Looking for that last-minute holiday gift for a MMA fan or more likely what to spend a gift certificate on? Check out the $40 list price Octagon by Kevin Lynch (ISBN 0756645638), a combination of fight photos and portraits from UFC 40-70. This book differs from Fighter by Reed Krakoff in that it contains actual UFC fight photos from a perch over the fence (damn him) and in the post-fight photos included. Those post-fight photos are amazing, especially when put opposite pre-fight photos so readers can see the effects of the fights ala Jan Saudek’s Czech work. These before and after shots aren’t just snapshots, they are good portraits that must have been a pain to shoot. “Excuse me, I know you just got clobbered on pay-per-view but do you mind stepping over here so I can get a photo before you get stitches so millions more can see?” This guy got Denis Hallman to let him shoot a post-fight portrait. Say what you want about over-the-fence photos being “easy” which they aren’t but you have to admit this guy has guts and skill!
Now imagine that for 351 pages.
One minor downside is the fighters quotes are in different languages. Karo Parisyan’s is even in a different script assumed to be Armenian. Wonder what is on Vitor’s mind with that Priscila t-shirt? “Quando voce luta. Voce luta contra seus proprios erros. Voce esta treinando e e bom ter desafios na vida-para escalar a montanha”. One customer in a local bookstore was observed returning this title saying she only looked at a couple photos but it was a foreign language version and she wanted it in English.
The larger downside to this book is the late holiday season timing and minimal publicity campaign have resulted in less copies shipped than for instance Randy Couture’s biography resulting in this title selling out quickly. On second thought don’t wait for that gift certificate for Christmas, go out and buy this one now!