(Editor’s Note. The topic of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) would seem to be one that is not appropriate for The Sport Digest. Yet the study of ethics in sport is in fact one that concerns anyone planning to work in the fields of sport administration and sport management. What, for instance, does a person do in her job as Director of a Parks and Recreation program when a group of parents comes in with a demand that the organization add MMA to its list of youth sports offered. This group of parents represents taxpayers and may be large in number. What would you do if faced with this question? The writer is a reader of the blog who takes a position on this sport that is reasoned and well stated. This kind of debate is one engaged in by students at the United States Sports Academy. For more on Academy programs go to http://ussa.edu).
Ever been punched in the face? Ever been kicked, stepped on, or slammed? In the USA, boxing, soccer, football, and wrestling are all youth sanctioned sports, whose participants are almost all under the age of 18. Why then, if our children can be punched, kicked and slammed, can they not partake in the truest form of these activities, mixed martial arts (MMA)?
The goal of sport is to pit one human spirit against another to test bravery, sacrifice, commitment, teamwork, and perhaps glory or defeat. Have you ever seen or heard the raucous roars of the crowd from a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fight? It’s carnal, very real, and in one form or another has been around well since before Romans immortalized gladiatorial combat at the Coliseum. There is simply no greater feeling than defeating another competitor in direct “fight for your life” combat, which pits mental and physical chess in a poetic symphony of punches, kicks, slams and body movements.
We are still savage and perfect creatures
This is the same reason why the movie “300” was immensely successful – fighting, integrity, self sacrifice, love of team (country), and pure combat (the most honest expression humans have ever possessed). Some people would like to correlate anything violent with the worst in human nature; however, it’s a dangerous conclusion to reach, because unless you have ever achieved great victory, you don’t’ know what it tastes like. It’s addicting, and the greatest motivating force we possess.
Ultimate Glory or Defeat: No in between
Lose a swim meet, and you shrug it off. Give up a layup, and you’ll get it next time. Face off against a human in a pseudo fight to the death (with safety rules in place) and your best will ALWAYS come out. Plato is credited with saying “necessity is the mother of invention”. Necessity arrived at the Spartan walls in the form of the Persians. They birthed the Spartans. Is it time the USA decided to become a warrior country, rather than a fast food, T.V. zombie cesspool of “alternative sports”? In the movie, Spartacus, Leonidas’ father beat his young son in combat, not to be cruel, but to ready him for his REAL FIGHT (life); we see this as his life or death encounter with the Wolf, where preparation and victory culminate to form the great man, father, and eventual King of the Spartans – Leonidas.
This is …. Sparta or Twinkieville?
America is breeding a culture of new age sports players, creating absurd youth sanctioned sports, giving out medals to everyone (even losers), and coddling the parents and children’s feelings. The reality is, we live in a harsh world where you will always be tested, never forget that. Many people reminisce high school, or their glory days of college sport, when they were forced to look at the mirror, their exercise routine, food consumption, and warrior lifestyle. It’s not because people want to live in the past; but as adults we lose this fundamental puzzle piece to what makes us homo sapiens – testing ourselves, team (country) comradery, and physical/mental perfection just as the Ancient Greeks taught. Why deprive our future generations this?
Keep an open mind here. Being knocked out is “safer” than being punched in the head repeatedly, or receiving blows to the temple and sides of head. In MMA, devastating knockouts come in the form of “chin shots” where the brain shuts off temporarily due to the overload. In boxing, football, and even soccer, it is a repetitive stress to the head itself, rather than the chin that causes severe brain damage
Kids break their legs every day in soccer, their arms in wrestling, become paralyzed in rugby/football, tear ACL’s in basketball, and suffer broken noses/concussions in boxing. Yes, in MMA these things can all happen; BUT they rarely do, because 1) your opponent can tap out before having his arm/leg snapped/choked and 2) a referee is there to instantly stop the fight if there is any real danger.
It’s NOT mandatory:
Don’t want your child to partake in MMA? More power to you. However, your personal choices, concerns and moral issues shouldn’t impact that of your neighbors. I’m sure many vegans hate the fact meat is served in their school district, but this is America, where we have the freedom of choice.
Besides, it’s already legal in many places throughout the world. Europe, which loves football (our soccer) has whole heartedly embraced MMA. Their rowdy spirit and love of country is translated into an obsession of sport. There is nothing more powerful than a group of like-minded, well capable warriors – just ask our Military forces. Imagine if we can foster a sense of pride, teamwork, and ultimate glory and acceptance of defeat (when victory is not possible) in our children.
Oh, and by the way, it just might save your life 40 years from now.
Matthew Anton is an avid MMA fan, a 4 letter varsity athlete in high school who played rugby in college. He wishes MMA existed when he was in school. He currently works as an online marketer helping websites increase search engine rankings through the use of social media. He can be reached through the following website. He can also be reached at: http://backlinksindexer.com.