The furore over footage / news articles circulating about the British children whom were involved in a grappling match inside a cage needs to be put into perspective.
As a fan of MMA, I was deeply disappointed that the match happened in the first place and knew that images and video of it would be used as propaganda pieces and sensationalist reporting by those who don't understand MMA.
However: context is everything. Professional soldiers might not think pictures from a warzone are much to talk about, but the public could.
Our experience and knowledge of MMA does not mitigate the fact that, without such knowledge, the *appearance* of the sport can easily be that of wanton brutality to those whom view it in passing. This is likely what happened when Joe Public saw those images of the kids grappling.
MMA is still very much in its early years and yearns for mainstream acceptance but, when issues such as these come up, fans far too quickly call foul on the very media they want covering the sport.
Rather than getting up in arms about how media reported on the matter, we should be putting our best foot forward to educate people about the true nature of the sport.
If all we can do is cat-call and decry the media, we may only succeed in reinforcing the larger perception of "cage fighters" and their fans as bloodthirsty, insensitive louts.
[Sidebar: why do you think that the long-standing "Gladiator Intro" was the first thing that Fox had the UFC axe from their broadcast package as part of their partnership?]
Mainstream media don't know the difference between grappling in a cage and an all-out, five round 'war'. Are they fighting? Yes. In a cage? Yes. So will they call it cage fighting? Bet your ass they will. Also, the term "mixed martial arts" makes less sense to a broad readership than "cage fighting" - not to mention that it is less emotive.
I've been involved in and with press and PR long enough to know their trigger points and this story pretty much tripped all of them. Not that it makes it *right*, but that's an issue with mainstream jounalism as a whole - not one that affects MMA alone.
If you don't like how biased Outlet X was in reporting on this matter, you can bet that their editorial opinions colour their reporting of everything else.
The desire for MMA to become more "mainstream" comes with the price that they will scrutinize all aspects of it and will sharply focus on the good, bad and ugly alike.
Just think what will happen once investigative journalists from the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times and other respected publications turn their keen eye to the sport we love.
Any skeletons in closets will be unearthed and stories may surface that make this one seem like minuscule ripples on a pond. I have a feeling more than a few will be unearthed that will shock even 'hardcore' fans.
In closing: stop crying foul on how mainstream media work and do what you can to educate whomever you can on the true nature of our sport without resorting to mud-slinging or woe-is-me rants. Only positive actions will enable positive changes.