I have a couple points in response:
1) the two guys started when the sport had no rules and was unsanctioned and the referee couldn't even actually stop the fight (Big John had to convince them that at times fighters were unable to tap/capitulate and corners wouldn't throw in the towel (fun fact in UFC history: Technically, originally a fighter had to tap or his corner throw in the towel, a referee could not stop a fight for any other reason).
2) watching Shogun (still going) and Liddell fight past their prime is/was every bit as hard to watch at times.
3) Who am I to say two consenting adult males can't fight in a cage in a probably shouldn't but is in fact sanctioned cage match?
Perhaps my tiny Grinch heart is growing with the flow of nostalgia, perhaps it's my soft spot for two dudes who really don't like one another...perhaps it's the air of unsettled business as the last fight ended in a draw...perhaps it simply is what it is and if 18 year olds can choose to fight professionally so can 50 year olds, so long as viewers tune in. I've seen more poorly matched amateurs thrown to the wolves in various spectacles in different states, how different is this? We only care because of selfish reasons for how we want to remember someone or something, not really out of preservation for the combatant(s), I suspect.
I'll be tuned in with popcorn or cake or coffee or whatever is at hand Friday night.
We tune in to see brutality. We tune in to see the visceral reality of fighting with far less rules than boxing or Muay Thai. We tune in because the spectacle is part of the alchemy of what makes it exciting.
How do I feel when people negative nancy the spectacle element?