Battlepanda: A gentle plea for caged fights


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A gentle plea for caged fights

Majikthise is disgusted by them. The New York Times tut-tuts. But is Ultimate Fighting just misunderstood? Did you know that nobody has ever died from sanctioned mixed martial-arts matches while boxers die every year? Did you know that the cage that makes the fight seem so apocalyptic actually prevents deadly whiplash injuries by supporting the head? Did you know that fighting bareknuckle actually discourages repeated hits to the skull since the uncushioned knuckles tend to get broken before brain damage occurs?

Ultimate fighting is not just less barbaric than boxing. It seem like a much more interesting sport too. Don't tell me you've never wondered what will happen if you pit a tiny kung-fu master against a monster fridge-type linebacker. What's more important? Power or technique? What kind of technique is superior? Mixed martial-arts fights allows a tantalizing hint of the answer. In general, boxers, Karate and Tae Kwon Do masters gets their butts kicked by ju-jitsu and kickboxing practitioners. Wrestlers do OK, but have to pick up kickboxing moves to survive. Big mean brawlers gets floored fast while real street fighters are in their element. Sumo Wrestlers need not apply.

I mean, it's not something I'd go all the way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to see. But damn you, John McCain, for keeping it from my cable.

UPDATED: After reading a few comments, it became clear that a line has to be drawn between Ultimate Fighting Championship and other sanctioned mixed martial art events like Pride, and the kind of backyard wrestling type involvement of rank amateurs that the Times article was talking about. People do get killed during those. Then again, they would if they climbed into the ring with a boxer. All the more reason to keep Ultimate Fighting in the open and respectable because more dumbass amateur fights is a trend that happened as Ultimate Fighting was cut off from legitimate venues like pay-per-view cable.