Marcus Davis, fighting on Bellator card in Maine - photo by Russ Dillingham
Our good friend, "Sambo" Steve Koepher's battle to legalize MMA in New York is well known around both here, and the NY statehouse. NY is among the last holdouts to legalize and sanction the sport of Mixed Martial Arts for the protection of competitors.
But what about states where it's already currently legal? Think the battle's already over?
Think again. Certain groups, the religious right among them, are working to push the sport back underground. The Bangor Daily News recently published an OpEd by a gentleman named Fritz Spencer, who invokes religion in an effort to ban the sport in the state of Maine.
Choice bits from the piece include the ridiculous, but tried-and-true "human cockfighting" comparison, and an even more ridiculous justification involving the danger of people gathering in large crowds:
We would do well to reflect on the fact that the worst theater disaster in history was a stadium collapse in a small town north of Rome. The eager spectators had come to see the pain and death of the gladiatorial contests, not knowing that they would soon be delivered over to the same fate. Reliable accounts put the number of those who perished at over 20,000.
You can read the piece for yourself here, or you can not spend the rest of your day hoping this guy runs out of gas in a bad part of town. Perhaps his appeals against violence will work on a guy who wants to kick his ass for the contents of his pockets.
St. Augustine relates that upon his first visit to the gladiatorial games, he pressed his eyes shut for fear of what he might see. But as the roar of the crowd grew louder, he opened his eyes little by little, and in a short while he was caught up in the spectacle. It is an instructive account, because it tells us that man by nature is repulsed by the sight of cruelty, and must learn to tolerate it gradually, much like a boy who is sickened by his first cigarette, but goes for another, then another, until he is addicted.
The truth is, Mr. Spencer, that Human beings are inherently violent. We live in a violent world, that only recently has been made into a place where people can "grow old together in a pleasant home, or to trim the roses quietly in a summer garden". For the other tens of thousands of years of Human history, we've been fighting tooth, nail, and spear, to stay alive. Expressing our violent nature in a healthy, consensual manner is absolutely essential for preventing that nature to be expressed in an unhealthy, anti-social, and destructive manner.
Of course, you wouldn't know anything about this. You follow a creed that's all about suppressing natural urges, including another essential part of human nature - sexuality - and then you wonder why your clergy are expressing it in socially destructive and illegal ways, against those who can't even consent to such forms of "full contact".