I want to start this off by saying I have been a mma fan for a long time, the first event I ever saw was UFC 1 with my older brother and some friends when I was 19 (yeah I'm a little old). From my youth to my time in the military (which from my experience has the largest portion of mma fans of anywhere I've worked), to now (working and living in Madrid), I have had the opportunity to meet many, many mma fans over the years. It has been my experience that, like the fighters in the sport itself, most fans are intelligent, passionate, just good people. Maybe not what some outsiders looking in might expect.
I was telling a co-worker a few days ago that I was a mma fan and she asked me "you like that violent stuff?" or something like that, which got me thinking of the perception most people probably have of us mma fans. I told her that I enjoy watching mma for the sport, not necessarily the violence, and don't get me wrong I love the sport, but I usually cringe after a nasty KO and think about how it might end up affecting them (I guess that just makes me human). I explained to her that what I love about mma is that once you get in to the sport deep enough and really start getting the know the styles of different fighters, most of whom have practiced their craft for most of their lives, it really starts making fights much more interesting. How will fighter A's style match up with fighter B's? Along with the camaraderie and respect each fighter has for each other, that is what I love about the sport.
Of course, just like in society, there are bad apples, just read through any of the comment threads here, or any other mma website that has comments and you'll occasionally read a comment or POV that just makes you go WTF? Does this person really believe what they are saying? I absolutely love and support seeing differences of opinion and having a civilized debate, some just don't know how to keep things civilized, or are just rude, that's just the truth of things.
But that said I would have to say that most of us fans of mma are good people, who in my experience make great friends, at least the ones I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with. A lot of people seem to think if I watch mma I am automatically a psychopath who loves violence, which couldn't be further from the truth. World peace? I'd love to see it. Just because I watch a sport that is violent doesn't mean that me, and all the other mma fans want to start armageddon.
I'll leave my thoughts at that and see if I get any comments.