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The Fight to be Able to Fight

by on June 9, 2011

I wouldn’t bother to watch a mixed martial arts fight that was being staged in my basement. I’d ignore the hubbub even if an open bar and free buffet were involved.

Nobody would ever deny that those who enter the ring are seriously tough bastards. But I don’t see anything but a parade of leg locks and one victory-hungry gentleman crouching while swinging at a poor prone man’s skull with both fists.

Still, my indifference shouldn’t mean that fans ought to be deprived of the chance to see their favorites try to induce pain and submission. I’ll never appreciate the contests no matter how often aficionados explain to me what obscure technique is enabling one man to bend his foe’s spine like a pickle spear. Yet those fans should have every right to enjoy the backbone manipulation.

Sadly, those in New York have to cross a border to see it live. Hopes of finally seeing the end of the fighting prohibition were quashed in general by the state government and in particular by one power-hungry twerp who doesn’t like it when the state’s residents have fun or do anything else (h/t Gerard Perry):

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of the octagon: it seemed like the page was about to turn for Mixed Martial Arts aficionados—after a long struggle to get their beloved, bloody sport legalized in New York, the MMA bill was overwhelmingly approved by the Assembly Tourism Committee this week. But the bill was then unceremoniously bodyslammed by none other than the heavyweight champion of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver. “There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation,” he told the News.

Silver would apologize for standing in the way of the right to enjoy watching or partaking in athletics. But he’s spent decades establishing that he’s not sorry for depriving anyone of anything. His contempt presumably extends to the state senators who voted to legalize the caged conflict.

Some lawmakers don’t want potentially dangerous octagon-based struggles taking place on state soil. But it’s not as if permitted sports are as safe as NERF toys.

For example, Clint Malarchuk, Richard Zednik, and Kevin Everett all sustained frighteningly brutal injuries during the course of professional sporting events held in Buffalo. Even aside from catastrophic distress, innumerable competitors at various levels have suffered from participation-based debilitation. Will the Assembly try to ban other sports next? Don’t give them ideas.

And New Yorkers don’t only face hazards from sweat-based games. Life is full of chances for peril. People take risks every time they drive, operate a toaster, or play a Wii game, among one million other human activities.

The harm rate for those who face a musclebound bad dude may be higher than that for those who slice a tomato. But it shouldn’t be the state’s business to set the bar for which voluntary behaviors are tolerable.

The acceptable level of potential mayhem one is willing to face in any venue is up to the individual. Or at least it should be. But things are different in New York, if “different” means “a constant pain in the ass.”

The hassles are ubiquitous. This state’s lawmakers can’t let people keep a high percentage of their own money for fear they’d spend it incorrectly. The government also doles out a ridiculously large amount of entitlements under the assumption that people can’t address their own needs or find their own charities. And they have to regulate every aspect of existence so poor dunces never injure themselves or try to start businesses.

The clashes in question aren’t for everyone. Your mom might not want you to become an artist in the mixed martial school; she would likely disapprove of you getting clobbered in the noggin. But Albany is once again attempting to supplant parents and coddle every resident through adulthood.

Thanks to Sheldon and his similarly miserable adherents, MMA fans will continue to have to enjoy their sport in person elsewhere. They can try any of the 90 percent of states that allow the bouts to occur.

Of course, they’ll take their money with them out of New York. It wouldn’t be the first time. By continuing to forbid officiated and monitored grappling, our representatives have once again kneed freedom in the face.

  1. Will the Assembly try to ban other sports next?

    It wouldn’t surprise me.

    …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…

    Bob Reilly Speaks on MMA

  2. It’s not that legislators are interested in ‘protecting’ people from MMA. What’s really going on is that they’re protecting the NY state boxing commission. MMA will spell the death knell for boxing, and the commission and its politically-connected cronies doesn’t want to see MMA contests in NY.

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