Posted at 1:34 PM on March 19, 2008 by Michael Marchio (2 Comments)
So by now, everyone's probably come across mixed-martial arts. That's the technical term for Ultimate Fighting Championships, the sport that basically revolves around two dudes in a cage beating the living daylights out of each other using various martial arts styles, like kickboxing and kung-fu. Last year, the state voted to have any match conducted in the state be subject to regulation by the Minnesota Boxing Commission.
Some participants were unhappy about the extra supervision, but they may be having the last laugh, because it looks like the name of the Minnesota Boxing Commission is changing to Minnesota Combative Sports Commission, out of deference to them.
HF3913, sponsored by Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmount) would, besides changing the name, requires "combatants" to pass tests for Hepatitis B, C, and HIV, in addition to last year's requirement that they become licensed, and allow for MCSC board doctors to require a medical examination after a combatant's injury before returning to fight again.
Call me sentimental, but this seems like a symbolic changing of the guard, from the generation that followed boxing - grandparents, mostly - to the one that follows Ultimate Fighting - their grandkids.
Its too bad that Ultimate Fighting, at least so far, hasn't inspired the same great writing that boxing has. There may be a Mailer, Remnick, or Hemingway out there somewhere, though, that just hasn't made it big yet.
Today was the last day before lawmakers go on Easter break, so I'll be handing out some kudos at this session midpoint tomorrow for some of the big point-earning bills, teams, and lawmakers.
Perhaps Ultimate could inspire the same quality of literature that boxing has if so much of it didn't look like slap-and-kick contests between overweight, untalented "fighters" who couldn't last three rounds against a skilled practitioner of the sweet science. I'd agree there are many skilled athletes in Ultimate these days; so why does one see so little of them and so much of the other? With the fistic arts in their current parlous state, why isn't there more promotion of those real Ultimate stars who could take the sport to the next level? Could it possibly be because too many current Ultimate fans actually want to see something more like a drunken bar brawl/pro "wrestling" without the theatrics than a legitimate test of ability, courage and virtue? If I were Commissioner of Ultimate the first thing I'd do would be to add two rules: no hitting a down fighter; no holding and hitting.
Posted by Doug Gray | March 20, 2008 12:06 PM
I hear you, Doug. While I'm sure what the Ultimate fighers do takes skill, not to mention toughness, whenever I've seen it on television, it just looks like two guys in headlocks or wrestling pins on the floor of the arena. I suppose the end result - somebody getting beat into submission - isn't any different than boxing, it just doesn't look like a very graceful beating. And I think you're right about the wrestling thing, it seems like kids and teens who watched wrestling graduated into watching Ultimate Fighting instead of boxing. The sweet science has indeed seen better days.
Posted by Michael Marchio | March 20, 2008 3:39 PM