Ontario, Canada was the last Canadian hold out from the fast-growing sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). That all changed when Dalton McGuinty finally decided to sanction MMA in the seemingly extremely marketable province.
McGuinty had been a long time hold out, refusing to bring MMA to Ontario on numerous occassions. He finally caved in and has sanctioned the sport in Ontario, Canada. This is going to cause an uproar in that city. You are going to have people divided. There will be the morality preachers claiming that MMA is “human cockfighting” (thanks, Senator McCain) and then there will be those who believe it is an individual’s personal choice to enter a cage and fight an opponent for 15 or 25 minutes–if they want to fight for our entertainment, why not watch?
There’s so much more to MMA than the outer shell that is so negatively portrayed by the media. I remember reading an article the other day on HuffingtonPost about a murder committed by a one-time mixed martial artist. The fact of the matter is that the man in question, Jason Sindelar, has had one professional fight. Is it even necessary to report that he was once a mixed martial artist when he’s been in one professional bout? It’s reports like this that try to keep MMA hidden in the deep shadows of the macabre and taboo.
From personal experience, it’s usually the people who have never immersed themselves in the sport who are quick to make these judgments. Who are you to say that someone can’t do what they love? How would you like it if someone told you what you do for a living isn’t acceptable? These men pour blood, sweat and tears to better themselves physically and mentally in hopes of pleasing a crowd of roaring admirers.
Another article I read posted on NOWToronto.com likened MMA to the Michael Vick situation of years past…you know, the dog fights? How degrading is it that some people are comparing these hardworking individuals to tortured, forced to fight canines? The latter references how people frowned upon the profits Vick made from his dog fights and how Ontario’s “liberal agenda” is hypocritical for seeking profits from human fights. Let’s get something straight: humans cannot be, will never be and have never been dogs. Yes, it may be shocking, but they are totally different species. A dog can’t consent to a fight; whereas, a human can give his or her verbal commitment. This argument needs to be laid to rest because it is irrelevant when trying to compare animals and humans in combat sport situations.
The naysayers should rethink the possible economic boom the UFC could bring to Ontario, and rejoice in the fact that Canada birthed one of the most popular fighters in UFC history in Georges St. Pierre, better known as GSP. The UFC proves with every event, especially those with the Canadian native, that it can bring massive revenues to the hosting state, city, country, etc. At $50 USD for a PPV buy and outrageous prices for arena seating, the UFC is a ticking time bomb of cash waiting to explode. According to nationalpost.com when Vancouver hosted a UFC event at General Motors Place, it sold out in 30 minutes. Also, in the 2008 title bout between St. Pierre and Matt Serra, the North American audience viewing set an attendance record at over 21,000 fans; and then, a year later, a Montreal audience broke that record–letting the world know it’s no secret that enough Canadians love the UFC.
The most intriguing aspect of this new sanction is Dana White’s desire to bring an event to Rogers Centre, the home of the Blue Jays and 50,000 seats. This would mark another moment of epic history for the UFC, and not to mention a nice chunk of change for the province of Ontario.
What it truly comes down to is hatred for what one doesn’t truly understand. It’s clear that combat and contact sports can lead to serious brain injuries, resulting in death; but we have to remember that it is one’s personal choice to pursue their own goals at their own costs. Boxing and football have given the world living proof of the high risk of eventual death from repeated hits to the head, also known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It’s the good ol’ double standard.
This isn’t the UFC of old. This isn’t Royce Gracie pulling on Kimo’s hair, hitting him in the groin, and punching his spine. We have entered the MMA revolution in the form of the UFC. Specific sanctions have been put in place to keep away from serious, life-threatening injuries.
Liberal Premier McGuinty was smart to jump on the MMA bandwagon. He was sitting back and watching the rest of Canada benfit from the UFC’s massive revenues. He reflected and decided it was time to bring the UFC to Ontario. Maybe Ontario can sit back and relax when it sees the UFC fill up their 50,000 seat arena as cash rains in the form of a tremendous downpour–flooding wallets everywhere.