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Ring Seats

Ring Seats

by Brandon Edmonds / 17.05.2010

Who knew Colin Moss, the boy a few streets over from the smarter, taller boy who lives next door, has studied kickboxing for the past 5 years? There I thought he was parlaying his Idols millions into a crisp real estate portfolio, or running a network of underage Venda girls to magnates in Dubai. Nope he was sweating under the grueling tutelage of two-time World Muaythai Champ, Quinton “The Dragon” Chong, who runs Dragon Power in Cape Town, the place du jour for wannabe Bruce Lees. The two partnered up to convince Christian national capitalists MNET to finance Way of the Warrior – a reality show involving slapgat endomorphs with perma-boeps and appalling habits who “through the transformative power of Martial Arts become lean, formidable fighting machines”. Gulp.

DSTV largely bites ass and quality DVD outlets are a way better way to go, so I haven’t followed the show. I’m guessing there was “blood, sweat and tears” though.

Touching moments, personal revelations, contestants learning to trust each other and believe in their own potential. Sad music when someone “goes home”. I’m guessing it was not bad television. I knew none of this, blissfully, when a friend got tickets to the taping of the show’s climax at Grand West Casino.

This was not an “upmarket crowd” though the kind of crowd that would enjoy being called an “upmarket crowd”. Your assistants, receptionists, IT grunts, small business owners, rate payers, tradesmen, the insured and embattled folk who keep Ocean Basket & Nando’s going, in the middle of the middle of the middle class. Women in skinny jeans, kinkily heeled ankle boots and hoop earrings. Women who’ve readily “internalized the male gaze” and could give a fuck about getting to the bottom of a phrase like that. Women who had their hair specially done for fight night. All ass and nails. I was bedazzled. My social circle abjures hooped earrings. Unfortunately.

They were the perfect accompaniment to a beating, these gals, the perfect accompaniment to casino architecture. Everything overblown. Carpeting running for acres. Black staff in waistcoats with walkie-talkies. A concrete statue somewhere in the vicinity of Botticelli’s Venus. A fake blue evening sky in the food court. Twenty buck beer. An apparently famous giant, called Andre, lumbered past. I saw models. There were men with very long ponytails and dead eyes. A rockist dude had on an Axl Rose head scarf, worn without a whisper of self-consciousness, which took a lot more balls than kickboxing, frankly. I want to pickle and preserve him for my grandchildren.

The ring waited lit and iconic inside the Grand Arena. Seated rows reached high into vaulted darkness, appreciably full thanks to the suggestive reach of broadcasting. Colin himself appeared, compact and clean, tie winningly aslant in a two tone suit as if auditioning for a Jean-Pierre Melville re-make. He told us since this was a taped show he’ll make mistakes and “have to repeat things”. That’s why he makes the big bucks – totally upfront about his ineptitude. We sat behind a chatty personal shopper who told us her brother was refereeing. She seemed supercharged by imminent violence. Then the cold blooded murder of geese began.
Well that’s what the music sounded like. Ritual Thai music I imagine. It was as if sitar maestro Ravi Shankar had a set of bagpipes rammed up his ass then force-fed plate after plate of beans. The kind of invasive one note blare psy-ops uses on Guantanamo inmates. It was like being inside the mind of an enraged serpent.

Each muaythai bout is prefaced by a kind of slow motion yoga thingy – the significance of which you can google yourselves. It accomplishes a kind of ambient dreaminess, ripped apart by all-out contact. Children fought with the freewheeling ferocity of coked up gerbils. Girls clashed. Then a local bruiser turned a woman behind us feral. She shrieked his name in disturbing orgasmic transports. He won easily. Quinton “The Dragon” Chong then made a speech. I’m not about to diss a honed martial artist, oh wait yes I am. It was a deliriously vainglorious speech in which he claimed to have “started the hip hop movement” while issuing a litany of vulgar shout-outs to all his sponsors from sunglasses to trainers – his styling corn-rows may be stretched too tight.

On to the Way of the Warrior finale. As Moss put it in an online interview, “Watching these guys when they’re overweight and ungainly is going to be entertaining. We don’t want fighters. We want novices. The theme of the show is transformation.” Mouth-breather, Andrew Koshiaris, a worthy finalist, embodied the quintessential fat novice. His alarming mono-brow and hangdog air made him seem gloomily fated for luckless despair.

He’d be the gormless ape Humphrey Bogart runs rings around in a hardboiled Paramount picture from the forties. My heart went out to him. Up against a younger, leaner, stronger oaf called Glen something. Moss begged us not to tell who won before the show screens. It wasn’t the ape.

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RESPONSES (17)
  1. Classy says:

    Oh well between Chopsick and Colin Toss you will struggle to find bigger Douchebags in the Western Cape!

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  2. mjg says:

    In agreement with Classy.
    Just seeing that twat perched outside Vida e makes me wana Kamikaze.

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  3. Talk is cheap says:

    He’s clearly a very ambitious chap. Reality shows are big money spinners.He looks after his mind and body through his art form and he’s found a way to forge a career in the most volatile industry on the job market.He might just muay thai your ass to the curb Mig.

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  4. mjg says:

    No doubt he would kick me to the curb but that doesnt mean i am to suffer his unjustified posturing and arrogance.
    Buying two world titles is certainly not looking after your mind.
    As for looking after your body, well just look at Mike Tyson. Stand up citizen that one!
    The guy is a douche.

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  5. Classy says:

    And he got kayoed by a boxer in an exhibition match last week! Classic!

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  6. Debi from the Middle Class says:

    Prerequisite to writing for Mahala: Anything that doesn’t fit in the Alt Box we berate

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  7. Roger Young says:

    Prerequisite for commenting on Mahala: Anything that doesn’t fit into my frame of reference I berate.

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  8. Debi from the Middle Class says:

    Redundant.

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  9. Roger Young says:

    Sorry Debi, that should have read. Any Opinion that doesn’t fit into my frame of reference I berate.

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  10. brandon edmonds says:

    The Alt Box. Nice. I actually enjoyed it a lot and wish I was a good enough writer to get that across without spraying everything with sardonicism. Colin is a cool guy with a good sense of his own limitations. There are worse things alive on the planet.

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  11. Debi from the Middle Class says:

    Good to hear Brandon. Self-deprecation is another great quality in writers so keep it up. I mean that sincerely.

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  12. Middleman says:

    Typical capetonians – just cop out… diplomacy sucks

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  13. Dave Levinsohn says:

    Crabs in a bucket I say. Every time any South African steps up to the next level of TV success, we drag ’em down. (Is Quinton South African now?) Watch the show on repeat and see that DSTV actually sold a fair share of ads in the breaks, I know, Capitalists you say. But it’s a sign of trust with both advertisers and viewers that the show is being watched by a few of us. (No I dont work for them!). Also go to one of those ‘Cage Fight’ nights at the Dome in JHB and see how big this scene is getting. We will measure the next South African Reality show by this one no doubt. Good editing, Tight filming, weak idea though… a bit like the ‘Biggest loser’ and then they moer each other at the end. So nothing new. But Colin’s made a move into producing, and it isn’t kak. As Mr Miyagi says: ‘Wax on wax off’ We learn we grow and we order a Mocha-latte at Vida e! Rather watch Celebrity Wrestling Mondays on SANCBC 3, Hulk Hogan and some celebs you’ve never heard of (except for Dennis Rodman maybe?) grasping at their last shot at fame. Shit I need to get out more…

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  14. Classy says:

    Sorry Dave but you cannot even compare a bunch of fat guys pretendig to be Thai Fighters taught by a guy who has a gym which is a shrine unto himself to real pros fighting in the EFC at the dome.

    The show gets dragged down because its a snorefest! The only people who watch it in that 18h30 timeslot are fat people – why? Because the rest of us are at the gym in an attempt to save ourselves! Colin is not at all convincing as a presenter of a bloodsport (compare him to the presenter from Fear Factor, who also by the way is a play-by-play announcer for the UFC – the biggest MMA league in the world).

    Its just another weak attempt that could have been done so much better. Who wants to watch a fat guys getting in and out of vats filled with ice, sad sounding musical montages when a guys gets his marching orders and Chopsticks amazing hair? At the end of the day its Muay Thai, a very small martial art taught by a person who has never been in it for the sport.

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  15. Classy says:

    And as Floyd Mayweather says – numbers dont lie. Id be very interested in seeing just how many “buys” this steaming pile of shit got from joe public.

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  16. High Plains Merchant says:

    I saw Colin Moss at a shopping mall once, and he was all looking around like he wanted people to notice him and go ‘ooh, there’s colin moss.’ I just saw a guy go up to him and say, “Pop Idols sucks, mate.” And Moss just gave a sarcastic smile and said nothing because the guy was double his height and width.

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  17. Melisa Clayton says:

    That was proper effin entertainment and I thank you for transporting me Brandon, to that crazy place. I needed a laugh and you are always on the money.

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