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Thursday, Jan 17, 2013

Opinion: Misguided Notions of MMA Abound

By Jesse Heitz

Mixed Martial Arts, despite its near 20-year organized history, and its incredible record of fighter safety, at least as concerns the more affluent promotions, faces tremendous obstacles in the shape of the uninformed or simply misinformed.  MMA is still considered by many to be paramount to “controlled” street fighting.  It is thought of by unconscious detractors as the pinnacle of human brutality.  Scores of fans, fighters, promoters, and writers, have all taken great efforts to convey the truth regarding the sport, yet such a battle has been an uphill climb.

On the individual level, the misguided notions of a typical consumer can be washed away by the reasoned arguments of knowledgeable fans.  However, when the aforementioned misguided individual happens to be a person who occupies a prominent position in society, say a journalist, pundit, or politician, for example, the sport can suffer monumental setbacks.

Take the case of New York for example.  A few incorrigible city commissioners have single-handedly blocked the entrance of MMA into the largest market in the United States, all while boxing and other combat sports are welcomed with open arms.  We are all well aware of Senator John McCain’s now infamous “human cockfighting” analogy in the late 1990s, which created significant shockwaves for a sport that was dangerously close to being on life support.  Even if there are other factors at play here, namely the politically powerful culinary union that has it out for the UFC, the fact remains that violence and danger remain at the center of the argument for maintaining the ban on MMA in the state.

Yet, perhaps the most dangerous of foes, when it comes to the dissemination of uninformed opinions, are from those who can control the means of communication.  Those who rule the press and the airwaves seem to be the worst offenders.  For a case in point, here is an interesting excerpt from an article,  that has been brought to the forefront by Jordan Breen of Sherdog.com entitled “Teen Used MMA Moves on Mom, Sister over Cellphone Loss”, published on January 14th of this year in the “Land O’ Lakes Patch”,

A Land O’ Lakes teen faces domestic battery charges after deputies say he used MMA-style moves on his mother and sister.

According to a Pasco County complaint affidavit, the 16-year-old became “physically abusive” toward his mother and sister after his cellphone was taken away.

The teen choked, kicked and performed MMA (mixed martial arts) moves on his sister, then chased his mother and “placed her in a physically restraining MMA move,” the report stated.”


This simple little article from a suburb of Tampa Bay Florida clearly depicts an either unfounded or unintentional bias that still plagues the sport of MMA.  The acronym “MMA” has been turned into a journalistic buzz-word.  One whose only purpose is to stir up controversy by irresponsibly associating a legitimate sport with immature acts of a brat and a bully.

To associate random acts of violence with a well-regulated hybrid sport, simply because a person used a technique that happens to be prominent in MMA, all in order to work up a fervor amongst viewers and readers is beyond unacceptable.  Yet, what’s most interesting is that I seldom see anyone invoking the name of Boxing when someone gets into a fist fight, even if it leads to a fatality.  Never have I seen an article title that even remotely resembles “Individual Used Boxing Moves on Another”…curious to be sure.

posted by FCF Staff @ 1:17 pm
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