What an uneducated fool
In early March, the state Senate approved the legalization of professional Mixed Martial Arts bouts here, caving to lobbyists for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Let’s hope the Assembly refuses to go along: MMA is a brutal and barbaric pseudo-sport, the modern equivalent of Roman gladiatorial combat, with an audience screaming and howling at every blow and drop of blood.
Channel-surf on any night and you’re likely to come across an MMA fight, with all its kicking, punching and choking associated. I had the misfortune several years ago of briefly viewing a station carrying a match. In the 30 seconds I watched, I saw a fighter’s forehead split open with a gaping, bloody wound that extended from his scalp to his eyebrow. That was enough to convince me that this “sport” has no place in my life, and should have no place in any civilized society.
At least two professional MMA fighters have died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring/cage.
Today’s steroid-driven athletes are bigger, stronger and more dangerous than ever before. The human body can’t absorb the blows delivered by 6-foot-5, 250-pound hockey player or a 6-foot-7, 340-pound defensive tackle without suffering severe trauma. That’s why so much has been written about concussions and head trauma among former NHL and NFL players.
But in MMA, the whole objective is to pound, kick or choke an opponent into unconsciousness.
How can we teach our children that gratuitous violence has no place in society, when every day they are bombarded with violence — with the most brutal contestants lauded as victors and heroes? Evidently, the Republican Conference in the state Senate has the answer: It supports legalization because New York can make money off this misery.
According to a self-serving study cited by the UFC, a MMA event in New York City would employ 300 people and produce $11.5 million in net economic activity. In the view of the Senate Republicans, we should sell our communal soul to the devil and debase our culture for this 30 pieces of silver.
Depictions of violence are commonplace and glorified in America. Yet “experts” and pundits profess it a mystery as to why our children and so many adults resort to violence to solve their everyday grievances, frustrations and problems.
Well, it’s not a mystery to me. From rap music to violent movies to MMA beatings, one message is clear: Brutality is acceptable, especially if it is profitable.
And it has all desensitized many citizens, especially youngsters, to the horror of actual violent crime.
After more than 30 years as a prosecutor, I strive to avoid violence at every turn. I’ve too often seen the horror and damage wrought by guns, knives, bludgeons, fists and feet. It is the “real life” extension of the brutality seen in MMA contests, where fighters risk life and limb with little financial guarantee except for a “per fight” payment.
Although I’m no longer a prosecutor, I still see the faces of victims who were killed or seriously injured by senseless violence. So please forgive me if I’m not entertained by the sight of two human beings battering each other into unconsciousness — all to support a business whose revenues are close to half a billion dollars.
The senators who voted to legalize MMA have voted to degrade our society. Maintaining core cultural values and high moral standards is less important to them than a $5,000 campaign contribution and a few tax dollars.
I pray that the Assembly does the right thing and relegates this legislation to the scrap heap where it belongs. If not, I hope Gov. Cuomo has the moral sense to veto it.