(At first, I chose this image because I couldn’t think of anything appropriate to use for this piece. Now, I’m not sure there’s anything more appropriate. Via The Boston Jam.)
From visa issues to Chael Sonnen’s struggles to obtain a therapeutic use exemption for TRT, it feels like almost anything that could inconvenience the UFC’s return to Boston for UFC on Fox Sports 1:1 has. So I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising to see that just weeks before the event, an anti-MMA activist is doing his part to bring as much negative publicity to the sport as possible. What is surprising, though, is that this isn’t necessarily just another instance of “crazy person says something stupid about MMA.”
Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy – backed by “Parents Say No to UFC” – has filed a resolution that aims to ban minors from attending MMA fights. Before we go any further, two things are important to point out. Number one, obviously Parents Say No to UFC is run by the Culinary Union. Number two, this bill has no chance of becoming a law before the August 17th fight card, so don’t sell that ticket you bought for your son (or daughter!) yet.
So why is Murphy so opposed to allowing minors to watch MMA? His reasoning is pretty much the same mixture of cognitive dissonance and “Think of the goddamn children!” that you’d expect from a person who is likely being paid to be offended by a combat sport. Via BostonMagazine.com:
According to Murphy, fighters from the UFC, which is the professional level of the mixed-martial arts sport, have joked about rape, used foul and abusive language that’s demeaning to women, and used homophobic slurs, all of which, he said, set a bad example for Boston’s youth. He said the sport uses alcohol sponsors to fund the fights, which adds to the negative image that can be imposed on children.
Do I use this space to make a “I guess Boston’s athletic scene has enough real rapists and murderers” comment, point out the fact that all four of the city’s major professional sports teams are sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, or do I just point out how ridiculous the concept of expecting a person to automatically be a great children’s role model because he/she is good at a sport is? I’ll pick the second option, because arguing that a professional sports league being sponsored by an alcoholic beverage company corrupts our children in ways that other professional sports leagues sponsored by alcoholic beverage companies aren’t requires such an advanced level of bullshitting that I admire anyone sleazy enough to do it with a straight face.
But Murphy isn’t alone in making generic arguments against letting the children of Boston watch MMA. We also have a plain old vanilla “violent entertainment ruins children’s minds” argument:
Diane Levin, a professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College, backed Murphy’s resolution, and “strongly urged” that the City Council pass it.
“Because of how children think, they are especially vulnerable to learning the harmful lessons that directly witnessing entertainment violence can teach—about how people treat each other, about the role of violence in society, that violence is fun and exciting with few consequences, and that grownups glorify and value it,” Levin said. “Everyone who cares about the wellbeing of children and the wider society should call for a ban on children attending Live Cage Fighting events.”
And an appearance from the Culinary Union themselves:
An advocacy group comprised of parents, doctors, and professors are also supporting Murphy’s efforts, and have started a petition and website sponsored by national movements like the National Organization for Women, the Boston Women’s Fund, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment.
The group, known as “Parents Say No to UFC,” supplemented their campaign message and petition page with a video that shows gruesome shots from various professional fights, including bloody contenders punching each other in the head repeatedly.
Based on all of these super logical, totally original arguments against MMA, do you think that the sport is in any kind of real danger in Boston? Or is this just another minor inconvenience surrounding a card that has been full of them?