It seemed like everyone was on a high following the UFC’s latest effort Down Under. Mark Hunt and Antonio “Big Foot” Silva produced an instant classic in front of a sold out Brisbane crowd – receiving immeasurable plaudits from the MMA community. But not everyone was impressed by (arguably) the greatest heavyweight fight in UFC history.
Phil Rothfield of The Daily Telegraph was less than impressed.
Rothfield covered the event for The Daily Telegraph and had some biting words about the sport and the show that he had seen. “SINCE when is kicking, elbowing, kneeing, punching and stomping an opponent classified as sport?” he remarked with obvious distaste.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
He proceeded to go on a tirade of almost John McCain proportions (circa 1990’s). And while it can be debated whether the comments made by McCain in the UFC’s “dark-ages” were justifiable or not – it’s inconceivable that any mixed martial arts fan could even take Rothfield seriously in this instance.
His lack of understanding of the sport is evident when he refers to the sport as the UFC – and not MMA. A telltale sign that his knowledge of the sport is extremely limited; and it’s precisely why his arguments are virtually worthless.
However, there is a particular argument that I find wholeheartedly entertaining.
“If you really want to make yourself sick, Google ‘UFC worst injuries,’ he writes. “The images are seriously disgusting and raise the question: why aren’t the fighters at least made to wear headgear?”
It’s such an entertaining statement on a number of levels. The term worst injuries are just that – they are the worst injuries that have ever happened inside the octagon. The results will hardly shock mixed martial arts fans – but to the average person (the non-MMA viewer) that images may be alarming in the context they are shown. However, the injuries are mostly superficial cuts and sporadic broken limbs that heal with some time.
But where I find my enjoyment of this statement, which is supposed to pray on the uneducated (uneducated in the field of combat sports), is when you plug out UFC and replace it with another variable. Because that’s all the UFC is in this case – a variable.
If I wanted to attack soccer, a sport that isn’t known for its violence, I could use the exact same argument in this article. ‘Googling’ soccer will offer similar injuries, like broken bones (many of them), and other superficial wounds; but it will illustrate fatalities, something that we all can agree is much worse than a broken arm.
Rothfield ensured his piece was as blunt and insensitive as imaginable with his final remark when he proudly insulted every athlete who competes in our sport by unequivocally affirming that the sport requires little to no skill – but just violence.
“The injury risks they face in rugby league and all the footy codes.” He wrote. “At least their sport involves a large degree of skill – and it’s not just a contest to ¬violently bash another person into submission.”