Combat Sports: A Time To Reflect.

Written by on April 8, 2020

Combat Sports is in a very strange place right now. Its very essence is being challenged as it is forced to sit back and do nothing so that it may have a globally desired health impact, not just for the sport, the athletes and its fans but for their family members and loved ones too.

Not only is combat sports being battered inside the proverbial ring; the PAYE nature of professional sport means that for the most part, no-one gets paid if no-one fights, while in the amateur space, record building has come to a standstill. For the likes of Boxing, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo and Wrestling, the showcasing of these sports on the grandest of all stages will have to wait a while longer as the 2020 Olympics has now been postponed until 2021. 

If that was not enough, Combat Sports is also being pummelled outside of the ring, especially when one considers the disgraceful antics of the likes of Jon Jones, Billy Joe Saunders, Scott Fitzgerald and Dana White.

Jon Jones continues to baffle his fan-base as he flip-flops between helping others while at the same time displaying an inability to help himself and in so doing strengthening calls for him to be stripped of his UFC title.

Staying with the notion ofleaving one bare of their glittering accessories, both Billy Joe Saunders and Scott Fitzgerald have again focused the spotlight on domestic violence following on their respective actions. These are professional fighters (title holders) who make a living through educated violence and are (were) idolised by children and yet all that has currently happened is that they have had their licenses suspended in the UK by the BBBofC but not a sound from the WBO!

Then we get to Mr. Dana White………

Dana White has a history of lashing out at anyone who doesn’t agree with him so a comment, where he calls media “the wimpiest people on earth” should not come as a surprise to anyone. Just think back to June 2016 when the UFC (read Dana White) banned Ariel Helwani ahead of UFC 199. The ban was meant to be for “as long as I am here”, referring to Dana White’s tenure as the head of the organization and the chief reason given by White for the ban of Helwani was that he was “too negative”! Something that ESPN clearly saw when they took on Helwani to spear-head their MMA coverage of the UFC!!!!

Fast forward to the present day and “the wimpy media” reporting their justified displeasure at the UFC’s late decision to cancel events due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic and on the UFC’s “do whatever it takes” attitude to ensure that UFC 249 does not get scrapped. This is not petulant behaviour on the part of the UFC, it is disgraceful, it’s abhorrently selfish and borders on criminality!

Yes, I said it……putting people’s health in jeopardy so that you can honour your contractual obligations is about as close to committing a crime without pulling the trigger yourself! Consider the fact that people have been arrested and charged with terrorism in the US for licking shelves and products in stores, consider the fact that Brazilian Governor Ibaneis Roche banned all large gatherings/events with more that 100 people and still UFC Brazil took place, consider the fact that there was no COVID-19 testing at all at that UFC event in Brazil and then consider that the UFC is still willing to fly people around the world, to “somewhere” and then onto an undisclosed island just so that they can again put on an event in an empty stadium……this is not about the sport or the fans, it is about filling their pockets! If you still think I am being sensationalist or over-reacting then ask yourself this; is the UFC correct in wanting to host events at any cost or is every other sporting code around the world, from football to chess, perhaps just being a bunch of wimps!?

Speaking to current fighters here in South Africa, fighters that are also clearly wimps for having put title aspirations on hold out of a deep-seated concerned at the state of things both here and around the world. As much as they depend on these fights for their income, the one thing that is more important – above their own health – is the health of their loved ones, a sentiment shared widely by others including the likes of Bob Arum, Joe Rogan and UFC Heavyweight, Derrick Lewis.

Finally, it takes a very special kind of person/organisation to want to earn points in a crisis where doctors and nurses are literally dying in their attempts to help others. Why then would Brave Combat Federation want to be known as the “first mixed martial arts organisation in the world to launch an international campaign to raise awareness and halt the spread of COVID-19”? Surely there are other firsts that would have been more appropriate, like donating masks, donating respirators or maybe, just maybe be the first to successfully host an event in EFC’s back-yard! Who comes up with this shit!? 

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