New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly made an appearance on Larry Pepe’s ProMMA Now radio show yesterday and the adamant MMA opposer finally gave a glimpse into the cause of his deep-rooted hatred of the sport.
It turns out the ancient stammering curmudgeon is a boxing fan from way back and he’s upset that MMA is eclipsing boxing in popularity.
Here’s what he had to say about his love of the sweet science (as transcribed by FightOpinion):
“I grew up being a boxing fan, alright? Muhammad Ali… in fact I go back to Rocky Marciano, but all of our great fighters…and I enjoyed it and thought it was a great sport, but today I don’t think professional boxing, as opposed to amateur boxing, professional boxing I don’t think would be legalized in many states today because of the danger to the fighters. So, I just dismiss that argument of ’safer than boxing.’ One, I don’t, you know, boxing has a much longer history, there are many more boxing matches than there are MMA matches. And it’s something, as I say and this is not entirely facetious, more people are killed fishing than in boxing, so let’s eliminate fishing. Well, no. What we do is we put in safety measures. For example, in New York state, we have rules where in certain boats you have to wear a life preserver.”
And in MMA we have stringent medical testing requirements, padded gloves, rules, ringside physicians, referees, athletic commissions and the options to tap out or to throw in the towel when a corner feels a fighter has had enough. What more do we need to do? This close-minded prick wouldn’t know a rational argument if it bit him in his ignorant, wrinkled, jaundiced ass.
Seriously. This is one of the law-making representatives of New York?
He went on to tell Pepe that because there have been way more boxing bouts in the history of the multiverse, to say that the sport is more dangerous based on statistics, which take that factor into account is stupid.
“Well, first of all and I want to not be, um… too contentious when I say this, but step back and look at the rationale. To say, ‘Well, 10 people a year are killed in boxing and not that many are killed in mixed martial arts, therefore we should sanction mixed martial arts.’ It’s just a horrible, irrational argument. Now, on looking at this sport for the last three years and having the idea of boxing come up, come up many times as ‘it’s less dangerous than boxing’ which I don’t agree with and I have studies that show that.”
First off, the crux of the argument that MMA should be legalized has nothing to do with how less deadly it is than boxing; the argument that the sport is too dangerous and brutal to legalize, however, does. And Reilly pretty much gave up his right to say someone’s argument is horrible and irrational when he compared the MMA vs. boxing argument to fishing vs. boxing.
To top it all off, he uses the only death in “regulated” MMA in the past ten years as ammunition for his argument that the sport has no place in modern society. The asshole even memorized the name of the fighter from North Carolina who died last year to hammer home his point, whatever it was.
“Well, first off, there’s many [reasons why I oppose MMA], you know, Larry as you can I think understand I’ve heard all the pros and cons of Mixed Martial Arts, including you know ‘I just don’t understand.’ I do understand, I just disagree with the advocates on many points and one I hear many times, ‘well, the rules have changed.’ Well, the rules have changed or rules have been instituted, but the rules are not sufficient for the protection of the fighters or for the, um, welfare of our society as far as its violence in the sport and I would only point out how Michael Kirkham was killed recently in South Carolina on the old ground ‘n pound move where he was knocked to the ground, lay on his back, the other fighter came and proceeded to pound him in the head. That is not safer than boxing — another irrational, I believe, um… advocation for mixed martial arts, but that is obviously a very dangerous move. But when a man or woman can take another man or woman, grab them by the head, and knee them in the head, when you can jump on somebody from a standing position as they lie on the ground and pound them in the head when their head is against the floor or the mat, um… this is brutality and danger beyond what’s acceptable. So I don’t find, in some way, I don’t find the rules acceptable today.”
So because of a death that occurred at one poorly sanctioned back woods event, Reilly is arguing that *proper* regulation is not something that needs to happen in New York. Makes sense, considering all of the underground shows that happen in the state on a regular basis that could end in tragedy on his watch.
Pepe, astutely brings up the well documented statistic that football accounts for many more serious injuries every year and that combined with boxing, make up the majority of all sports related injuries in the U.S. year after year. Of course Reilly had an answer for that point as well, which did little to address the issue and somehow detoured into a discussion on amateur boxing.
“Well, first of all, you’re mixing two things entirely here, all right? Your boxing argument has a good degree of validity. Your football argument, I think, has none because the purpose in Mixed Martial Arts or Ultimate Fighting is to aggressively damage your opponent, according to the rules, all right? The Unified Rules. The five judging criteria in the Unified Rules, one is aggression..and one is the striking force of the blows, correct? But boxing has completely different rules for amateur and for professional and in amateur fighting, boxing, the cleanness of the blow but not the force of the blow is what is given points. So, it’s entirely different.”
Except nobody is talking amateur boxing or MMA. We’re talking about the fact that the amount of damaging blows a boxer takes in a bout greatly outnumbers those that their MMA fighting counterparts absorb in a fight. I feel like I’m arguing with my two year old.