return next year).

Upsets, like we saw numerous times this year in MMA, are hard to predict. Unlike some weird things about combat sports, there’s no proof that we’re going to be seeing more or less upsets in the future. However, it shouldn’t be lost on people how weird this sport is. It didn’t exist a few decades ago, and weird things can happen at the highest level of it.

After covering MMA for a year and staying up to date with news outside of the sport as well, here is the lesson I am taking into the new year: to be shocked less.

Every day we wake up and are bombarded with news we might have never imagined. This can apply to the world as a whole or the small scope of MMA. But for us to better process and deal with these bits of information, it might be best if we move past the shock factor of it more swiftly.

It might be better for us as individuals if we learn to be a little less shocked by absurdity. However, that only may work until something even more absurd comes by and sweeps us off our feet again. And who knows, that could very well happen in 2022.

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