Lou Neglia responds to Meryl Streep

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Watching the Emmy Awards, I’ll admit I was totally caught off guard by Meryl Streep’s award acceptance speech. There is always a time and place to voice your political views and I feel the Emmys is not one of them. Her calling Mixed Martial Arts “not an art” was stupid and an incorrect statement from someone I always viewed as a talented actress.

By now, a good percentage of the United States knows what MMA is and stands for. It’s also obvious that Streep is not in that percentage. So why take a shot at something you don’t know? That is childish in itself. Mixed Martial Arts is just that – a combination of fighting and self-defense arts such as wrestling, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu and boxing from many different cultures all around the world.

Let’s take boxing for instance. Also known as the sweet science, boxing allows practitioners to judge their opponent’s distance and find the perfect balance of timing to find the right moment to strike. It is something to see when Floyd Mayweather evades punches in bunches all the while standing in the pocket of his opponent. Or how about watching Conor McGregor timing his opponent and closing the distance before he fires his piston left hand. To not call these combat sport athletes artist is just plain stupid.

Having lived most of my life in the world of combat sports, I took great offense to Streep’s comments. No one tunes into the Emmys to hear politics. Unless asked their political views, actors should stick to what they do best and that is portraying someone they are not.

In closing, I turned off the broadcast as soon as she was done and most likely won’t watch another one of her films.

Author Louis Neglia has been involved with martial arts for over 50 years. He took up kickboxing as a young teen, eventually amassing a remarkable 34-2 fight record. The fighter opened the Louis Neglia Martial Arts Academy in 1973 in his hometown and began teaching mixed martial arts before the term “MMA” was actually coined. He retired from professional fighting in 1985 and readily made the transition to promoting fights. Neglia began promoting by putting on local kickboxing shows in NY; however, it was not until he crossed the Hudson River that his true legacy would begin. The first professional Ring of Combat event was held at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, NJ; the ROC is the longest running sanctioned MMA promotion in the country. It the American Idol of MMA – a breeding ground for up and coming fighters. In December of 2012 he won the much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the NJ MMA and Muay Thai Awards.

Image courtesy of Brendan Ormsby Photography