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MMA or mixed martial arts has become arguably the most popular combat sport on the planet. With some of its stars even rivalling those of its close cousin boxing. Many people still ask, how is MMA even legal?
While MMA can appear from the outside to be simply legally sanctioned ultra-violence inside a cage. It is, in fact, an extremely high-level combat sport with lower fatalities and longer-term damage than several other combat sports.
While those from the outside sometimes do see lots of blood. Along with little four-ounce gloves and bone on bone kicks to the head and body. MMA has statistically fewer deaths and fewer traumatic head injuries than some other combat sports which have been around much longer.
So if we take those facts into account, what someone may ask instead is, how are combat sports legal? Because if you believe MMA is the pinnacle of legalized violence. And it is verifiably safer than several other combat sports. Then it makes sense to ask why are those others also legal?
A Short History Of Combat Sports
A short answer to this would be that combat sports have been with humanity for thousands of years. From the earliest forms of wrestling in ancient Greece. Followed by the first recorded instances of striking in the form of boxing, humans have always felt the urge to compete.
These hand to hand forms of combat were often far more brutal, routinely ending in the death of an opponent. And this would continue for many centuries, even right up until the 1800s. Until many combat sports would implement rule sets to guard the safety of combatants.
These changes then led to the sanctioning and legalization of many forms of combat and their eventual classifications as sports. So today what we see in regards to combat sports, whether that is MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai or many others.
Is an inevitable evolution from fights without rules to regulated matches which involve referees, as well as judges and scoring systems. So that the winner of the bout is not simply the last man standing.
The difference today is that fights now have a predetermined number of rounds. A fighter’s health is fully checked before they are ever allowed to step onto the canvas. As their health and safety are now paramount. Something which was in no way evident in bygone years.
Should MMA Be Banned
You may not like the UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championships. The premier MMA promotion in the world sets the benchmark for others to follow. But the UFC has some of the most stringent rules and regulations in place to protect its fighters.
To date, the promotions have held several thousand fights, with no lives lost while competing for the UFC. And while there have been several deaths in the sport of MMA overall. The UFC has yet to experience a single fatality by any fighter during or after a match.
And with the deaths in MMA, when compared to the sport of boxing. There are significantly more deaths in boxing. As well as recorded instances of fighters receiving life-changing traumatic brain injuries.
While UFC fights can be quite bloody, via the use of kicks, elbows and punches. The use of four-ounce gloves often means that a fighter takes fewer punches to succumb to a knockout blow.
Whereas in boxing, fighters will take multiple repeated blows, which over time leads to the increased risk of permanent damage.
That and the fact that in boxing there is a count to allow the boxer time to recuperate and continue. In MMA the finishes are often very definite and if the referee sees the fighter is in trouble, they will quickly stop the fight. No standing eight count, they will simply wave the fight off.
Why MMA Should Not Be Banned
MMA like other combat sports is an outlet for normal human aggression and a natural desire to compete. Like it or not, fighting is part of human nature and you cannot simply regulate it out of society.
If anything by banning things you simply drive them underground. Where there is no regulation at all and the fighters will be put in far more danger.
You could hope and pray that as a species we perhaps evolve so that we do not need to fight over resources or our feelings. You could try to change the very nature of human beings so we don’t need this archaic outlet to display our emotions or will to win.
It’s a very tall order indeed and something to date which no one has ever been able to achieve. We were designed this way and rather than bottle it up and hope it goes away. The best way to deal with it is to provide the safest possible environment for competitors.
Why Are Fighting Sports Legal
Fighting sports are now legal because each country has a sanctioning body that ensures fighters safety. True some are often quite lacklustre, bordering on dangerous in their approach. But when we take into consideration where we were before and how far we have come today, it’s like night and day.
By making fighting sports like MMA legal, we are ensuring that people can complete in as safe an environment as is humanly possible. Partaking in an activity which we know people will still do whether legal or not! So by legalizing combat sports, what we are doing as a society is protecting people from themselves.
We put in place the necessary safety nets to protect them from their on human nature. Creating a workable and progressively safer environment in which they can compete. Helping to protect lives, while at the same time providing an outlet for our natural instincts.
A more reasonable argument might be why do we glorify violence in other areas of society. Especially in music where violence or the threat of violence is often celebrated. Creating a class of people who try to replicate what they hear music, giving them a very false sense of reality.
Fighting sports will often give people and communities structure. Boxing or MMA gyms offer young people an outlet for their frustrations and something which they can focus their minds on.
It also brings into the realization that talking about violence or the use of force. And actually competing in that type of setting will often dispel and preconceived notions, helping to bring people back down to reality.
MMA and many other combat sports are legal. Because of their stringent set of rules, they have been deemed safe enough for people to compete in a highly controlled environment.
To take away this ability for people to challenge themselves in this way is to go against nature itself. And while we might hope that people could be different. For now, there are no signs of human nature changing anytime soon.
Banning legalized sports would be akin to alcohol prohibition. It simply drives the activity underground and means that all manner of unscrupulous individuals with little if any regard for the life of the fighter will be involved.
Sports drive money and combat sports are amongst the most lucrative in the world. Hand over the reins to those who dwell in the shadows and watch the bodies pile up. Right now things may not be perfect and perhaps never will. But it’s so much better than it was in the past and perhaps will be even better in the future.
Hi, I’m Ross, at 40 years plus, I have been involved in the Martial arts for most of my life. Along with my first pet Collie dog named Tyson, RIP. My journey in the world of Martial Arts is something I want to share. So that others too can learn from my experiences.