Mixed Martial Arts: A Controversial New Breed of Sport
"In its December 6, 2006 profile on Ultimate Fighting, USA Today writer Marco della Cava states, ‘Football and baseball may be American pastimes, but for a high-tech generation weaned on immediacy, such sporadic action doesn't compare with UFC's short and definitive flurries of violence’" (Dallas-Based Fight Company Enters the Cage).
According to an editorial in Market Wire, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), commonly recognized as cage fighting, is the fastest growing "Sports Entertainment business in the world" (Dallas-Based Fight Company Enters the Cage). However with the recent success of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the world’s largest and most highly recognizable MMA organization, a past dilemma has reemerged once again.
Opponents of mixed martial arts deem the combat sport as being immoral, and go against the principles that are considered part of the"American way of life." The sport has been called “barbaric,” and labeled as “human cockfighting.” Adversaries also question the sport’s integrity, as it requires two opponents to enter a ring or cage with the intention of hurting or injuring one another. Further arguments against the sport are that striking a downed opponent is “un-American.”- John McCain (Silverman). Supporters of MMA strongly disagree with these allegations.
One such supporter, John McCarthy, a UFC referee, emphasizes that fighters in mixed martial arts do not fight to inflict pain on one another, but rather they fight for the sake of competition (Inside the UFC). He states that the fighters he has talked to about the issue say that “when they fight, it is all about the sport, and that it is more an issue of dominance, like a game of chess, rather than one of inflicting pain on another human being” (Inside the UFC). In this element, McCarthy believes the ethics of mixed martial arts are identical as those of other widely accepted sports, such as football or hockey, where inflicting pain on the competition is merely a part of the sport, not the ends of competing.
Since the sport of mixed martial arts was first introduced to the United States in 1993, it has been the subject of much heated political debate. The opponents of mixed martial arts have leveled numerous arguments against the sport, and under the leadership of Arizona Senator John McCain, they even succeeded in forcing the sport from national pay-per-view carriers, and convinced several states to ban the sport (Silverman). The four-year forced hiatus that the sport experienced from 1997 until 2001 was a direct result of the political onslaught headed by Senator John McCain (Silverman). Though on the surface, this event may look to be a terrible set of circumstances for the sport of mixed martial arts, but in reality this hiatus allowed the sport to almost totally reinvent itself.
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