Get into mixed martial arts

To the editor:


Normally you’ll see me write about movies, music, TV, theater and literature, but that ain’t what I want to talk about today. You may not have guessed it, but I’m actually a huge MMA fan (that’s mixed-martial arts for the uninitiated). I’ve never written any sports opinion pieces before, so I’m just going to rattle off a few takes I have on my favorite athletic spectacle.

UFC 249 was awesome, and people should get more invested in the promotion. Not only was it the first sports event held in quite some time because of the pandemic, it also provided one of the best cards in recent memory. Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik saw Ngannou KO the 247-pound kickboxer in 20 seconds. It was vicious in all the best ways. Henry “Triple C” Cejudo delivered a convincing retirement speech after dispatching Dominick Cruz late in round 2. Justin Gaethje threw devastating punches to Tony Ferguson’s face for four-and-a-half rounds, but El Cucuy just wouldn’t go down. After one heavy hand left Tony shaken, referee Herb Dean called a stop to the match, and Gaethje was crowned the new interim lightweight champ.

But, it’s all way too expensive. Sixty-five bucks for a sporting event?! Yes, this is relatively cheap compared to boxing cards, which are often only one fight and cost like $100. Still, if this wasn’t a corona-riddled world, I could see three concerts for the price of one UFC card.

No crowds are the way to go. I was a wrestler in high school, not a very good one, but a wrestler nonetheless. It’s one of the most necessary combat styles in MMA. However, unless you’re Quinten “Rampage” Jackson delivering a powerbomb slam, the discipline is sometimes regarded as too boring. Well, as UFC 249 showed us, when you don’t have a crowd of screaming fans you can actually hear the wrestling going on in the cage. You pick up on every shot, slam and position change. You hear the exhaustion of fighters as someone performs perfect grappling. And for the more sensational stuff, yes, punches and kicks are like gunshots with an empty arena.

Conor McGregor is jerk. He’s 31 years old and still getting into trouble. He sucker-punched an old man because he didn’t want to try McGregor’s lackluster Proper 12 whiskey. He also allegedly sexually assaulted two women, and other than his ambiguous “Time will tell all” comment, the dude has been eerily silent on the matter.

Boxing is just as if not more violent than MMA. Sure, MMA allows everything boxing has along with kicks, elbows and punches to downed opponents, but it also allows grappling, submissions and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, disciplines that often disable your opponents without inflicting a lot of damage. Boxing’s sweet science relies on punches to the head, kidneys and liver. For a long time and even still, MMA was given the moniker of “human cockfighting.” It only became legal in New York in 2016. Like aristocrats and pistol dueling, boxing received this faux elegance and was the more respected sport.

Griffin Kelly

Pearl River


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