by Erin McDougall
While most people were watching a Saturday night of fights including both Strikeforce and Bellator, I was sitting at home with my not-so-great-cable package, doing laundry and eating yogurt-covered raisins. The extent of the excitement my night was when I realized I didn’t have a loonie (that’s a one dollar coin for all my American friends) for the laundry room dryer. This meant improvising… and hanging a weeks worth of wet thongs, socks and bras around my little apartment to dry. Not my finest moment. I discovered that if you open your dishwasher, and pull the racks out… thongs, bras and socks hang quite nicely over the sides.
I know… pathetic.
As my clearly amazing Saturday night rolled on, I occasionally hit refresh on my twitter page… looking to get updates from the nights events. You can always count on the twitter family to have opinions, reactions and updates from pretty much any MMA show in Canada and the United States. I scanned my home page feed… As always, one particularly rough tweeter caught my eye...
“White Middle America can suck my dick”
Aye. Another harsh and crude tweet from the one and only Bloodstain Lane. A month ago, this sort of person would not have even made it into my twitter followers… and if he did, a tweet like that would have had him un-followed in a New York heartbeat. I am certainly not interested in surround myself with attitudes that reflect such harshness…
…But there he is. On my twitter homepage. And on my facebook friends list. And surprisingly enough, in my contact list on my cell phone. How did this come to be?
An interesting chain of events brought Bloodstain Lane into my life. A tweet belonging to him was retweeted by one of my followers, causing it to be viewed in my homepage feed. In response to it, I spoke out to him, verbalizing my disagreeing opinion in regards to what he stated. He responded by basically telling me to sleep with him or “shut the fuck up.”
But shortly after came his apologies. Yes, multiple apologies. Then came his facebook friend request… and now, I have an incredible friend in my life, who as mean as he can come across to the people in the MMA community, I am starting to realize this guy is really a good person.
Bloodstain Lane (BSL) is the dude everyone loves to hate. He is verbally violent, harsh, vulgar and at times, degrading… he is constantly at war with people from the online MMA community. He has approximately 1550 followers on twitter… and he is either feeling their love and support as he bashes the “Zuffa Zombies” or he is battling them to defend himself with a war of words. All that I can think of when I see that is, wow, that must be exhausting. He is surrounded by such hostility and anger most of the time. How does he allow that? In my eyes, he appears to always have his finger on the trigger… ready to pull at any second. Some people completely love what he stands for and represents, but most people don’t care for it at all. If he is so hated, and so controversial, why is he so popular?
“No one is doing what I’m doing in the MMA Community... I bring this Howard Stern/NYC swagger to the game. I think people love me because I speak from a hardcore fans perspective, not some redundant journalists... I give you it in a raw, uncut, animated format and a lot of the hardcore fans appreciate it cause I speak for them. They may not agree with everything I say, but most appreciate the passion.”
No doubt that his fans appreciate the passion. One look at his facebook wall and you can see… it’s like a congregational breeding ground for his followers to post their thoughts, links and emotions. Most posts and comments on his wall aren’t even put up by him, but rather his facebook “friends.” His twitter page is similar… most of his tweets are just responses to people shouting out to him or trying to tare him down. These MMA fans come in every shape and size, their knowledge varying. And while we all seem to have one great thing in common, a love for the sport, we all voice that love differently. BSL vents some frustrations with how he views today’s fans.
“What drives me mad about the MMA community is most are uneducated...If you want to become a SERIOUS fan, do your research. Listen, I know a lot of people got into MMA through TUF... you have to get into the sport somehow, you know… but before you comment, educate yourself on all the great fighters we had before you got into the sport.”
Which is an excellent point. MMA didn’t begin with the first cast of The Ultimate Fighter. Nor will it end there. He goes on…
“Another thing that makes me sick is the ‘What have you done for me lately’ mentality that MMA fans have now... A guy can go undefeated for ten years, lose one or two fights and all of a sudden be overrated...It's really a joke.”
Voicing his opinions is obviously something BSL is comfortable doing. In fact, his YouTube videos show just how comfortable he is with sharing his views on fights, promotions, coaches, fans and fighters. And it’s not like people aren’t taking notice either… His videos get anywhere between 8000 and 21,000 hits.
The BSL character has become accepted and slammed all across the MMA community. One thing I couldn’t wrap my head around at first was the “kill or be killed’ approach he has. I asked him about this character… how much of this guy is really him?
“Bloodstain is a piece of who I am, only a fraction. I was born in East New York Brooklyn and Raised in Ozone Park...two notoriously blue-collar hard nose areas. You just naturally develop that kinda personality. I grew up around every kind of criminal, low life thug… from Mafia Legend John Gotti, to the kids on the corner selling drugs. You had to hold your own and or get eating alive out there. That’s where the 'tough guy" persona comes from. Also, when I was younger Andrew Dice Clay was a hero of mine (for those who don’t know Dice is a comedian from Brooklyn in the 80's/90's and is know for his vulgar mouth) so I jacked some of his swag because like I said, I grew up on Dice. As far as incorporating it into my MMA personality, well it’s only natural because Bloodstain is me to an extent. But it’s not all of me. I have many sides to me but I only show want I want to be seen…”
Interesting… well that would explain why my softie chicken-shit of a self doesn’t “get it.” Being Canadian and growing up on the prairies doesn’t really educate you for the bad ass New York outlook on life.
Some would argue that he is just a glorified fan, taking a colorful role and talking MMA, he is actually extremely knowledgeable with this sport. He can rattle off names and statistics, like it’s his own children’s names and birthdates. And he isn’t as negative as some people try to pin him as being. He is a fighter, in every sense of the word... he will go to war, verbally or physically, to protect the people he cares about. If he isn’t at war with you, he is a very genuine person who loves the sport and wants to see it progress and grow.
“The sport is growing gradually everyday and that is a great thing. It’s a beautiful sport and it deserves all the acclaim it’s getting.”
Of course, being as outspoken as he is, BSL does have a suggestion of developing it to the next level.
“I believe this sport can grow bigger when MMA organizations start co-promoting, so we can see who really has the best fighters in the world. There is no way of telling that unless they fight…”
While a dream for many, somehow combining two organizations for a night of fights, in order to truly determine the best fighters in a particular weight class, will more than likely stay a dream for a long, long time. The biggest name in MMA, Dana White would likely never agree to that set up. And rest assured BSL has some thoughts on Dana White.
If you have ever paid half of minutes worth of attention to his YouTube videos, tweets or facebook page, you know that BSL doesn’t “prefer” Dana… to put it nicely. I personally dig the guy. I get along with everyone though… make smoothies, not war as I like to say. (Why can’t we all just get along!?) So, I asked BSL… Would you ever sit down one-on-one with Dana, for a beer and a bullshit?
“Yeah, why not. I would let him know how I feel. I don’t hate the guy as a human being. He has done some positive things… but as a businessman, I don’t care for him. I don’t like how he shits on legendary fighters and tries to tear down their legendary careers, just because they aren’t signed with him. The sad thing is, Dana is the figure head for American MMA... I think he has 1.5 million followers on twitter and some people hang on to his every word. When Dana tells people "Fedor Sucks" a lot of people believe that. It’s sad because they don’t realize how much of a legendary career Fedor has had, Also, I don’t like how he black lists sponsors, which in reality takes pay away from the fighters. The fighters are the ones who make this sport. At the end of the day Dana is all about his brand and not the overall global growth of MMA....”
Whether you are a BSL fan or not, if you look at this statement objectively you would have to be crazy to not agree. Dana White has the power to influence many of millions of fans. Not all of them will be able to make decisions on their own, especially if they are new to the sport. Mild brainwashing. Although, on the flip… BSL also has a posse of people that hang off his every word. I mentioned that to him. I suggested that what Dana and he represented was just different sides to the same coin. He didn’t pull the trigger on me, tell me to “sleep with him or shut the fuck up.” Huh… progress. Obviously, he is willing to be open to other people’s opinions.
When it’s all said and done, BSL is going to keep doing what he does best. Taking a stand and making his voice be heard, even if it does rub some people the wrong way. He has an ability to lead. He is loud, colorful and he stands out. He is the balance this sport needs.
“Either way, I don’t care… I’m going to do what I do and keep it moving…”.
** You can follow Bloodstain Lane by hitting up Youtube (The Team Takeover), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BloodstainLane), or Twitter @BloodstainLane