Thursday, 23 June 2011

Fight fans baying for blood... actually not!

To start off with today, I've got an admission I'd like to make... I'm a big fan of mixed martial arts.

For those of you who are unaware of what this is, it's the sport that puts two competitors in either a ring or a cage, bringing together elements of such disparate arts as boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

This is a sport which is frequently denigrated, being likened in places to 'human cockfighting', with many legislators working hard to ban it in their jurisdictions.

Now make no mistake, fights can be brutal. Like any generalisation however, this does not tell the full story. I have no doubt some fighters and fans come to it with this mindset, however listening to the majority of fighters talk about their backgrounds, interests and training demonstrates that for them, this is something more. This is their chance to make a living out of what they love, providing them with the opportunity to test their skills in the ultimate proving ground. This is something that appears easily ignored, particularly in jurisdictions which restrict or ban events such as NY in the US, or Victoria in Australia.

What I would like to discuss here though is the fans watching the fights.There is a frequently held perception that MMA fans are bloodthirsty individuals who use it to fuel their rage, before running amok on the streets.

As I said at the start, I'm a big MMA fan, and I have many friends who are too. Speaking for myself, as a somewhat educated, relatively well-spoken member of the community, (who has never personally been in a fight), for me they are about two guys climbing into the cage for the ultimate physical confrontation. No one to help them, nowhere to hide. Each off them will stand or fall on their preparedness, game plan, training and commitment.

My friends and I, can and do appreciate the technical ability of the fighters. We want to see exciting fights, but that does not automatically equate to a bloodbath!

The point I'm making here is that, as can be seen in so many other places, generalisations are both silly and dangerous. You cannot assume negative behaviour, based on your dislike for, or disapproval of something. In the same way, people with positive attitudes towards something are often willing to ignore or dismiss negative behaviours, viewing them as aberrations (to be explored in more detail in a future post). In the end, what I'm trying to say is as much as possible, judge people and situations on their merits rather that pre-assigning them negative characteristics.

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