Feel free to agree or disagree with what writer Dave Begel has to say, but on his recent visit with Inside MMA Live with hosts Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice, he had several very specific and valid points to make about the sport of MMA, particularly about what he believes is a blatant exploitation of women and what he feels is the basic, primal motivator for a fan-base that watches a violent sport such as mixed martial arts.
Here’s the 5-minute video, which is essentially 3-minutes of floundering debate by the hosts, and then another 2-minutes of desperate ridicule and disrespect. Kinda reminds me of the old Simpson’s episode where Grandpa starts telling a story and then the kids all say, “Hey everyone! Look! An old man is talking!” as they start to gather around, and sit and stare in total amazement. The joke of course being that no one of age or experience could possibly have anything of insight or intelligence to share with a much younger, know-it-all population. Enjoy the arrogance:
For starters, let’s address Dave’s assertion that mixed martial arts is not a sport. This is not a new observation by any stretch of the imagination.
Dave Begel: “[MMA] is a disgusting, barbaric entertainment event. I can’t even call it a sport. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that people do this and pay money to watch this kind of crap.”
I think what most loyal MMA fans are the most butt-hurt about (they tend to get that way when you criticize their “precious”), is that Dave uses words like “barbaric” and “disgusting” when he describes MMA. It’s insulting – yes, but is he wrong? Is it not barbaric violence? Is it not well-known that this is a sport that appeals (for very good reason) to the minority and not to the majority? So what’s the real issue then? MMA fans are a very sensitive people who tend to feel slighted and disrespected rather easily, so their automatic response is always going to be full-blown defensiveness, denial and aggression. I call this the “Cry-baby Syndrome.”
I absolutely agree with Dave that the UFC (not MMA) is less of an actual “sport” and more of an entertainment-based sporting event (not unlike pro wrestling), and if you don’t believe me, then just take a look at how they set up their fights. It’s not a system of ranking and fairness and who-beat-who, but more of a system of fan popularity, ratings and marketability (personality). Sorry, but that’s not a legitimate sport.
I’d also like to change a bit of the context if I could…
Instead of referring to mixed martial arts as a whole, if you consider that this guy probably doesn’t see or understand a major difference between MMA as a sport, and the UFC as a promotion, which is the promotion that he was referring to in his original article, then he’s not entirely off-base with his comments. And who’s fault is that? Are we all suddenly under the impression that the UFC and Dana White are the best ambassadors for this sport, particularly towards a demographic such as the one that this writer and the MAJORITY of people who don’t like the antics and bullshit that go along with the world’s largest and most influential MMA promotion, happen to be in? There are many reasons why the best fans in this sport can’t stand Dana White (he’s a proven liar for one) and why disliking the WWE-circus that is currently known as the UFC has absolutely nothing to do with liking or disliking MMA as a whole.
I’d like to think that if any promotion could change this writer’s mind about the sport (and about being a sport), it would be the Bellator Fighting Championships. At least they make an honest effort by way of a tournament-style to add a badly needed component that the UFC so ignorantly and selfishly overlooks – fairness.
This was a brutal interview in my opinion, and anyone who thinks that Dave is automatically wrong simply because they don’t agree with his contempt for the culture of MMA, which for the most part is justified, really needs to “empty their cup” and watch it again. This is typical, unbiased MMA journalism – if you can even call it “journalism.”
Dave Begel: “[MMA] plays into the fantasy of lots and lots of men.” TRUE. To the average ignorant fan, MMA is fantasy role-playing – one that they long to live vicariously through because that way, others can take the risk that they’re not willing to take themselves.
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Dave Begel: “MMA is designed to hurt somebody.” TRUE. The goal in any other major sport is to out-score your opponent. In MMA, it’s to win by knockout or submission. MMA fans hate it when a fight gets decided by going to the judge’s scorecards. They also love the sight of blood – try denying it.
Bas Rutten: “There are rules. It’s not violence.” I mean seriously, does anyone (including Bas) actually believe this? Football is violent. Hockey is violent. Boxing is violent. And MMA sure as hell is violent. I think downplaying the violent aspect of this sport has become such an agenda in gathering mainstream acceptance, that the MMA media has actually started to brainwash itself into believing it to be true. It’s not true. FALSE.
Dave Begel: “Everybody is a world hero.” TRUE. My book Desolate Warrior is the perfect example to demonstrate why sports fans have become overly consumed and manipulated by celebrity hero worship. From a psychological standpoint, this is a social trend that is definitely plaguing our society.
Dave Begel: “MMA clearly appeals to the basic instincts in people – the voyeuristic violence. That’s how you guys make your money.” TRUE and TRUE. Absolutely true! The primary motivation for the development and promotion of MMA is to make money. Period. This is not a charity and Dana White is most definitely not selflessly volunteering his time to help others. Love him or hate him – he’s a greedy pig.
Dave Begel: “MMA is a barbaric sport and having women do it is just as barbaric as having men do it.” TRUE. Inside MMA would have fans believe that this started as an issue of one writer believing that women should not participate in “men’s” sports – something that around the 3:22 mark, Dave completely denies. Again, I think the problem is with the use of the word “barbaric.” Personally, I don’t see it as a negative. It is barbaric. That’s why we watch it. Who’s in denial here? Because it sure isn’t me.
Dave Begel: “A lot of men have a lesbian fantasy.” FALSE. Not gay men. Maybe that’s why Kenny was having such a hard time relating to this. Seriously though…this is without a doubt TRUE. And all of you sick, perverted freaks out there know it! Two girls kissing? Oh the humanity! What’s this world coming to?!!
James Ryan: “There’s no sense denying our basic human instincts, because to do so, is to live in a world full of social and personal ignorance.” TRUE.
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them, I have others. Check them out at @coachjamesryan