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“Someone is going to die”

Steve Cofield has a new little game: track down the stuffy sports reporter dude the big regional newspaper sends to cover UFC and see how ignorant they come off in their articles on the event. He pre-selected the Oregonian’s John Canzano on Friday as journo most likely to write a hack article on MMA and boy was he right:

Someone is going to die in the Octagon someday. We’re headed straight there, and anyone who saw the damaging blows to the brains on Saturday, including UFC head Dana White, can’t ever say they didn’t see it coming.

I’d say that the state athletic commission needs to stop worrying about entertainment dollars and start putting the safety of the fighter first. And that the UFC referees need to be quicker to stop fights. And that the gloves of the fighters should have more padding.

But I also think doing any of these things would hurt its popularity with the people who paid to watch on television or bought tickets to be inside the Rose Garden.

Well, Canzano is right: someone will eventually die in the octagon. But a good 40+ people die every year skiing, with a good number of those being kids. Thus far since MMA emerged as a sport we’ve only had two (or three, depending on if you count sketchy fights in Korea) deaths. And hey, do I even have to mention the stupidity of more glove padding as a protective measure? It’s exactly that kind of thing which INCREASES the chance of injury and brain trauma to an opponent.

MMA is an extremely visceral sport and that’s part of it’s appeal. But in the end for all the blood on the canvas and knockouts, serious injuries are rare. And that’s how we like it. If dudes were leaving the cage with career ending injuries on a regular basis (something that happens in other sports often, not so much in MMA strangely enough), then I’d be right next to Canzano saying this shit is too violent. But as it stands, MMA’s safety record stands for itself, and guys like Canzano need to start seeing these things as two competitors matching skills rather than some violent meanie hurting some victim.