Even the most diehard defender of all tings MMA will tell you that it’s become increasingly difficult to overlook the disturbing relationship (for lack of a better term) between those who compete in the sport professionally and domestic violence. It’s not that domestic violence isn’t a saddeningly regular occurrence across the board in professional sports, it’s that most sports don’t train their athletes to become trained killing machines in addition to hulking physical specimens, and as such, hearing of the atrocities that guys like Travis Browne, Anthony Johnson, and Thiago Silva have been linked to tends to perpetuate the stereotype about the sport and its fans tenfold.
So when it was announced that HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel would be airing a feature-length investigation into “domestic violence in MMA” centering around War Machine’s abuse of Christy Mack, our reaction here at Castle CagePotato went something like this…
Which was then followed by this…
Because despite its increasing popularity and fancy apparel deals, MMA is very much still struggling to gain mainstream acceptance as a “legitimate” sport, so the idea that an audience as large as HBO’s would be given a window into the sport through one of its most despicable figures is a sickening prospect to say the least.
Of course, this recently released preview of the special, in which Christy Mack details the night War Machine nearly beat her and her friend to death, is quite possibly the only thing more sickening.
Ugh. There is just no way that our sport comes out looking even remotely good after this, is there?
But then again, maybe this special will serve as the intervention that MMA has long needed regarding its fighters and violence outside of the cage. One needs to look no further than the UFC’s treatment of the Thiago Silva situation (or the Anthony Johnson situation, or the Jeremy Stephens one…) to see that a higher system of accountability needs to be established regarding domestic violence not just in MMA, but in all sports. In short, we are providing wingnut organizations like the Culinary Union with all the ammo they need to continue their war against MMA through sheer inconsistency and stupidity, and HBO is about to lay bare those inconsistencies for the world to see.
Real Sports debuts Tuesday, July 21 at 10pm ET on HBO. The official description for the episode is as follows.
Outside of the Cage. Last summer, just as news of Baltimore running back Ray Rice’s violent assault on his fiancée in a hotel elevator was about to make headlines, a far more brutal domestic violence attack involving a pro athlete had just taken place. But the beating that nearly killed former adult film star Christy Mack, allegedly at the hands of the MMA welterweight known as War Machine, flew largely under the radar.
High-profile sports like football and boxing, the father of all fight sports, have long dealt with athletes’ domestic violence toward women. But the newly minted American combat sport Mixed Martial Arts, which showcases the world’s most violent athletes, has largely escaped mainstream scrutiny of its fighters’ conduct. REAL SPORTS correspondent David Scott investigates domestic violence among pro MMA fighters and efforts by MMA organizations to address it, and talks to Christy Mack, who for the first time tells the harrowing story of what she says was an abusive relationship with a trained professional fighter and the assault that nearly took her life.
We now go to former CP managing editor, Ben Goldstein, for an official reaction…