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Archive for May, 2007

There has been a recent flurry of news and commentaries on the eve of the much anticipated fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floy Mayweather Jr. Add to it the controversy of Mayweather’s $1 mil challenge against UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, and you have an interesting situation. Now, take that, and add the deafening silence of Mayweather with regards of UFC’s president Dana White counter-challenge (which included a $2mil counter offer to fight the current UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk). What you get, in my opinion, is two things:

One, it’s an opportunity to see the true Mayweather, a man who talks the talk but it’s unwilling to back it up. Real men throw challenges that they mean to back it up, independently of the risks, both financial and physical. Weasels, on the other hand, they talk without ever having the intention to back it up. Weasels make noise just to raise their ratings. It will make sense from a business perspective, but being a weasel does not a man make.

The second thing to observe is the apparent lack of three-digit IQs in a large sample of the population who thinks UFC (or Mixed Martial Arts in general) are a freak show, inferior to boxing… or even worse, who go to great lenghts to throw insults to Mixed Martial Arts practitioners.

I’m not going to discuss the stupidity of such thinking, that is of whether a boxer, however good, can defeat using boxing alone a kickboxer, judoka, wrestler or MMA fighter. It is stupid. This is as intelligent as trying to demonstrate a pound of lead weighs more than a pound of cotton.

I will take issue, however, to this article recently published in the cbs website, written by Mike Freeman.

http://cbs.sportsline.com/columns/story/10162545/1

Now, let’s take a look at this quote alone (text of interest in bold):

De La Hoya and Mayweather can single-handedly save their sport from deteriorating into dust while simultaneously stopping the advance of the UFC barbarians at the gate, trying to destroy boxing by polluting pay-per-view with their brand of low-brow, ghetto-fabulous hooliganism.

This is it. This is when boxing emerges from its great depression riding the shoulders of De La Hoya and finally strikes a blow to the caged ignorance that is mixed martial arts.

Mixed martial arts will never be as good as boxing on its worst day. Many of the ultimates are nothing but thugs and ruffians.

Look very carefully at the very last sentence – Many of the ultimates are nothing but thugs and ruffians.  Thugs and ruffians.

Really? Thugs and ruffians. I am going to bypass any discussion on the technicalities and intricancies of what it takes to master kickboxing in its many variations, wrestling (be it folkstyle, greco-roman, judo or sambo), grappling (predominantly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), and the many variations and phases that go from one end to the other.

I will ignore the fact that many of these so called ruffians and thugs are former collegiate wrestlers or competitors of olympic-caliber. Instead, I’m going to focus in their ruffian, thugish background.

Let’s take a look at some of these thugs and ruffians:

Chuck Liddell – current UFC light heavyweight champion

Rich Franklin – former UFC middleweight champion

  • has a master’s degree in Education and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati

Josh Koscheck – UFC welterweight division

  • former collegiate wrestler from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
  • 2001 NCAA Division Champion in the 174lbs class
  • holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Edinboro University

Carlos Newton – former UFC Welterweight champion

  • fluent speaker of Japanese
  • a former linguistics student at Toronto’s York University
  • in the later stages of his pre-med studies in geriatric medicine at Baycrest Hospital

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon – UFC Lightweight division

  • holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • currently works as a network administrator
  • currently in “The Ultimate Fighter 5”, and does not plan to become a full-time fighter unless he gets a title shot

These are just a few. I don’t know. You tell me. It seems to me these individuals have a good education, certainly not the characteristic of a thug or ruffian. Though it is certain that there are thugs and ruffians in this sport, that it is always the case in any human endeavour.

Had Mr. Freeman done his homework, as any writer or reported worth a prune would, he would/should know men with an education, good social standing and a collegiate athletic background are the norm in MMA, not the exception.

Now, let’s take a look at boxing. Actually, let’s take a look at Floy Mayweather Jr.

  • has a bachelor’s degree in… ooops, he doesn’t have an education
  • a man with a collegiate athletic background in… ooops, none there either
  • a man who everyones admires for his eloquency, humility, class and… ooops, my mistake again
  • a man who tells his kid to tell a sparring partner (who comes to help Mayweather train) that “his daddy is going to kick his ass”
  • a man who bloodies his training partners, the very same people who come to help him prepare, and takes pride in doing so
  • a man, who on national television throws money to the left and to the right in his house, to show how much money he has (and then ask some loser to go pick it up) – what a sad spectacle

Should I go on? Who’s the ruffian here? Who is the thug? Is this one sad antisocial person one of the men who’s going to save boxing from the ignorant, classless, thugish bunch of ruffians that make up the MMA world?

Pot. Kettle. Black.

If there is going to be a criticism of the sports, at least make it an educated one, taking into account the different disciplines (many of them olympic) that make up the MMA arsenal. 

And if you are going to make an argument about the very nature of these sportmen, don’t you think you  could use an insult that doesn’t describe the very man who’s going to save boxing?

Maybe I’m thinking too much. Actually I’m just thinking, an activity Mr. Freeman and the likes of him seem to be unfamiliar with.

Yes, yes, I know. The article has an agenda, and Mr. Freeman and his likes already had their minds made. One could expect, at the very least, that they likes of them would make a far more intelligent argument.

But then again, intelligence and class are not general traits. Which is why we must support bacteria. It is the only type of culture some people have.

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