If in some parallel universe I was never given a chance to appreciate MMA, I hope I still managed to avoid writing pieces like this Washington Post monstrosity bashing an activity I neither understood nor cared to research.
Let’s be clear — MMA isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Neither is boxing. Or football, rugby, Australian rules football or any sport in which people collide with malice. Or hockey or indoor lacrosse, where they sometimes toss off their gloves for bare-knuckle head punches.
But if you’re singling out MMA, the counterarguments are simple. Most boxing punches are aimed at the head; MMA targets the whole body. Chokes and armbars may look nasty on first glance, but they’re part of respectable Olympic judo, and they don’t cause long-term injuries. (Yes, we’ll make an exception for people who don’t tap when they’re in armbars or leglocks, but even then, we’re not talking about something as serious as the multiple concussions suffered by unfortunate athletes in football, hockey and soccer.) The rules used for the past decade are hardly “anything goes.”
In the Post piece, Fred Bowen offers up the odd factual clunker (boxing hasn’t had 15-round fights in decades) and an argument that would fail to impress your high school debate coach — to paraphrase, it’s basically “Excuse me, I’ve seen ultimate fighting, and it can’t possibly be more dangerous than cheerleading.”
I’ve seen triathlons, and I wouldn’t think they’re dangerous. But according to the Post, in a story I highly recommend reading, they are.
So we have the usual nightmare scenario for an opinion piece — poor/nonexistent research, misleading descriptions, personal dislike extrapolated to what the general public should avoid, etc.
Here’s the worst part: This isn’t an op-ed piece. It’s not a sports column. It’s in KidsPost, the section for children.
So instead of reading about historical figures, neat science facts or the swell things star athletes do, my kids get to read a lazy opinion piece telling them why no one should watch the sport Daddy covers.
As always, the comments are open (within reason).