Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- With the breakout success of The Ultimate Fighter on cable television, the sport of mixed martial arts is starting to get a lot more respect in mainstream media outlets.

The most prominent recent example of this would have to be Forrest Griffin's appearance on "Fox & Friends" in the build-up to UFC 53 last week, in which Griffin was treated just like any other superstar athlete. Shortly after UFC 53, Fox News followed up on Forrest Griffin by writing a news story in which it said that MMA had "arrived as a serious sport," as opposed to the normal mainstream media misconceptions and lies about MMA.

Sadly, some people are still stuck in an outdated, ill-informed mentality about the sport, as evidenced by a recent Boston Herald editorial that said MMA is "on the outer fringes of decency." I would respect that as a valid opinion that someone could have if it were based on fact, but the brief Herald editorial was riddled with blatant factual errors all over the place.

Though the Boston Herald editorial did not have a byline, a previous anti-MMA article in the same newspaper was written by Dave Wedge, a "journalist" whose sterling reputation includes getting sued for libel after he went around telling people that a Superior Court Judge had said that a rape victim should "get over it," to use Wedge's words.

The judge never said that, Wedge was found to have committed libel and slander, and the Boston Herald was forced to pay a whopping $2.1 million to the court for the slander that it printed. The fact that all of this happened and yet Wedge is still working for the Boston Herald does tend to make it less surprising that there would be fraudulent, blantantly false things written in the same newspaper about another topic, in this case mixed martial arts.

I wrote a brief letter to the editors of the Boston Herald, but I have to tip my hat to fellow MMA journalist Jake Rossen for truly hitting the nail on the head with his letter to the editors of the Boston Herald. Here is the letter that Rossen wrote:

"Your unsigned op-ed piece of 6/5, 'Local Opinion on Vile Fights,' was as brutally fraudulent and ignorantly conceived as any I've read.

You make the assertion that MMA is 'not a sport' while neglecting to acknowledge that the Nevada State Athletic Commission - as conservative and influential a board as any in the combat sports arena - gave its blessing in 2001. In the four years since, not one single serious injury - much less death - has been recorded.

Your juvenile hyperbole doesn't seem to extend to hockey or even high school football, sports that result in far greater injuries on a regular basis. Save the 'human cockfighting' drama for boxing, where one can actually witness a man's death if you stick around long enough. Or your Boston Bruins, where two toothless men throwing off their gloves and sloppily brawling drives a crowd into a frenzy.

The most disturbing passage comes when you make mention of Illinois banning these events because 'a 30-year-old woman died in an amateur extreme fighting event in Florida.' How woefully ill-researched and flat-out wrong. The woman you are referring to, Stacy Young, died in a Toughman boxing event, not an MMA match. Toughman events are responsible for thirteen deaths since 1979 due to insufficient medical supervision and rank amateur fighters flaying around. That's a far cry from the Olympic Medalists that compete in MMA under the watchful eye of licensed physicians and trained referees. I expect a retraction. I doubt I'll get it.

As a community, you're welcome to excise any activity you deem inappropriate. But don't do it under false pretenses, and don't condemn those who have dedicated their lives to this sport simply because you have only a superficial, ill-informed understanding of it.

No wonder there's no byline."

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