Another week, another Joe Brolly article dismissing mixed martial arts… But I believe that this time, he’s slightly correct in what he says.
I wasn’t going to come out with an article demonising Joe Brolly but for some reason he can’t seem to keep his nose out of mixed martial arts these days.
I should clarify that I don’t particularly like Joe Brolly as a pundit. I’m sure he’s a pretty good guy outside of his over the top tirades against various GAA players/managers etc.
I get that he’s a well renowned figure in GAA punditry and has a big following and I’m aware that I’m just a guy with a barely functioning brain after an 8 hour shift typing this on a bus home.
However, I feel that my opinion is as valid as the next guys and of course when someone comes onto my turf to demonise the sport I adore the most, you better believe that I’ll come firing back with something.
That being said…. I agree with Joe Brolly in a way. However, I do believe that dismissing MMA as a whole is incorrect.
Obviously, this debate arose after the aftermath at UFC 229 two weeks ago and Brolly believes that MMA is “an inhumane business that is designed to bring out the worst in us”.
I’m perfectly ok, for Joe Brolly to have an opinion on MMA. A lot of people don’t like it. I understand why and it can be somewhat of an acquired taste. However, I do believe that Mr. Brolly’s issue lies with the UFC more so than mixed martial arts as a whole and I can easily see where he’s getting at.
The UFC are no angels in how they promoted the fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. It’s well documented that the bus incident in New York City back in April was used to sell the contest which left a sour taste in many people’s mouths, including my own, given the severity of the crime.
Do I like Conor McGregor? As a fighter yes. As a self promoter, I used to but I’m slowly getting tired of his shtick but hey, I tune in every time he’s involved in a press conference so more fool me right?
The UFC is the most accessible mixed martial arts promotion on this side of the world and is the leading MMA organisation in the world without a doubt.
Do I agree that they are involved in an “inhumane business” as Joe Brolly puts it?
No, I don’t.
Is the sport “savage”, “brutal” or “barbarbic”?
Savage, no. Barbarbic, no…. Can it be brutal? Sure, in terms of a back and forth bloody battle but this phrase is never projected in a negative light when it comes to boxing but seems to be used as a put down when it comes to mixed martial arts time and time again.
As I’ve alluded to, I don’t believe the UFC are actively modelling their business model on being an inhumane freak show or anything of the sort but I do believe that the new owners WME-IMG, are taking the company in a brand new direction. One, I don’t particularly like for transparency sake.
For those of you who don’t know, a landmark deal was made a few years ago when the Fertitta brothers sold the UFC to an entertainment company for $4 billion. A massive financial deal that obviously, the new buyers wish to recoup in some ways.
With Conor McGregor, they have themselves a ready made star who can stoke the flames and build any fight they make but they do seem to be sacrificing morals for money given how the bus incident was glorified in the various promotion videos for UFC 229.
Criticising the UFC is perfectly ok. Their fights are entertaining sure, but how they decide to promote fights and offer meaningless punishments for wrongdoings, is pretty much where myself and Mr. Brolly meet on the same page.
All that being said, to call for a ban on a sport you don’t like is ludicrous because you see it as this savage ballet that you can’t comprehend or wish to further educate yourself on the rules/disciplines and techniques that go into the sport.
Furthermore, it dismisses all of those coaches at grassroots who take time to coach people, offer them a different way to get fit, compete and promote a very positive culture. A culture that embodies mixed martial arts in and out of competition.
For every Conor McGregor wannabe, there’s about 50 other people who’ll say that MMA saved their life.
Conor McGregor played the fight game well and of course, he is bound to attract some undesirables who will mimic his various one liners but these particular followers are in the minority.
Unfortunately, this vocal minority speak the loudest and the vitriol thrown at Joe Brolly is not something I agree with whatsoever, but people are passionate about this sport and Conor McGregor and the backlash, while over the top, is not nice but expected.
It is surprising though that for somebody who makes a living out of criticising people on RTE that he would think he is somewhat untouchable in his role as a columnist/pundit.
Joe Brolly doesn’t have to watch the UFC or any mixed martial arts event. The choice is entirely in his hands and to throw around hyperbolic statements because you saw something you didn’t like is crass and screams of looking for attention.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to call on TD’s to ban GAA club games. These brawls are getting out of hand and I fear that the Gaelic Athletic Association are “immersed in an inhumane business” of their own.