by David Weintraub, MMARated.com & JarryPark.com Contributor
If you are a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) you are certainly aware of the outcry against it on FOX News and certain other media outlets. However, FOX News seems to be running with the anti-MMA gauntlet the most, as two of their premiere hosts, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity have both recently done segments denigrating the sport. Of course, neither do this alone, as O’Reilly brings on like-minded journalists (I use that term loosely) to echo his thoughts, while Hannity takes on defenseless parents and every day people in an attempt to legitimize their own beliefs. Both hosts look foolish to anyone who knows a thing about the sport, but the main problem is that so many people do not know much about it, and they get their news from shows like these. On some level it’s certainly an issue when those without knowledge are doing their best to hurt the sport, but on what level I’m not so sure.
If you’ve watched either of these programs, or similar ones, a typical approach to bashing MMA is mentioning words like “barbaric” or “gauging,” often referring to it as a “blood sport.” For those who know the rules of MMA, gauging is certainly not legal. But please, O’Reilly, don’t let that stop you. I mean, “facts” are really only useful if you know them.
Still, the reason for the recent outcry on O’Reilly’s program is CBS will begin airing Elite XC fights on Saturday nights starting in May. This is an apparent affront to broadcast television, as O’Reilly tells it (some might say he is), and most recently author Bernard Goldberg supported his views as well as Fox News Correspondent Jane Hall.
I understand it does everyone over at FOX News a service by bashing a rival like CBS, but that’s hardly the reason for O’Reilly’s stance against MMA. After all, the point is simply ratings. This is the sole reason he, or anyone else, would discuss MMA on any level, similar to the interviews he conducted with Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, and fighter Rich Franklin.
To people like O’Reilly, combat sports are terrible for society, but other shows featuring women competing for the love of a bachelor, contestants living on a deserted island eating bugs, or “redneck” weddings are all raising the journalistic integrity of the networks. Making a mockery of love and marriage, the holiest of institutions, as often told to us by hosts like Hannity and O’Reilly, is clearly preferable to two individuals, well trained in mixed martial arts, who have dedicated their lives, competing to achieve greatness. Clearly.