MMA Weekly has a not all too surprising interview up with Assemblyman Bob Reilly who is a member of the committee who represents the 109th district of New York. Some of the Assemblyman's answers are just plain ignorant and it makes me wonder how can someone like this be responsible for regulating the sport of MMA or denying it's regulation. Here are some choice nuggets from the interview:
Reilly: My feeling about the bill is that it’s a flawed piece of legislation. And my feeling about mixed martial arts is that there are many problems with it. It really is a glorification of brutality and violence. Many people believe that violence in the media, or any portrayal of violence, or violence itself as I think happens in mixed martial arts, in fact, makes people immune to violence and in fact promotes violence.
In New York State, we pass a lot of laws to stop violence, especially among young people in schools, but domestic violence (as well). I think that this basically is a glorification of violence, but it certainly promotes violence. In itself, I think it’s a very brutal sport that creates, obviously, physical harm to the participants, and I don’t think there’s any other sport who’s purpose is to harm your opponent.(note:WHAT?!) But we know that in mixed martial arts, that, in fact, is one of the purposes.
MMA makes us immune to violence. MMA promotes violence. MMA causes cancer and kills little kittens in their sleep. Is the sport of MMA violent? Yes, it can be but let's look at this realistically. The athletes aren't in their to play patty cake with each other. MMA at it's core is a combat sport much like sports such as boxing, kick boxing, muay thai are combat sports. The goal of these combat sports is to obviously inflict damage onto your opponent. The goal is to beat your opponent with whatever means you can in each sport. And according to the Assemblyman no other sport has the goal of harming your opponent. That is just laughable. What really irks me about this Assemblyman's comments is that later he admits to being a boxing fan.
Reilly: And I’ve always been a boxing fan, and grew up admiring people like Rocky Marciano or Sugar Ray Robinson. But I see the brutality of professional boxing now, and the skill of amateur boxing. In amateur boxing, one emphasizes skill, and the other, a much more brutal type of activity, and much more harm to the individual boxers. What I've seen of mixed martial arts, and the way they’ve advocated for it in New York State, tells me that without very careful consideration and regulation, which we’re not prepared to do right now, we would be down the road of the sordid history of boxing, which I think you would have a hard time defending. I still think amateur boxing is a great sport. I’ve always been a fan of all boxing, but if I had my druthers, I would change professional boxing into amateur boxing.
How can you go from condemning one sport for being too violent and then saying in the next breath that you are a big fan of boxing? Granted even the Assemblyman thinks boxing is a tad bit too violent. He even goes as far as to say professional boxing should be more like amateur boxing, head gear and all.
MMAWeekly.com: Is that to say that if mixed martial artists put on headgear, outlawed certain things like elbows on the ground, certain types of techniques, you might be more open to it?
What I also don't understand is how the state of New York is not ready to regulate MMA. Plenty of other states have easily transitioned into regulating MMA and to think that the state of New York is not ready to regulate it is a bit peculiar. It also bothers me that the Assemblyman goes on about the violence of MMA yet time and time again it has been shown that MMA is far safer than boxing
And then there's this. I don't even know what to make of this:
Reilly: For example, I found the commissioner of our state athletic commission, a woman, completely ill informed about the rules. For example, she said, “well, you couldn’t elbow somebody” – I think there’s a famous fight, I’ve never seen it, where some fellow with a cauliflower ear is elbowed in the ear…
MMAWeekly.com: It was a punch to the ear…
Reilly: …and there was puss and blood that goes all over. One of our members had seen that, and I guess it really turns people off
I could go on and on about all the vaginas on boxers faces I've seen opened after boxing matches. Remember the second head Hasim Rahman had after his fight with Evander Holyfield?(Yes I know it was due to a headbutt. Point still stands, I guess). The fight the Assemblyman is reffering to is probably the Kimbo Slice/James Thompson fight at Elite XC: Primetime in which Thompson's enormous cauliflower ear popped after being hit by Kimbo Slice's fist. Was there blood? Of course. Throwing puss into the mix is a bit unfair. Yeah it was gross but it's not like things like that are the norm in an MMA fight. Looking back at the fight there wasn't a large amount of blood coming out of Thompson's burst ear.
I think that the idea that what we're doing is mixing skills is the problem, too. And I think the rule change would be that when you're boxing, you box. When you're wrestling, you wrestle. But there's a reason why when a boxer falls to one knee or two knees, that the other boxer can't come up and hit him in the head. And there's a reason why in wrestling, you can't hold a guy and at the same time whack him. It's for the safety of the participant. You can't do that. You asked me if I could imagine some rule changes that would demonstrate the skill of the various martial arts more clearly, and I would find that acceptable and the answer is yes. But I think the violence level would be greatly reduced, and I don't know if promoters and advocates want to do that.
Sounds like this guy just doesn't like combat sports in general. He may say he's a boxing fan (well, more a fan of point boxing) but I don't buy it. And this is one of the people in charge of accepting or denying regulation of MMA in New York? Sigh...