Warning: Contains violence

Fighting sports have become more brutal -- what does that say about us?

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Mixed martial arts and ultimate fighting have become wildly popular sports in the United States. What does this say about our civility?

The aim of the game is to fight until someone goes down, using any and every accessible method. This hardly seems like a sophisticated or respectable hobby.

This is not to say that MMA fighters are mindless brutes, or that the sport has no intelligent organization. There is a lot of strategy and training involved, and it certainly isn't for the weak-minded.

But the sport, with hardly any regulation, is incredibly dangerous. Fighters can execute almost any kind of blow or hold, and protective headgear is only optional. There is constant danger of permanent or fatal injury, as was proven by the death of MMA fighter Michael Kirkham after injuries suffered at Aiken's professional fighting event June 26. Kirkham lost consciousness after numerous blows to the head, something not uncommon during a fight.

His death was an accident, and his opponent was merely competing in the sport, doing his best to win. Nobody was trying to cause permanent damage. But when two fighters with basically no rules and no protection are locked in fierce combat, what are the chances of someone not getting seriously hurt?

And yet, this sport is popular, and frighteningly so.

It's not really a stretch to say that mixed martial arts and ultimate fighting are basically human cockfights. True, there's a huge difference in that people fight willingly and the chickens don't. But both exist for the same reason -- we find entertainment in brutality. The fact is, when watching people beat, kick and brutally wail into each other doesn't at least make you cringe, there's something wrong.

How far from savagery have we advanced when this kind of violence is fun and games?

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dodo1234
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dodo1234 07/16/10 - 10:49 pm
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Get over it, ACES. These

Get over it, ACES. These "fighters" know the risks. They want to be "tough". If they want to be stupid and try to be tough and they get killed, so be it. As long as these fights bring revenue into a locality and spur the economy. Capitalism is a good thing, no matter what choice a "tough" individual makes.

GGpap
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GGpap 07/17/10 - 01:03 am
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Good article, AC. This

Good article, AC. This needed to be called to the public's attention. Still, I am surprised that you would open up this subject for comment because I am convinced that all too many of the folks here and elsewhere have similar attitudes as exemplified by your first poster. It would seem that capitalism and "toughness" is "good" no matter that, in this case, they are joined at the hip with brutality and savagery.

But, to expand on your article, I see very little difference in an activity that motivates participants in MMA and that which motivates kids, with enthusiastic encouragement from their parents, to engage in high school "sports" such as football, wrestling, basketball, or "golden glove" boxing; or adults that participate in similar activities at an advanced level of mayhem and violence. And, let's not forget those that are "driven" to seek and kill every animal, bird or fish they are entitled to kill each year as the hunting seasons come and go.

I would hate to think that for the sake of promoting capitalism that we must continue to support the violence evident in the MMA and in our other less apparent forms of violent "competitions," and surely, in the case of the latter, the lust to "the kill," simply to keep our economy flourishing.

But on the other hand, and "patriotism" aside, without the priming of the pump from infancy to adulthood that these activities thrive on there would never be a significant number of "volunteers" to serve as cannon fodder in our military forces. Heck, if I rethink my position (NOT), perhaps an all out promotion of MMA Meets would in fact be more acceptable to our good citizens than the government adoption of Universal Military Training for all of our young citizens. GGpap

Riverman1
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Riverman1 07/17/10 - 02:59 am
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In a futuristic stale world

In a futuristic stale world where man has continued to evolve, such sports may disappear. The reality today is man is driven by his endocrine storms as he matures to conquer and prove himself. Some men are more athletic and driven to win physical contests than others. Every society throughout history has had its coming of age tests for these young men. Channeling this drive into legal and “safe” pursuits helps them and the rest of society.

Hemingway understood the force and probably exemplified the intelligent, physically dominant type best. Whether it was boxing, running with the bulls or war, he was there testing his manhood.

But my favorite telling line comes from South Carolinian Pat Conroy, another great writer and fantastic point guard who played for The Citadel. He was asked about another writer’s book that was receiving much attention. He said, “Yeah, but can he bring the ball upcourt against Florida State?”

carcraft
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carcraft 07/17/10 - 03:37 am
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GGpap-unlike all the liberal

GGpap-unlike all the liberal garbage that would die on the vine without stealing money form others to make work-you don't have to support this! None of your tax dallars pay for it. If you don't like it don't watch it! If you don't like it don't buy a ticket! For heavans sake nobody forced throught a reconcilliation bill in the dead of night to pay for it! Go to namby pamby land and suck on the government issued pacifier and leave America alone!

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 07/17/10 - 05:40 am
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I don't really know much

I don't really know much about MMA but if folks are being killed doing it, promoters better get good insurance.

I think this is a case where they better self-regulate of they may see government stepping in to sort them out.

Brad

Nativeson1
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Nativeson1 07/17/10 - 06:39 am
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I've watched a few

I've watched a few MMA/ultimate fight matches and it has a purpose...I think folks who want to watch have a right to, but the sport itself better consider tougher restrictions on itself, especially on puncing folks when they are down...

Runner46
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Runner46 07/17/10 - 06:40 am
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And the Romans had their

And the Romans had their gladiators... We have not changed much over the years.

Nativeson1
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Nativeson1 07/17/10 - 06:45 am
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GGap, I hunt and have been

GGap, I hunt and have been doing so since I was five...It's not about killing every animal you see; matter of fact 95% of the time I go I see my quarry and pass it up because I'm a sportsman not a killer....It's called "culling" the population and it helps the population keep from over populating itself.. I know that doesn't jive or matter but I just found your reference to hunters wrong...

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 07/17/10 - 07:16 am
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Well ACES, you start your

Well ACES, you start your editorial with a very narrow perspective that doesn't seem to worry about accuracy. "The aim of the game is to fight until someone goes down, using any and every accessible method." There are specific rules about what type of blows are excluded and areas where blows are excluded.
If the author of this piece were in a MMA competition, I'm sure the perspective of uncontrolled violence would be justified, but the truth of the matter is that the competitors are well trained and if they wish to compete, they're well conditioned. The better trained person almost always beats the less trained person. Competition.... and that's what the complaint seems to be here.
Competition calls for all in the game to do their best to remain competitive. If the effort is too much, you either improve, get out of the game, seek a different level of competition or plan on losing a lot. I think this is what GGpap way crying about in his 2:03am post. Capitalism is mean, competition is mean, personal responsibility is mean and being held accountable for your actions is mean. In GGpap's utopia, or so it would seem, being taken care of at all levels and never being challenged would allow you to "...ignore the man behind the curtain" for your entire ... "life ?".
I don't think that's the human way, and it's certainly not the way of a country that was settled by people escaping oppression and restrictions. As much as the left hates it, here in America rugged individualism still exists and whether a person competes against another in business or sport or whether a person competes against his previous best effort, most Americans lust after and gain satisfaction from competition.
I'll be the first to admit I don't understand the fear of competition, and many of my associates suffer from it and have tried to explain it to me, but then I don't understand abortion on demand and teaching homosexuality in our government schools or denial of a deity.

gobsmacked
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gobsmacked 07/17/10 - 08:25 am
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The love of mayhem is

The love of mayhem is probably too embedded in our genes to ever go away. What is the rate of serious injury and death in this sport? Is it significantly higher than that of boxing? Does the state have a compelling interest in interfering with it? Let's hope the promoters clean it up before that becomes a possibility. Other things being equal, consenting adults should regulate their own behavior. It's probably less dangerous than snake-handling. On the other hand, it's not a religious rite. Those are conducted in Sanford Stadium.

As for hunting, please shoot more deer. They are rats on stilts.

curly123053
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curly123053 07/17/10 - 08:41 am
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As far as I am concerned this

As far as I am concerned this is NOT a sport. It is an activity that DOES NOT promote sportsmanship. We have basically gone back to the days of when the gladiators would fight to the death in arenas. The human body can only take so much regardless how big and tough you think you are.

Med College guy 64
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Med College guy 64 07/17/10 - 09:37 am
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Yeah, I think this editorial

Yeah, I think this editorial is right on. We need to ask ourselves why we enjoy watching people being hurt. It's interesting to see the diatribes by other posters, who are clearly conservative, which smack of social darwinism. I wonder how compatible this philosophy is with their other beliefs.

Rome indeed. Thankfully there is no intentional killing, but sometimes I wonder how far we are from that.

Talkatoast
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Talkatoast 07/17/10 - 09:48 am
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What I find ironic is that

What I find ironic is that people cringe watching the scenes in The Gladiators, where people are pitted against each other and fight to the death. But yet they cheer on these barbaric sports. One can argue there is a huge difference, because one consents, and the other does not. Yet, there is still savagery involved. We are no different from the Romans who enjoyed a good bloodshed. We really aren't.

Xardox17
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Xardox17 07/17/10 - 10:39 am
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Respect for the trained

Respect for the trained warrior who toils for the delight of the spectator is indeed nothing new. Such a sport is not for everyone, which is probably part of its appeal. Correction for above: MMA has many rules for the protection of the comabatants; "using any and every accessible method" is not true. Having been in the ring, it is difficult to explain the exhiliration and mindset of the participants. Sort of like jumping out of a perfectly good, properly flying airplane with a sheet of nylon tied to one's back. It's a blast!

bone1
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bone1 07/17/10 - 10:45 am
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unfortunately, we all want to

unfortunately, we all want to believe that the intellectual capacity of man is the highest form of development; nature seems to take a more balanced approach and give some physical gifts that far exceed their mental prowess. i don't look at it as savagery so much as the attainment by some of their peak physical abilities and choosing to use these abilities in combat. athletes who catch / run / throw / etc. are no different. i enjoy MMA immensely and hope that ACES would consider the sport to be a higher contact version of what physically-gifted athletes do in other sports.

reader54
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reader54 07/17/10 - 11:30 am
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It's called FREEDOM. Unlike

It's called FREEDOM. Unlike Roman Gladiators, the participants in this and other dangerous activities have made an informed choice. If danger and death are your concern, your point would be more valid if you considered the many activities that result in death.Some CHOOSE to compete man against man as opposed to man against nature. The result of death is more likely in other activities or sports than it is in MMA. What is the percentage of deaths or amputations in attempting to climb Mt. Everest? Smoking tobacco? Drinking alcohol, etc.? The result of death should be the primary concern as opposed to the cause. Is the sport brutal? Yes. Take a look around the world and you will see that the challenge of daily survival is more so. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness! Save your tears and outrage for the unfortunate and innocent.

GGpap
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GGpap 07/17/10 - 01:43 pm
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CARCRAFT, I take your post as

CARCRAFT, I take your post as just another conservative's call for the preservation of violence and brutality at any cost and civility be damned.

GGpap

Riverman1
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Riverman1 07/17/10 - 01:44 pm
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MedCollegeGuy64 said, " It's

MedCollegeGuy64 said, " It's interesting to see the diatribes by other posters, who are clearly conservative, which smack of social darwinism."

Conservatives we may be, but social invertebrates don't worry about such things, or pay the bills.

gobsmacked
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gobsmacked 07/17/10 - 01:52 pm
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Med - you might be surprised

Med - you might be surprised about that correlation with political philosophy business.

Personally, I find the activity repellent, and I don't understand the behavior of those who cheer it on. It's different from other sports. One doesn't have to do brain damage to the opposition to win a basketball game.

On the other hand, I'd like to know how much damage is being done. The public has a limited appetite for regulations. Perhaps we should reserve them for where they're most needed and choice isn't involved unless there is a compelling state interest. I don't have any choice in the matter if someone upstream dumps effluent in the river.

I wonder if boxing would pass the sniff test based on pugilistic dementia or whatever it's called these days. Is this any worse than boxing? Maybe, but I don't know. How much damage is being done by children bouncing soccer balls off their heads? Maybe we ought to ban that.

GGpap
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GGpap 07/17/10 - 01:57 pm
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JC, you write, "In GGpap's

JC, you write, "In GGpap's utopia, or so it would seem, being taken care of at all levels and never being challenged would allow you to "...ignore the man behind the curtain" for your entire ... "life ?".

Nope, not I, it's not the legitimate challenges I bemoan--as was Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001--those are the reasons I strongly advocate Universal Military Training for all Americans, male and female. Unfortunately, we've lost our way on the clear goal we recognized on 9-11….thanks to your buddy GWB.

GGpap

Orlandu
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Orlandu 07/17/10 - 02:38 pm
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This "article" is so full of

This "article" is so full of crap it's not even funny. UFC and MMA are the most highly regulated sports in the world. Fighters who violate the laws and regulations are banned from competition. Fighters who use drugs are fined 10's of thousands of dollars and suspended for months, sometimes years at a time. So far there has never been a confirmed death in MMA. That is a fact. Those who claim people like Kirkham died because of this are delusional. He died of medical malpractice. not the fight as you claim here. MMA is not "no holds barred" like you claim and quite frankly, if I was a promoter I would sue you for slander and libel as this so called article is so full of verified lies and falsehood it's not even funny. The rules for UFC can be found here: http://www.ufc.com/index.cfm?fa=LearnUFC.Rules and as you see, the so called "cockfighting" you claim is not true. In MMA 4 people are claimed to have been killed. 1 was killed in an unsanctioned fight in Ukraine, 1 never happened (Fight in Korea was found to be false) and the last 2 were medical incompetence. You make me sick to be a subscriber.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 07/17/10 - 04:15 pm
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GGpap, I, too, would like to

GGpap, I, too, would like to see universal military training for all American citizens. How is that in any way contrary to MMA? What legitimizes a challenge? Could it be competition? America can thank GWB for being president when we were attacked. We'd all be speaking Farsi right now if Gore or obama were in office. Instead, the other muslim are fighting from caves with barely time or personnel for attacks on America. Why is that a bad thing? Would the war have progressed differently if the progressive left hadn't started attacking Bush and selling military secrets on 9-12?

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 07/17/10 - 04:35 pm
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Sorry GGpap, but your buddy,

Sorry GGpap, but your buddy, uncle, is so far ahead of GW in his increasing of the National debt, neutering the military, trashing the economy, pitting all Americans against one another on many issues, disregard and incompetence in handling National security issues, damaging our foreign relations with our allies, rewarding the unions, etc, etc, etc, that it isn't even close. Further, when all of the 1,400+ pages of the stimulus package, the 2,800 page health care plan, and the 2,300 page banking reform acts are fully investigated, and they really find out what the grand total of intended and unintended consequenses really are, then this nation, imho, would be thrilled to trade uncle for GW any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Oh, btw, since Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae were the major underlying causes of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, that triggered the banking crisis, why are uncle and the dems totally ignoring this thousand pound gorilla in America's living room??! Oh...no guts eh? Typical.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 07/17/10 - 04:47 pm
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AC, your point, although

AC, your point, although pertinent, is imho, moot, because the thirst for violence in our society will always push some to find an outlet. True, it doesn't say much for us or our society, but just like the oldest profession, there is not much we can to to change human nature. People are drawn to violence like a moth to the flame, and gather like gawking idiots whenever there is an accident or other violent incident, so they can watch the carnage in a mind numbing stupor until there is nothing left to watch. I do not like boxing for the same reason, but if it is legal, then there will always be rabid fans ready and willing to pay through the nose for the thrill of watching some fool get his clock cleaned in public. Pathetic?, yes. Profitable?, very. Preventible?, sadly no. I just hope that in the future, we don't have real gladiators hacking each other to death, like in ancient rome, while millions of spectators scream in delight, glued to their 60 inch HD screens.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 07/17/10 - 05:08 pm
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Gpap...I'll take YOUR post to

Gpap...I'll take YOUR post to be like most liberals....."do as we say......freedom be damned!"

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 07/17/10 - 05:09 pm
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How many people have been

How many people have been forced to fight in MMA competition? Just asking.

GGpap
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GGpap 07/17/10 - 05:19 pm
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TheFederalist, your post on

TheFederalist, your post on 5:47 PM lists NOTHING I have discussed on this thread. My sole purpose was to state my opinion of the openly sanctioned violence and brutality that appears to have polluted our society for too many years.

My only criticism of GWB here would be to chastise his shift from an honorable and just pursuit of Bin Laden in retaliation for 9-11 in order to wage an unjust war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq for reasons proven to have been false long ago.

America (and Americans) should attack only when we have been violently attacked; not as with "sports," when an opposing team or individual simple wishes to engage in macho endeavors for the purpose of winning ribbons or trophies.

Finally, your post on 5:47 PM is correct; and as much as I dislike its validity, I must agree with you on this one.

GGpap

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 07/17/10 - 05:26 pm
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GGpap....Our pilots were shot

GGpap....Our pilots were shot at daily when they peacefully patrolled the no fly zone....isn't that a violent attack? You claim we should not have attacked Iraq, but they VIOLENTLY attacked us daily......why is that ok? Now....back on topic.

GGpap
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GGpap 07/17/10 - 05:32 pm
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Tigger the Tiger, as usual,

Tigger the Tiger, as usual, you miss the point in my original post on this thread. The opinion was not based on any participant's having been "forced" to play the games as listed, and that includes our present wars. It was based on the warped support of violence, brutality and savagery that appears to permeate society today. And, while I believe that much of the support for the violence, etc. (if not most) comes from the ranks of conservatives, I'd be among the first to admit that violence, etc. also thrives with the support of many liberals as well. However, the support on these threads seems to be coming predominantly from the conservatives. Nothing for your side to be proud of in my opinion.

GGpap

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 07/17/10 - 05:37 pm
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GGpap....as usual, you dodge

GGpap....as usual, you dodge the issue at hand. I didn't miss anything.

But you DID Americans should only attack after they've been attacked...then you condemned Bush's attack of Iraq.....after we were attacked.........why is that?

By the way....your very freedom was secured by violence. You should be thankful.

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