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Glorified jock posters or art, project pretty cool

Plus, it will join two ends of society

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When I was a kid I’d buy $6 posters at sporting goods stores and tack them to my bedroom wall.

Jim Kelly and John Elway were above my bed, Steve Yzerman in the corner and Bret “The Hitman” Hart hung by the closet.

But never in my youthful wisdom did I think I was running any sort of art gallery.

Today — if I were single — I might be tempted to put some UFC memorabilia on the wall, maybe some kind of a Forrest Griffin photo.

There are people out there, and a lot of them, who would like to do the same thing. Some of those people are doctors, lawyers or investors who have between $7,500 and $15,000 to buy what amounts to a gigantic UFC poster for their wall.

But by purchasing one of these pieces they can fill dual roles. They can have their humongous portrait of Chuck Liddell’s bruised face without having to justify the decorating choice.

Plus they can tell their friends it’s art.

I don’t know whether you can consider “Octagon: The Exhibition,” a UFC-centric photo exhibit soon to be on display in Las Vegas — and an accompanying 800-page book — real art. Nor, frankly, do I care.

I’d sure like to have the 50-pound book on my table at home. But $2,500 is a little out of my price range. Because it costs that much, it’s considered fine art.

There seemingly wouldn’t be much of a crossover between the stereotypical downtown arts aficionado and the frat boys watching UFC pay-per-views.

One wears a beret, drinks wine and talks about the latest conceptual art piece he’s seen. The other has a shaved head, drinks beer and talks about throwing high knees.

Now the two are going to be merged in some strange way with this exhibit, consisting mainly of portraits of fighters before and after their battles. The highlight, however, is a close-up of the UFC cage’s floor — a splatter of blood on the white canvas.

The UFC granted tremendous access to photographer Kevin Lynch for the project and it will be rewarded with access to a new audience.

That new audience, such as the show’s smartly dressed female curator, gets to learn something new. And hearing a woman chat about the relationship between full-contact fighting and her respected art career is an added experience.

The art people will never say this. But I think it gives them an excuse to fall in love with fighting.

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