Climbing The McMountain
If you’ve ever given someone a once-over and thought, ‘Easy work.’ Do yourself a favor and remember: no, it won't be.
There is an element to this video so base, it speaks with more volume than Conor McGregor ever could with his mouth (which is saying something — no pun intended).
The Mountain (real name: Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) is comically large compared to McGregor. His traps are the size of McGregor’s head. And The Mountain is in jeans. You can imagine the scenario: he shows up on an invitation from some friend who works at the gym, thinking he’d get to chat with The Notorious One. Word gets to McGregor, ‘Dis ‘er guy was de Mountain on Game e’ Trones.’ To which McGregor lifts an eyebrow, ‘Is dat roight? Big fella, you wan to go a round er what?’ So of course The Mountain tears his shirt off like Hulk Hogan and walks out onto the mats thinking he’d rip McGregor’s arms off and use them as clubs to beat him to death. It’s all a little playful at first then graduates to competitive quicker than a McGregor left. The Mountain can barely do a thing. McGregor makes the Mountain quit.
This video dispels the many myths about fighting yet confirms a basic truth, a universal truth even. Size and strength cannot win outright. Training and technique are superior. The time invested in learning the game trumps everything. Somewhere, Malcolm Gladwell is smiling.
If you have ever been on a sports team — or in a competitive sports environment of any kind — you likely have listened to a tough guy claim they could beat a professional boxer/fighter/ninja. More than arbitrary, such a claim is foolish.
I worked for a professional football team. A UFC card was coming to town so everyone had fighting on the brain. It was a time where every playful challenge was taken, where all of our former college wrestlers were dropping their teammates with low singles in the weight room. These play scraps were always in good fun and ended in laughter, one player’s ego bruised but hardly dented.
Except, there was player whose playful challenges evolved very quickly from a tongue-in-cheek, ‘I could go two minutes with Thiago Alves!’ to a dead serious, ‘Man, I’d kill anyone under 155!’ Initially, as rapid changes in tone go, this was taken by everyone in the room with a laugh. He was just talking shit, after all. Except he insisted.
‘Seriously, you’ve got to be stupid to think some 155er would handle me.’
Now, this player had a decent platform to stand on. He was 6’1”, 205. He was athletic, capable of dunking a basketball with ease. He’d hit the weight room like a maniac since the season before and come back a chiseled Adonis.
Here is where that logic always falls apart. This player caught footballs for a living. If he had been, say, a defensive player, the leap of faith was easier; he would have been an aggressive player whose job description involved inflicted punishment on opponents. But no, he was a receiver. Hell, he was a deep threat, too, and wasn’t much of a blocker so he couldn’t make the argument he was physical by nature.
The idea he would be competitive against someone like Dominick Cruz or TJ Dillashaw is laughable at best, moderately insulting, and delusional at worst.
‘Dude, they’re trained to hurt other people.’
‘F*ck, so what? I’d just grab the midget up against a cage and that would be it.’
‘And what would you do once you had him there?’
‘Hit him — f*ck, what do you think?’
I’m roughly the same size as Conor McGregor. I’m also one-hundredth the talent and likely trained one-thousandth the same amount of time. My guard is pretty terrible and that’s about all I have going for me. McGregor would paste me. He’d throw, I estimate, one punch. Actually, no, it would probably look a lot like the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique from Kill Bill. He’d dash in, touch me with his fingertips and that’d be it. A few steps later, fight over. Also my life.
And if I fought The Mountain? It would go a little something like this.
We can always rely on The Notorious One to put things in perspective. After all, he only tells the truth (as he tells us). Putting a giant on his knees — literally — is about as much perspective one needs to be reminded: if someone says they’re a trained fighter, trust them and walk away.