An article by Buzz Rothfield entitled ‘Ultimate Fighting Championship a bloody disgrace’ has made the rounds of the internet and earned the ire of many MMA fans.
The list includes UFC president Dana White who tweeted his displeasure.
Add me to that list of pissed off fans.
The article presents the same illogical and ill-informed arguments that have been thrown at the sport since its inception.
Sweeping generalisations and lack of research seem to be the order of the day here. This is not a first for Rothfield.
As the rappers would put it, haters gonna hate. But for humour’s sake, let’s address some of Rothfield’s points:
“SINCE when is kicking, elbowing, kneeing, punching and stomping an opponent classified as sport?”
– Since the Ancient Olympics back in Ancient Rome. Also, stomping an opponent is illegal in the UFC.
“This was nothing but barbaric savagery that should be banned in this country.
– No, they were skilled contests between professional athletes who are at the pinnacle of their craft.
“The fact women were allowed to fight on the card was an even bigger disgrace.”
– I’m all for gender equality, are you?
“And why are the competitors allowed to do all this inside a cage when it’s illegal on the streets? People have been sent to jail for less than what happened inside a cage on Saturday night”
– Are you allowed to rugby tackle people on the streets, too? The reason is that these were consented, unarmed contests between two professional athletes under medical supervision and with stipulated rules. Fighters fight for money. A street fight borne from a need to hurt with no supervision, no rules and weapons is far different.
“If you really want to make yourself sick, Google “UFC worst injuries””.
– Flawed logic. I could type anything into Google with the tag “worst injuries” and get similar results.
“Why aren’t fighters getting protection from blood diseases?”
– They are. They undergo rigorous medical testing before they’re even cleared to train, let alone fight.
“Why do the referees and doctors allow mismatches and lopsided fights to continue?”
– They don’t, hence why referee and doctor stoppages occur frequently.
“The injury risks they face in rugby league and all the footy codes. At least their sport involves a large degree of skill – and it’s not just a contest to violently bash another person into submission.”
– Mixed Martial Arts involves a high level of skill. These fighters hold high pedigrees in various martial arts and combat disciplines. For example, it takes an average of eight to ten years to earn a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. To say that it involves no skill is just plain ignorant.
It is clear that Rothfield is not a fan of mixed martial arts. It is definitely not a sport that appeals to everyone. But is that enough reason to deride it and call for its abolishment?
Personally, there are big sports that I will either never understand or develop a liking for. Do I respect the fans’ appreciation for these sports? Absolutely.
Will I be calling for their end because I don’t like them? Not a chance.