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CBC Newsworld – MMA Feature Story

By Luke | May 29, 2006

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By: Luke Nicholson

CBCNews Sunday with Evan Solomon, had a feature story on Mixed Martial Arts, or as they called it, Extreme Fighting. Throughout the piece they used both terms. It was discerning because “Extreme Fighting” gives it a more rogue sound than Mixed Martial Arts. MMA sounds much more professional. Evan talked about how controversial the sport is, and how its banned in Ontario, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia. He also reminded the viewer that this story may seem inappropriate to some, but the network is showing it anyway. That was a good way to make the CBC seem like it was taking a risk.

The story had a little bit of history, but it had a local focus, following David Loiseau leading up to his fight with Rich Franklin at UFC 58 (wow, this was taped a while ago). It tried to parrallel Loiseau’s life story, with the story of MMA’s rise in popularity. While it worked in some respects, it failed in others. It talked about the car accident that David Loiseau was in when he was seventeen, and tried to compare that with UFC following the cable ban. If David Loiseau’s life had been saved with some sort of miracle surgery, then I would agree with this comparison, but I don’t think it did. Zuffa literally took UFC off its death bed, without Zuffa UFC doesn’t exist today. They spoke to David Loiseau about how he feels before a fight, his family, religion, and all that good stuff. According to this piece, David’s mom doesn’t watch his fights. David admitted to being scared before each fight, but he pointed out that he channels that fear positively. Interesting.

It went all the way back to the days of Greek Pankration when they talked about the roots of MMA, and then fastforwarded to 1993 with the inception of UFC. Evan spoke with Dana White about how UFC was originally marketed. Of course Dana talked about how it was marketed as a blood sport – “Two men walk in, one walks out” fight to the finish. It had the common factual errors about who introduced time limits, weight divisions, ringside judges, etc. Funny, how all these documentaries always seem to feature Dana White, and those factual errors. Hmmm?

They even had footage of the only death to ever take place in MMA, even though it was an unsanctioned event in the Ukraine where it took place, and boxing and high school football probably have higher death rates. There was a long discussion over the safety of MMA. With it being argued that there should be longterm safety studies done, etc. before its legalized across Canada. Proponents of MMA then argued that other sports have experienced more deaths, and they’re still operating. This is true. Boxing, Football, and other sports have experienced far more deaths than MMA, and their legality isn’t being debated, is it?
They spoke with a beat writer for the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald about MMA. He’s opposed to it. He said “anytime someone grabs another person by the throat, it scares him”. And, apparently if you have to be told to stop punching someone in the face, then there is obviously something wrong with it. Well, then maybe MMA just isn’t the sport for you, is it. He was honest enough to admit his love of boxing though. In contrast, the head of the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority was in favor of legalizing MMA in their province, so CBC at least tried to present both sides of the argument. Even though it was a little slanted toward the anti-MMA contingent.

Dana White and Joe Rogan were also part of the feature. Dana White claimed that given one hour with the Ontario Boxing Commission, he could have MMA legalized there. Maybe, but I think thats a little bit of hot air. He also predicted, or stated I should say, that MMA would be the most popular combat sport in the world within five years. Also, a stench of hot air comes with that remark. Joe Rogan gave a beautiful soliloquy about death, which will surely be played back by every opponent this sport has. “Death happens, its part of life. People die all the time. I think its more honourable to die in an octagon, than to die in a bed, while peeing yourself”. Those were the words of Joe Rogan. I guess there are things money can’t buy – good spokespeople.

At the end, Evan came off very well when he spoke about the backgrounds of the fighters, and talked about Rich Franklin being a former math teacher, and other fighters being former policeman with families, etc. As opposed to some boxers who often say “If I wasn’t boxing, I would be in jail, or dead”. But, hey, according to Joe Rogan, being dead aint so bad.

Overall, MMA came off as a budding sport, still trying to make its way out of the darkness, which is semi-accurate, but to be truthful, I think you’re completely out of the dark when you have a tv deal with SpikeTV, that includes a weekly one hour reality series, six live fight specials per year, and twenty six one hour episodes of “Unleashed” a program which airs previously aired UFC fights on each episode.

Topics: All Topics, Canada, Luke Nicholson, Media, MMA, UFC | No Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

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