Some thoughts on censorship in MMA

Some thoughts on censorship in MMA

I’ve been reading a lot of trumped up vitriol and half-hearted outrage from different MMA pundits lately. Everybody seems to be getting huffy about the UFC needing to clean up its act. All of this nauseating foolishness is stemming from Anheuser Busch bitching about a few instances of extreme profanity or bad-taste humor from the organization or its fighters. Dana white’s tirade against female reporter Loretta Hunt is a famous example. Or Joe Rogan’s remarks in a post on the Underground MMA forum against Maggie Hendricks, for which he was forced to issue an apology.

What bothers me: this is a truth issue. Dana White was being as honest as he possibly could about what he felt in his remarks against Loretta Hunt. He really felt that way. Joe Rogan too, he said a woman was being “cunty,” and he meant it. Perhaps they realized their comments were mistakes afterword, but I’m glad that we all got to see the foibles. They’re entertaining.

MMA is a sport about personality. That’s what drives viewership. If you start censoring the fighters or the promoters, you’re going to  lose a great deal of the individuality involved. Dana white expresses himself, sometimes inappropriately, but the fact that he is allowed the freedom to make a faux pas here and there results in a much more honest and entertaining experience.

For clarity’s sake, allow me to be clear: I don’t condone any sort of  foul language against groups of people or individuals. Instead, I acknowledge it when it’s there, and choose to keep it from offending me personally. The way people act in the press and online, you’d think that ability to choose is some kind of super power. Language is all subjective metaphor. It means a certain thing to the person saying it, and it means a similar but ultimately much different thing to those hearing it. How you want to perceive another human being’s words is as much about your intent as it is theirs.

So what is the intent behind the hurtful rape joke’s of Miguel Torres? Is he trying to encourage the forcible sexual assault of your wives, sisters, and daughters? Meh. I’m not so sure about that one. Is he an idiot for making another joke in bad taste after just being released for the same offense? Sure. Should he be held liable for his remarks? Absolutely, but only by the public, not the promotion. The promotion shouldn’t be a nanny to the fighters, it’s not their responsibility.  Their responsibility begins and ends with giving these athletes a medium to showcase their talents.

The UFC makes its money on impassioned exchanges of language between fighters leading up to the controversial combat they undergo. All in order to discover who the best kicker of asses on the planet is. You want to put that kind of pressure on a human being and not let him blow off steam publically if he so chooses? How can you corral a bunch of wild animals that risk their health, sacrificing their entire lives to become the best fighters possible, round up that bunch of psychos in a cage to brawl with one another, and not let them snarl to their hearts content? These men are half crazy alpha males with a capacity to inflict violence exceeded only by their desire to inflict violence. You’re going to take a silver back gorilla and tell it not to beat its chest? Good luck.

Here’s a better question: why would you want to do that? Cleaning up fighter’s language would not only be a weak submission to political correctness, (a totalitarian term that has its origins in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, fyi.) but it is also way less entertaining. The point is that this is the toughest sport in the history of athletics, the pinnacle of human physicality, and by God it isn’t for the faint of heart. If a few off color remarks are going to dissuade you from enjoying the mayhem of two trained assassins trying to murder one another for your entertainment, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy the sport in the first place.

And as far as Budweiser goes, who gives a damn? “Oh no, your terrible beer won’t sponsor my favorite sport anymore? Allow me to wail loudly expressing my soulful lament.”

Guess what? The sport is big enough that it doesn’t need Budweiser. And if bud light has been so infiltrated with this feministic crybaby mentality that they really think that a few whiny bored soccer moms hearing naughty words is going to affect their sales, then I kindly suggest the wash the sand out of their vaginas and remember what team they’re supposed to be on.

Team good times, right? That’s the point of drinking a few beers isn’t it? Well, how much fun is it to use profanity when you’re drinking?  I don’t know about you but the density of F bombs in my vocabulary increases in a directly proportional manner alongside the amount of alcohol I consume. Why miss out on that? Everything offends somebody, so where do you draw the line?

The PC penguin march has got to stop somewhere. If they get too close to the polar bears, they will be mauled. So before we get to the point of ripping the flesh off our still-breathing censors, why not stop pandering now? To follow the zoological metaphor, let out a healthy roar before the penguins approach the point of no return. Consider this my roar of protest.

This mentality that all language must be clean, that all speech must be filtered before it enters my ears is frustrating and demeaning. Much more demeaning than whatever random epithet Joe Rogan threw out against women. Why? Because Joe Rogan does not, in fact, promote violence against women. And if you think he does, you are officially too stupid to watch anything in which he appears. Go read a book.

I’m a grown man, and I am perfectly capable of listening to other grown men speak their minds, even if I disagree with it. “Gasp!  How can it be? He’ll surely go mad!”

No, I won’t.

Here is reality: if I find something so offensive that it turns my stomach, I’ll blame the fighter, not the company. For example, I’ve been a loyal Rampage fan for years. Even to the point of supporting him through some questionable, if not outright poor, performances in the UFC. Then I saw him trying to act out a rape on a transsexual on YouTube. He found my limit. I can’t stand the sight of the guy anymore. My opinion of him has changed irrevocably, and I don’t support him any longer.  But then I guess that’s holding an individual responsible for the consequences of his actions. Why do that, when we can blame a whole organization? Does it make sense to hold the UFC responsible for the actions of a single man? Sorry, but that’s communist bullshit, and It doesn’t’ have any place in an individual sport.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, if Anhueser Busch does drop the sponsorship of the UFC, I’ll probably quit drinking their beer. Really, if I had to choose between the two, it would not be a difficult decision. Such is my rabid loyalty to a sport I love. I’m still going to watch, with or without Budweiser in my cooler. So they will still make money, and a new sponsor will replaces Bud. Maybe I’ll go with Brock Lesnar’s advice and grab a Coors…

Free speech exposes truth.  Enforced silence creates resentment and protects no one. Be it offensive or innocuous, isn’t it better to know the realty of these men’s thoughts? Isn’t it more interesting? Shouldn’t we be trying to live in an open and honest society, where though we may disagree, we can still respect opposing viewpoints? It is completely within our power to avoid being offended, by not taking seriously what offends us. Isn’t this the wiser route to take? Rather than silencing an entire class of people for some unquantifiable  benefit?