As the UFC is pushing into new regions, MMA fans are starting to remember what it was like to be a persecuted bunch. Germany blew a fuse when the UFC came, forcing a minimum age requirement on the event before using a constitutional provision on human dignity to kick the sport off TV. Then Australia had a decent amount of human cockfighting articles, and New York seems solidly split between wanting the money from UFC events and thinking it’s evil and barbaric.
Let’s not forget all the negative press out of Vancouver … they were so sure the event would lead to the Apocalypse that they made the UFC pay a multi-million dollar insurance fee and had gang squads out en masse the night of the event. We even got blamed for a gay bashing incident without any evidence to prove it. And now here’s some more pushback from stuffy-ass Ontario, aka the nanny-province of Canada:
The chief medical officer of health for Middlesex-London is taking his anti-violence campaign from the hockey arena to the mixed martial arts fighting cage. Graham Pollett is calling on the Ontario government to maintain its ban on mixed-martial arts events, a competition that involve individuals fighting in an enclosed metal cage.
“For me it is the issue of violence in society in general and particularly violence against women and children,” said Pollett. “The research is there that frequent and prolonged exposure to violence leads to an acceptance of violence as an appropriate means of solving problems or dealing with conflict. Here we have a situation where mixed martial arts is illegal in Ontario so for goodness sakes lets keep it illegal as one small step to trying to address violence in society in general.”
Pollett and the Middlesex-London Health Unit have campaigned against violence in hockey, calling for the courts to become involved when there is fighting on the ice. The health unit has advocated a ban on fighting in the sport.
In a report asking for board of health backing Thursday, Pollett noted that officials with Ultimate Fighting Championship, which runs mixed martial arts events in the U.S., announced in May they were setting up an Ontario office. It is clear the UFC is working toward having its events legalized in Ontario, Pollett wrote.
“Events such as those held by the UFC, whether presented as live events or televised, have a negative impact on children and adolescents. The cumulative result of repeated exposure to violence through sports, video games, movies, etc. is to desensitize people to the negative and harmful effects of violence,” Pollett wrote in his report.
The harm to children is exhibited in a number of ways, including aggressive behaviour, he said.
Goddamn I hate the ‘effect on society’ excuse. First off, for every study that says violent media causes aggressive behavior, another says it doesn’t. Most experts agree that the effect is negligible, and other studies show that kids are actually less violent now than they have ever been before. Think about that: there are less violent crimes by kids today, even now that punching out a kid on the playground often involves the police.
As for the usefulness of this ban, it’s not like kids are protected from seeing MMA right now … it’s beamed into Ontario via SpikeTV, the Score, the Fight Network, and various other channels. You’d have a hard time finding a mall in Toronto that doesn’t have at least one store selling UFC dvds. Trying to justify a pointless ban of live events in one province by claiming it will somehow protect the children and keep violence in society from exploding is intellectually dishonest at best and just plain dumb at worst.