Mixed martial arts

Government’s Ongoing Effort to Shutter Mixed Martial Arts

How federal, state, and local authorities have tried, and failed, to shut down MMA.

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Contributing Editor Kerry Howley is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her first book, Thrown (Sarabande), follows the lives of two professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters over the course of several years. Here Howley lists three ways that state authorities have tried, and failed, to shut down the sport:

  1. By refusing permission: Throughout the '90s, shows were effectively banned when local athletic commissions refused to regulate them. Promoters jumped state to state to avoid being shut down. It was, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship co-creator Bob Meyrowitz, "like being in a traveling circus."
  2. By switching off the TV: In 1997, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who apparently prefers his violence state-sponsored, used his sway as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee to pressure cable television to refuse to air the events.
  3. By telling stories: Politicians regularly claimed that mixed martial arts involved no rules and thus no referee. McCain called it "human cockfighting." Rudy Giuliani called it "disgusting," "horrible," and "brutalizing." Both men are avowed fans of boxing, which evidence suggests is more conducive to brain injury. Years later, public attention has turned to the bodily damage caused by a kind of brutal display no politician would dare oppose: all-American football.

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22 responses to “Government’s Ongoing Effort to Shutter Mixed Martial Arts

  1. Does KH have tenure? If so, good job!

    1. No tenure. Just tenure-track. Still…pretty awesome, right?

    2. Any prefix on “professor” usually means not tenured.

      1. Not true. Associate (as opposed to assistant) and distinguished are often tenured, for instance.

  2. By switching off the TV: In 1997, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who apparently prefers his violence state-sponsored, used his sway as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee to pressure cable television to refuse to air the events.

    McCain is such an insufferable prick. That he has maintained a leadership position in the GOP and been the Presidential nominee of the party is ridiculous. Every time that assclown opens his mouth, it just reaffirms that there is basically no distinction between the two major political parties. The whole system is corrupt. I’m sure the video gamers and the millennials will come to embrace the libertarian moment, and dismantle this whole shitty system.

    1. Every time that assclown opens his mouth, it just reaffirms that there is basically no distinction between the two major political parties.

      What are you talking about? There’s a HUGE difference! Republicans want to outlaw abortion! See? HUGE difference!

    2. Wishful thinking, man.

    3. As a gamer, a millennial, and a female, I can tell you that there is hope.

      I have at least a few friends who are also beginning to see the light.

      1. and a female

        Shhh, no one scare her away.

        1. You mean like you guys scared Lucy away?!

          1. DON’T TALK ABOUT LUCY

        2. [tip-toes out of thread]

          1. I hope to write a pornographic story about her adventures or something.

            1. Well, I spend about $3000 on BC, so in this instance I guess art really does imitate life.

              /heavy-sarc

              1. But in your defense, they really are quite large pills. Like pre-natal vitamin size.

                1. Well that’s disturbingly accurate.

  3. There’s a huge fan base, so not sure why these politicians see fit to tell every fan “sorry, I know better than you, and I don’t like it, so you can’t have it”.

    I’m not an MMA fan, and I dislike most MMA fans I see. HOwever – if people (whether 3 people, or millions) want MMA, and there are other people (fighters, promoters, etc.) willing to provide it – then State should not interfere in it’s availability. That’s a clear moral, ethical line to me.

  4. One of the fighters was Erik Koch?

    1. ^sadly, his nickname is not “The Monacle”

  5. More Kerry Howley is always better.

  6. They’ve succeeded 🙁 MMA (UFC anyway) used to be uncensored, almost-anything-goes, no-weight-class awesomeness. Now it’s been watered down so much boxing’s better.

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