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The magic of expectations

The key to happiness in this open sewer we call a society is low expectations. The people closest to you will inexorably break your heart. That is a fact. But as long as you know that going in, it’s not so bad when it happens. One of the reasons so many relationships fail is because of unrealistically high expectations, usually on the part of women. Whereas men want the occasional hummer and then to be left pretty much alone, women expect men to be a confidant, handyman, protector, provider, Superman, Batman, Lex Steele, Bobby Flay and Dr. Phil all rolled into one. It’s a recipe for failure because failure is the only option with such lofty expectations. Lower those bad babies to realistic levels, and even lower than that, and happiness is right around the corner.

The MMA equivalent to that dime-store psychological theory is the main event between Shogun and Brandon Vera. The expectations on Shogun were high. Vera was a guy who hadn’t looked all that impressive since dropping to light-heavyweight in 2008, and had only won one fight since 2009 – a lackluster decision over Eliot Marshall in a fight that not many would have complained had it gone the other way. Basically, Shogun was supposed to run through Vera. He was clearly the better fighter, but he struggled too much to satisfy those haughty expectations. Thus, he failed to impress and earn himself a rematch with Jon Jones.

Vera, on the other hand, was in the enviable position of having absolutely nothing to lose. Expectations couldn’t possibly have been any lower had they pulled him off a bar stool down by the docks to step in against Shogun on a moment’s notice. He was brought in to lose, and lose badly, so the fact that he hung around until the fourth round, and at times seemed to actually find that trigger finger that has so eluded him since his days at heavyweight, allows Brandon Vera to walk away from a knockout loss with a very decent sense of victory because he exceeded expectations.

That’s the beauty of expectations. With remarkably low expectations, Vera got knocked the fuck out, and yet he walks away the victor. With unrealistically high, woman-level expectations, Shogun scores a TKO in what turned out to be a pretty darned good fight, yet walks away with the taint of discredit because he couldn’t run through a very tough opponent. It just goes to show that state of mind is everything.

Alexander Pope said, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” That’s damn good advice.

  • Reverend Clint

    shogun looked like he did against forrest or coleman and vera looks like he could do well against ex strikeforce fighters

  • McBayne

    Hey Ryan, incase you haven’t noticed this Tony GG guy is doing the SB nation “articles for the sake of articles” bit and I’m not a fan – the ruse that you’re too busy in old stomping grounds has gone on long enough. Subo is lonely give him a call and record the parts about MMA for a podcast or something.

  • matthewpolly

    Care to credit who that very long quote at the beginning is from. I assume it wasn’t Alexander Pope.

  • mofu69

    Amen. about the women i mean.

  • shane

    Pope is just parroting the Epictetus.

  • shane

    “the Epictetus” … “the”?. I am too high right now.

  • ButtsexSocialism

    That was a pretty good post bud.

    And I dont impress easily due to my superfluous high expectations.

    (They suck!)

  • glassjawsh

    ^ he got tired cause Vera pushed the pace.

    just ask Brandon.

  • frickshun

    That fight looks suspiciously like Griffin-Boner I. Hmmmmmm…..main event on FOX? Yikes.

    PS: You are sometimes funny Tony. This was one of those times.

  • agentsmith

    This wasn’t about unrealistic expectations, this was about Shogun failing to reach his potential… again. Like Clint said, this fight was reminiscent of the one with Coleman. Vera got his licks in, but it was more about Shogun looking like shit than Vera looking awesome. The Shogun we saw on Saturday would hve been picked apart by Machida and straight-up murdered by Bones.