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Bill O'Reilly Takes on the UFC
FOX News pundit Bill O'Reilly faced off against UFC President Dana White and Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin in a discussion about the legalization of mixed martial arts Wednesday evening.
The discussion was plagued with unclear argumentation, particularly from White and O'Reilly, which resulted in both sides thinking they were right and at-home viewers struggling to find the accurate side to take.
O'Reilly, who constantly mentioned boxing's role in Muhammad Ali's Parkinson's Disease, argued that MMA was even worse since kicking and other offensive manuevers were allowed. He cited a British study that MMA fights cause 48 concussions per thousand, while boxing bouts only cause nineteen per thousand. He also wondered, assuming the money was not vast, what the motivation for fighting could be.
White stuck to the talking point that "no serious injuries or deaths" have ever resulted from UFC competition. He began to address the strategy differences that make boxing more dangerous than MMA, but he never fully accomplished that goal and kept throwing out his main talking point. He also contested O'Reilly's claim that boxing played a role in Ali's Parkinson's.
Franklin argued that professional MMA has evolved into a safe sport due to regulation and rules changes, and it's one that allows him to fulfill his dream of being a professional athlete while remaining in good shape. While he did acknowledge that there are some risks associated with MMA competition, he does not feel unsafe, and finds his new job far more rewarding than his days as a high school teacher.