I am disgusted. Seriously...stomach churning, bile in the back of my throat, veins bulging in my forehead furiously disgusted.
Last night a boxer named Oscar Diaz was hospitalized and is in critical condition. Emergency surgery was required to try to relieve the swelling and bleeding on his brain. There is still a very real chance that 25 year old Oscar Diaz could die from last nights tragic events.
Yet, this is not what has me so upset. Obviously it is a horrible situation and I had trouble sleeping after witnessing it. But no, what has me upset is that it seems like the majority of the MMA community treating this like some sort of victory for our sport. Are we hoping that boxers die now? Is it "good for the cause?"
I've seen a flood of "See! MMA is so much less dangerous than boxing!" type comments on message boards, blogs and even this very site. Despite whatever truth there may be to the safety debate it needs to be realized that this is a human life. A man with friends and a family. There is no win here for boxing or MMA. There is no good that can come out of this other than hopefully a focus on the responsibilities of cornermen in regards to their fighter's safety. Oh yeah, and hopefully Oscar Diaz can recover and enjoy a full life with the people he loves...that would be pretty good too.
And is anyone really ignorant enough to think that a tragedy in boxing is going to suddenly make those focused on the dangers of MMA while lauding the history of boxing see the light? I'm sure these people are also thrilled when Sam Vasquez is used as an example of "See! What brutality in this sport!" We were lucky that regardless of the actual circumstances of that case that it wasn't thrust into the bright lights of the mainstream media and held there every time MMA was brought up by major news sources.
At some point it is our responsibility to treat combat sports as combat sports. A tragedy in boxing is a tragedy in MMA. People are used to boxing, this is why they think MMA is more brutal. A death in boxing does not make MMA safer in the eyes of anyone who has already made up their mind. If anything it will only make them see MMA as more dangerous. After all, if people are ending up in the hospital because of the timeless sport of boxing what is going to happen in this brutal sport of cage fighting (THEY KICK EACH OTHER IN THE HEAD!)?
And just one more dose of the reality of this situation from Dan Rafael's latest update piece:
"They had to remove the left side of his cranium in order to help the swelling go down, which apparently was very bad," Katz said. "He had a subdural hematoma [bleeding on the brain], which was taken care of. During surgery, he apparently showed movement in his arms and his brain pressure was very good, according to the doctor."
Tragedy is tragedy. What happened to Oscar Diaz was not a win for the sport of MMA, and it very well may end up being a loss for all of combat sports.