Well, I need not tell you that as a person who MMA Announcer Mauro Ranallo said, “Has more degrees than a thermometer” that I get asked all the time, “What in the world are you doing fighting in the cage?”
Then the next statement is, “It just seems so violent. So barbaric!”
This statement and line of questioning occurred with such frequency that I really had to sit down and ask myself…. “Is MMA Barbaric?”
I really didn’t bother with having a discussion concerning violence because let’s face it….
Hockey is violent…
Football is violent…
Rugby is violent…
Boxing is violent…
Judo is violent…
By definition many sports are VIOLENT. Hell, war is VIOLENT.
Now there are varying degrees of violence but, they are all violent or they have the propensity towards violence at some point due the the nature of the said sport.
But the question is…. “Is MMA or Cagefighting Barbaric?”
Well if you do a quick search on the internet you will read how former United States Presidential Candidate and Senator John McCain calls the sport “barbaric” and similar to “human cock fighting.”
You will even read how one of the sports stars and practitioners, Chael Sonnen, calls the sport of MMA “barbaric.”
I know right now you are saying to yourself, “So What!?!?” But here’s what’s WHAT!
By definition, the word barbaric means, according to Webster:
a: of, relating to, or characteristic of barbarians
b: possessing or characteristic of a cultural level more complex than primitive savagery but less sophisticated than advanced civilization
a: marked by a lack of restraint: wild
b: having a bizarre, primitive, or unsophisticated quality
Now, by definition MMA is NOT barbaric!
MMA IS VIOLENT.
MMA IS DANGEROUS.
BUT IS IT BARBARIC?
There is an ELEMENT or hint of barbarism in it? YES! (but that IS only due to the lack of training of the practitioner if such lack of experience and understanding exists)…
BUT BY DEFINITION, it is NOT barbaric!!!
But Dr. Ferguson, How
Can You Say That?!?!
- Well, the same way NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson can tell you that driving at 180 miles per hour is the norm while it is extremely dangerous and stupid to some people to drive a car that fast knowing that an accident at such speeds can cause death.
- Well, the same way I can watch a football game and watch somebody get hit and knocked unconscious and reach my right hand back into the bowl of chips and dip, slap my boy a high five with my left hand and utter, “that’s part of the sport. Don’t run across the middle next time on a zone defense. Sit down in the zone!”
- Well, the same way I can watch 12 rounds of boxing with the anticipation for someone to receive brain trauma. (uhhhh, because you DO UNDERSTAND that getting knocked out is trauma to THE BRAIN!!!!! Not your head, YOUR FREAKING BRAIN!!!
And it is not BARBARIC to those with a trained eye.
Just as War is not barbaric.
Because the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is VERY VERY COMPLEX.
As is the sport of football. As is war, if you care to study military science as I do and have because war is an ART (please see Sun Tzu if you don’t believe me).
It is more complex than primitive savagery and sophisticated just as advanced as civilization. You CANNOT win or be successful or practice this sport if you lack restraint. And as a matter of fact, this sport INVOKES restraint in its practitioners.
And the QUALITY of sophistication is only readily available and in PLAIN view to the trained eye.
If you were watching the game of chess and you didn’t know how to play. You wouldn’t know if moves of the practitioners were “sophisticated” or not, but because you are familiar with the game of “chess” you would assume a high level of sophistication.
Well, for those who are NOT familiar with MMA, they make an assumption that there is not a high level of sophistication with the sport and they couldn’t be further from the truth. The science of MMA is just as “sweet” as boxing and although the sport is violent by nature, as is boxing, it is VERY FAR from being barbaric.
And those who call it barbaric are either one of two things:
(1) One, not familiar with the definition or the term barbaric, or
(2) Two, not qualified to speak on the sport with any hint or sense of authority.
Having an opinion is one thing…… HAVING AN INFORMED OPINION is another.
To understand Mixed Martial Arts you have to study it. You DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT to understand it. But to understand it you MUST study it. You cannot look at it for a split second and make your mind up about a sport that you bring an inherent or learned bias to its observation. You cannot do that. Nor can you speak amongst a group of people who believe in your thesis statement without any quality discourse. Such at thing is stupid and ignorant.
Mixed Martial Arts is definitely a sophisticated sport.
I do it. And I’m no academic slouch.
Rosi Sexton does it and she holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and quite honestly, Rosi is one of my heroes in the sport and it something that I look up to and really admire.
I do believe that she is the FIRST person to fight with a Ph.D. and I believe I’m the first male, in terms of fighting on television.
And she is SUPER SUPER smart because she has her kid practicing judo:-)
UFC Jeff Monson does it and he holds a Masters Degree in Psychology.
Veteran MMA Fighter Dustin Denes did it and he holds a Masters Degree in Psychology as well.
Former UFC Champion Rich Franklin has a Masters Degree in Education.
You see, in order for your sport to be Barbaric, it must be practiced by Barbarians!!!
This is why as Mixed Martial Arts practitioners and enthusiasts we DO NOT USE the term “cage fighting”. We use the term “Mixed Martial Artist.” Because as a student of the “Fine Arts” of which “Martial Arts” come from, you cannot be BARBARIC in the attempt to acquire mastery.
As violent as the Art of War maybe…… IT IS STILL AN ART!!
Trust me…. “I’m a DOCTOR!”