Ontario's National Post comes out in support MMA.
Let UFC in
Published: Monday, March 29, 2010
The martial arts competitive sport Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) sees competitors, trained in disparate martial arts styles, compete with each other to determine which fighter -- and by extension which combat technique -- is superior. The once-struggling competition has turned itself into a runaway hit, now boasting the usual bevy of product tie-ins: video games, DVDs, action figures and the like.
But you won't see a UFC bout in the province of Ontario any time soon. Despite considerable public demand and obvious interest from the UFC, Premier Dalton Mc-Guinty has avoided giving provincial approval for UFC events to take place in Ontario. He has not denied permission explicitly, but has instead, in his own words, "tapped out" of the controversy, refusing to make any decision at all.
We understand the Premier's apparent distaste for the sport. Mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, such as those performed by the UFC's athletes, are brutal affairs. Unlike the fiction of World Wrestling Entertainment events, or the ritualized combat of boxers, UFC matches are drawn out slugfests, veritable testaments to violence. A John Hopkins University School of Medicine study revealed that a full 40% of the matches resulted in injury.
Equally if not more disturbing is the bloodlust often shown by the sport's most vociferous supporters who delight in every landed, punishing blow. UFC events typically pack sportsbars with raucous crowds eager to see human beings beat each other senseless.
That said, it is not the role of the provincial (or any other) government to stand in the way of consenting adults who would like to watch such a sporting event.
Despite what we might think of UFC, if a private company wishes to stage an event in Ontario, which includes renting a venue, securing a liquor licence and hiring private security, they should be able to do so without being strung along by government officials. Let UFC in and let Ontarians decide for themselves whether this a sport they wish to support.