It’s a pretty sad indictment of our priorities as MMA media when few words have been published in acknowledgment of the monumental feat performed by UFC lightweight title contender Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. No, I’m not taking about his Matrix-style cage kick on Ben Henderson, or even his inspiring story that was featured on MTV’s World of Jenks. No, Pettis topped all of this superficial accomplishments when the city of Milwaukee, Pettis’ hometown, bestowed upon him an official day of proclamation.
By now you are probably more than familiar with the story of Pettis and his father’s tragic murder during Pettis’ childhood. While the call of the streets beckoned loudly to young Pettis, the impressionable youth found solace in the discipline of martial arts. Currently, his fairytale story is still continuing with Pettis having dethroned WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson in the WEC’s final promotion.
This is an amazing feeling,” Pettis said in a recent release. “It’s been a crazy year. I’ve won a world title, been featured on MTV and SportsCenter and threw out the first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers game. I never imagined myself being in this position. I’m really thankful that Mayor Tom Barrett and the city of Milwaukee have chosen to honor me. Milwaukee means so much to me and I’m proud to represent it every time I compete.”
Milwaukee granting Pettis his very own day of proclamation illustrates just how far MMA, and the public perception of the sport, has grown in the span of a few short years. For a fighter to be given one of the highest recognitions from a major metropolitan city goes a long way in erasing the archaic image of MMA as little more than “human cockfighting.” Pettis’ achievement is no doubt a very special moment for him personally, but, it also should be viewed as a very special moment for all of mixed martial arts.
Photo courtesy of Anthony Pettis' Twitter account (@showtimepettis).