I’m getting tired of elitist pricks like this guy shitting on mixed martial arts and its fans because somehow MMA is inferior to or is more primitive or brutal than boxing.
For starters, his article makes it clear that he has little or no understanding of what’s happening within the octagon. If he were a true sports columnist and wanted to objectively cover an emerging sport, he would visit a few gyms and talk to some of the fighters and get an idea of how the various martial arts are used in a fight. He’d get a better feel for the strategy involved and the physical requirements to be a successful fighter.
He might also start to understand some of the fighters involved in the sport. Yes, some of them are big, dumb thugs who don’t know how (or don’t have the ambition) to do anything else, but can any more be said of some of the boxers out there? Some of the fighters are every bit as interested in the sporting aspect of the game, and still others are interested in the martial art side of it, fancying themselves modern day warriors or gladiators.
Then there’s the blood. Yes, it’s messy, but it’s a necessary consequence of the game. The fighters need their fingers free for grappling, thus requiring smaller gloves with less padding. Compound that with the (albeit limited) use of elbows and you get cuts. If you stop a fight for every bit of blood, you’d bring every match to a screeching halt. However, if the cuts are too deep or dangerous, the doctors stop the fight. Is that not limit enough?
As for the fans and their bloodlust, are you really going to tell me boxing fans are any different? That the Average Joe plunking down his money for a boxing pay per view or arena seat isn’t hoping one fighter or the other isn’t going to get his brains beaten in? Are you really going to tell me there aren’t as many greedy promoters taking advantage of fighters in boxing as there are in MMA? That there aren’t as many broken and battered fighters ending their careers after one concussion too many?
I have no problem if they want to slam some of the fighters or some aspects of the showmanship. Some of the fighters are going to show poor sportsmanship; that’s just human nature. Tyson didn’t do his sport any more credit than some of the MMA guys have. The smack talk may get more coverage than it deserves, but that’s marketing. The UFC is going after the wrestling audience, and the smack talk is a huge part of the professional wrestling show.
Brock Lesnar and his post-fight comments are a great example of this. The guy’s a former WWE wrestler, and he sounded like it. Unfortunately this is what gets all the media attention, not all the times guys like Anderson Silva will bow to their opponents in a show of respect, or the times where fighters will raise their opponent’s hand after a match or even give them a congratulatory hug.
A columnist or sports reporter doesn’t like certain aspects of the game? Fine. But don’t pick and choose the parts that reinforce your obvious bias. Cover the events for what they are: a sport. If you can still play up baseball as a great American sport after all the athletes who have disgraced it through steroid abuse, there’s no reason not to look into why this new sport is growing in popularity and find out what’s behind the blood and spectacle that draws the rest of us to it.
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. His Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Deadliest of the Species, was just reprinted by Evileye Books.