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More Forrest, fewer trees

Picked up Forrest Griffin’s new book, Got Fight?, and man, I was only a so-so fan of the hillbilly mangler before, but now? He’s the tits.

It started with a quote on the back flap that convinced me to shell out 32 bucks for the hardcover. Not the one from Joe Rogan, Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture. Who the fuck cares what they think? I didn’t even know they were fucking literate; of course, I didn’t know Griffin was literate either. Anyway, the last quote said: “Forrest Griffin has written a masterpiece. Not since Hemingway has an author stimulated and tantalized the readers’ senses through such delicate and colourful prose. This book is destined to become one of the greats, an international bestseller for centuries to come. We should all remove our hats and bow to the genius of this thought-provoking work.” Who the fuck said that, I wondered, Dave Eggers? Nope. Forrest Griffin. Ballsy and funny.


The book is subtitled 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat – although I’m not sure there’s anything zen or principled about it and there were only 42 actual numbered fighting tips, so I feel a little cheated in that regard – but it could just as easily be called The Wit & Wisdom of Forrest Griffin. No, seriously.

First thing you should know: Got Milk? isn’t an up-by-his-bootstraps autobiography. I don’t give a shit about how rough Tito Ortiz’s childhood was, or how Matt Hughes isn’t a colossal dick, he’s just misunderstood, and I certainly wasn’t interested in reading about the life of this Georgia punching bag. Seems Forrest doesn’t give a shit about plumbing his personal depths either.

That isn’t to say the book isn’t deep, in its own shallow, dick-obsessed way. Griffin is a bit like Kevin Smith that way, and I guess this is his Chasing Amy. There are anecdotes from Griffin’s misspent youth sprinkled throughout, but they always relate directly to the subject at hand, which is either fighting or fucking. And they never ever do anything to make Griffin look cool (except for that one story about his first professional MMA fight being in a ring that used steel chains for ropes; that’s pretty fuckin’ cool).

There’s stories about how he used to train and spar drunk because he figured that’s the condition he’d be in for most street fights, and how he’s still good friends with most of the people who kicked his ass in high school. But that’s about as personal as Griffin gets.

What this book actually is, is a guide to being a man, like Brett Favre, Ernest Hemingway, Clint Eastwood, old (by which he means young) Chuck Norris and David Caruso (because he has absolutely nothing going for him, he’s a skinny ugly redheaded dude who looks like he would break in half if you hit him, yet he walks with a swagger that convinces you he’s a man).

Oh yeah, this book is also funny as fuck. Let me give you a few examples. Among the book’s dedications (to his stepfather, his wife, Randy Couture, etc) he includes broccoli “for smelling like farts before you eat it and being difficult to spell” and Hollywood “for somehow making it cool to be Irish. It’s getting so popular in fact, that we’re thinking about making a move on the Jews.” Many of the names, places and facts were changed “to protect Forrest Griffin from getting sued by a bunch of douche bags” and “very few small animals were harmed during the making of this book. The ones that were harmed were not in the ‘cute’ category, so it’s all good.” The book also opens with a test to see if you’re man enough to read it, kind of like how rollercoasters have a height requirement. See, funny in a stupid-clever sort of way that reads exactly how Griffin talks. I’d love to listen to the audio book if Griffin recorded it.

And while he says he’s “pretty sure the book you’re holding will only make you stupider,” I’d have to disagree. As I said, the book is more about fighting – and fight psychology, surprisingly – than anything else. He talks about the training needed to be a fighter (playing videogames will make you a better jiu-jitsu player) and also the mental/emotional issues you have to possess/overcome to punch/get punched in the face for a living.

He talks about analyzing your opponent before a fight, how you shouldn’t stare at their cup (“Kazushi Sakuraba wears the biggest cup known to man,” which is a mind fuck not unlike when U.S. helicopters dropped giant condoms on North Vietnam to intimidate them with the size of the American cock) or pay attention to their pre-fight rituals (“like Rashad Evans’ nipple twisting, it worries me”).

He explains that when grappling, avoid partners who have no sphincter control, extreme sweaters and “claw boy,” and that sex before a fight, especially before a weigh-in, is good because “at the very least you’ll lose a pound or two” (how much semen does he have?).

There are tips on getting laid, on looking like a fighter when you’re not one, on how not to cut weight for a fight, as well as 42 very serious fight tips (from “I swear honey just the Tip #4 knees slightly bent” to “slowly rub my Tip #14 don’t circle into the power”). And he closes with a few “supersecret techniques” – fending off dog and sword attacks, how to fuck start the head, the “no, you shut the fuck up” encounter and the Asian dart.

Oscar Wilde, whom I’m sure Griffin would hate merely on principle, once said: “Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.” Sounds like Forrest Griffin to me.


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