I recently connected my Facebook account with this blog, resulting in a bit more exposure. Though this is still not a hugely popular blog, with recent reads and Twitter mentions/messages by Ryan Couture, Thiago Tavares, and others in the mixed martial arts (“MMA”) industry, its traffic is increasing. As a result, I’ve received a couple of comments from people that think MMA is barbaric and dangerous. With respect to the danger, I’m currently working on an update to an article demonstrating just how safe MMA is relative to other sports, let alone ordinary activities. That article will take a while, as it requires a tremendous amount of research. In the mean time, I’m going to cover the accusation of barbarism here.

KO

Last weekend at UFC 129, Vladimir Matyushenko earned a quick victory over Jason Brilz via technical knockout. Matyushenko hit Brilz with an upper cut, added a forearm shot for good measure, and then rained down some hammerfists to his helpless opponent. Referee Dan Miragliotta was forced to stop the match at on 20 seconds, and Brilz was not happy with that stop. Although no one in my viewing group seemed to need it, the replay showed clearly that Brilz was no longer defending himself, so it was a good stop. Whether or not Brilz accepts that at this point is unknown. What is known is the following:

Click here: Sportsmanship

That’s Matyushenko and Brilz backstage after the fight. They don’t seem to hate each other, do they? Why would they? This is a job to them; it’s not personal. Anyone who’s ever laced up the gloves, put on a gi, or stepped into the ring, even as an amateur or casual trainee, has done so with the intent to beat up their opponent, but whether your focus is becoming a better professional, providing security from criminal attacks, or just getting into better shape, the overwhelming majority of martial arts practitioners are doing so to better themselves. Accordingly, you view your “opponent” in a positive light as someone there to help you get better. For that reason, you have respect, not hatred, for your opponent. Even in the professional context where your opponent is standing in the way of your meal ticket, the respect remains because you know your opponent deserves it, and because that’s the culture we’ve fostered as martial artists. While there are certainly idiots out there that train or compete simply to hurt people, they’re weeded out rather quickly, though sometimes it takes public humiliation to do it.

Johnny

Moreover, competitive martial arts, especially at the professional level, cause an evolution of the martial arts, making it easier for us to achieve those rather noble goals, and the world is a better place for it. Not liking the sport is perfectly acceptable; calling the sport barbaric is the very epitome of ignorance. If you still don’t see that, you probably just don’t want to see it and are remaining willfully blind to its value. That’s fine of course, but I’d much rather have a beer with Matyushenko or Brilz than with you. I don’t hear them bad-mouthing anyone.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Ryan Couture on Twitter @RyanDCouture
Follow Thiago Tavares on Twitter @TavaresMMA
Follow the UFC on Twitter @UFC
Follow Vladimir Matyushenko on Twitter @vladthejanitor
Follow Jason Brilz on Twitter @JasonBrilz
Follow William Zabka on Twitter @WilliamZabka (unconfirmed account)

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