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Bill O’Reilly on MMA

By Zach Arnold | June 21, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel had a 6-minute segment called “Ultimate Brutality” (in the “Back of the Book” segment block) during his O’Reilly Factor program on Wednesday night, in which O’Reilly focused on MMA. There were two teases for this segment during the show. The first: “They call it ultimate fighting, but is it really uncontrolled violence for profit, and should it be banned?” The second: “Brutal fighting for profit, should this kind of a display be outlawed?” Footage of the Tito Ortiz/Forrest Griffin was shown during the second tease. UFC President Dana White (in Las Vegas) and Rich Franklin (in Salt Lake City) were interviewed.

O’Reilly started the segment off by stating that “believe it or not, the states of New Jersey and Nevada license this kind of display,” and he pointed out how New York banned it. O’Reilly’s whole theme throughout the segment was to try to tie MMA in with Muhammad Ali getting Parkinson’s Disease because of the punishment he took throughout his boxing career. Dana White argued with O’Reilly that MMA is safer than boxing, which O’Reilly got angry about and disputed. White emphasized that there has never been a serious injury or death in the history of UFC. O’Reilly’s main “evidence” against MMA was the much-talked British medical study which claimed that MMA is three times as dangerous as prize fighting, with 48 concussions per 1,000 MMA fighters (versus 16 for boxing). Dana challenged O’Reilly on saying that boxing caused Ali’s condition with Parkinson’s Disease. O’Reilly closed out his show by asking Rich Franklin why he would continue to fight, and Franklin noted that he would rather do MMA than work in a chemical plant all day-long and get cancer by breathing in toxic fumes.

It was interesting to watch O’Reilly doing this segment on Fox News, considering that one of the lead Fox News Channel morning anchors (Brian Kilmeade) was a TV commentator for the early UFC PPVs when the promotion was under the SEG banner.

Topics: All Topics, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “Bill O’Reilly on MMA”

  1. Royal B. says:

    Wouldn’t Billy Boy get in a bit of hot water because of MMA on FOX programing?

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    It’s interesting that point out the situation with MMA on FOX, Royal, because here we have Fox Sports Net continue to push PRIDE on their network (and isn’t that interesting considering what’s happened in the last month) and O’Reilly doesn’t bother touching that. Not that ignorance is a reasonable excuse…

  3. Chuck says:

    Fuck Bill O’Reilly. “Fair And Balanced” my ballsack. If two guys want to beat the shit out of eachother in a controlled environment, under athletic commisions, near ringside doctors, and get payed for it, why does Bill O’Reilly or other talk show or radio show hosts give a shit? As long as no one else gets hurt, and the fighters’ health are put under consideration, and the fighters get payed, then Bill O’Reilly should just turn the other cheek if he doesn’t like MMA.

  4. PizzaChef says:

    I agree with Chuck. After all, Fox News is pretty much the Republican News Station that defended the Abu Graib prison abuse scandals, and seem to suck up to George Bush in every fucking way possible.

  5. grafdog says:

    Its a political football to pass around during the elections. Its how the tool Mc Cain got his mug into the toilet of politics. Bottom line is Ufc was good in the old days when it was something to look forward to 4 times a year, nobody knew about it, it was watched by adults for the most part and the fighters had character. As they say there is no such thing as bad publicity, and seeing as Zuffa’s mob boss’s the Ferttitas have contributed millions to politicians they have been allowed to launder their ill gotten casino/mob gains in plain sight. What do politicians get in return? 2 things, they get their names out as defenders of whatever they want you to believe needs defending, like marriage or the homeland (as Hitler used to call germany) The ufc tv show is bait for the army. How else can you describe a show where a bunch of fit men train all day have no normal interaction with humanity, no outside news etc, and who’s only purpose is to be prepared to fight for peanuts at some rich power hungry scumbags request. The ufc has become a recruiting tool pure and simple. While i agree that 2 consenting adults should be free to fight or fuck for peoples entertainment, There’s no need for it to be available to impressionable kids and teens who can’t even read!

  6. FredEttish says:

    Wow grafdog, I don’t know where to start. I think the first thing to note is that Zuffa didn’t go around paying off politicians to get sanctioning for the UFC. They worked with the athletic commissions to develop a set of agreeable rules under which the fights would take place. I’m not sure you do anyone any good by getting on a soapbox to make your point only to accuse the Fertitta’s of being mob bosses. You obviously have no idea how much scrutiny they are under by State and Federal agencies as casino owners. The organized crime element of Vegas has been gone for quite sometime (much to the chagrin of Vegas residents) and is in no position to return. As far as your comments relating US politicans to Hitler, your anger at your parents for whatever reason probably sparks your total hate for all things government so I’ll leave that alone. Your opinion on the UFC training regimen however, makes no sense. The fighters do this because they want to. You act as if these rich white males have gone to foreign lands to bring back savages in order to pit them against each other as a form of entertainment. It’s no secret that you can’t get rich as a fighter at this point in the game. A six figure UFC contract is still not a lot of money considering it’s paid over several years. Then again, the situation you described also applies to Olympians, professional waterskiers, minor league baseball players etc. I agree the show is probably not the best thing for “impressionable kids and teens” but this is the oldest argument for any questionable content on television and the answer always comes back to parental responsibility.

  7. Mr1000Cent says:

    Wow, you think that with Bill O’Reilly being conservative (well not actually, he hasn’t admitted it yet, on the contrary, he still claims to be Independent) he would look the other way on this topic, or even promote it. Well, at least O’Reilly went to the top when arguing a topic, unlike 5 or so years ago when he interviewed Linda McMahon about the WWE’s content and how it was bad for children. And I’m surprised that O’Reilly didn’t fire his show’s producer after bringing Dana White in on this discussion (hence O’Reilly’s new rules since 2000, but then again, getting “housed” in debates with Opie and Anthony, ICP, Linda McMahon, and Jenna Jameson are not things you put on a resume).

  8. […] Fox Sports Net has taken quite an attraction to MMA is the recent months. With the Pride FC specials hosted by Jay Glazer and Frank Trigg, and the International Fight League contract showing IFL MMA events, FSN is bringing MMA to the free TV market, depite sister-station Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly taking issue with MMA as a sport. […]

  9. Zach Arnold says:

    [As they say there is no such thing as bad publicity, and seeing as Zuffa’s mob boss’s the Ferttitas have contributed millions to politicians they have been allowed to launder their ill gotten casino/mob gains in plain sight.]

    Care to provide documentation or evidence (magazine reports, court reports, etc.) of your claims that Zuffa is tied in with organized crime?

  10. grafdog says:

    Granted i simply speculate, and meant to say “suspected mob boss’s son” as it would be difficult to implicate the current crop with the type of “WORK” past generations were involved in. Subsequently, this speculation should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Below are 2 excerpts from this story.

    Attorney Joe Jacobson told me about the Michael Lazaroff scandal prior to it becoming public knowledge. I immediately forwarded the infomation to my managing editor. We had a jump on the Post, but we blew it. It would take the Riverfront Times another 10 months to report anything substanitive on the case.

    As you’ll recall, in 1999, Lazaroff represented Station’s Casino and he was caught illegally influencing Gaming Commission decisions. Years earlier, in 1992, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Station’s founder, Frank Fertitta, was an associate of organized crime, according to a federal mob trial held in Kansas City in 1985. I provided this information to my editors and the reporter covering the Lazaroff case, too. But for some reason, Fertitta’s mob connections didn’t make it into the story.

    When the RFT story finally ran, it relied heavily on the word of attorney David Helfrey, who represented Station’s. The story dismissed Lazaroff’s claim that Helfrey had made a vailed threat against Lazaroff’s life.

    Before becoming a criminal defense attorney, Helfrey was a federal prosecutor in Kansas City. In fact, he was the lead prosecutor in the mob trial in which Station’s founder Frank Fertitta was revealed to be an associate of organized crime. Moreover, the lead investigator in the case was then-FBI agent Gary Hart, who is now Helfrey’s law partner.

    And this bit of info…..

    Fertitta’s tainted background is the reason that he chose to put Station’s Missouri lice nse in his son’s name, Frank J. Fertitta III. Rushton knew this because I gave him a story by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Phil Linsalta from 1992, when Station’s was applying for the state license for the St. Charles casino.

    The FBI swooped on Glick’s strawman empire in 1979 and arrested Fertitta’s partner Carl Thomas, Glick, the Civello Brothers and about a dozen others. Despite the seemingly incriminating wiretap transcript, the FBI could not get enough substantial evidence to charge Fertitta. Despite the testimony of former Fremont Security Chief, Harold McBride, where he swore under oath that Frank Fertitta jr had been involved in the skimming operation at the Fremont, and wiretap evidence of the Civella’s and Thomas that implicated him, Fertitta was never charged with the skimming at Fremont casino where he presided.

    Amazingly, when Thomas first became implicated by the FBI, the ownership of The Bingo Palace was transferred solely to Frank Fertitta jr. Did this mean that Frank Fertitta was now a front man for the Kansas City mob, or are we to believe that they happily sold him Thomas’s share of the casino and wished him well? It’s a tough call, I know.

    In 1979 the Nevada Gaming Control board ordered Glick to sell up and he did, to associates of Moe Dalitz, the man that Frank’s relative, Sam Maceo had helped to get started all those years ago. Glick sold for $2 million in cash, the assumption of $92 million in debts and with another $66 million to be paid from the casino’s earnings by 1991.

    Although he was one of the few to escape prison, Frank Fertitta jr did not go completely unscathed in the aftermath of the skimming scandal. Fertitta was the target of a four year investigation by the Nevada Control Board but in 1989 they voted 2-1 not to initiate disciplinary action against him.

    Despite this decision, Fertitta’s reputation had been damaged. Some sources claim that Frank Fertitta jr knew that his mob connections could hamper any future applications for gaming licences. Whatever the actual reasons, in 1993 Frank Fertitta jr officially stepped down as the Chairman of the board and handed over to his son, Frank Fertitta III, or ‘Frankie Three Sticks’, as he is known in some circles. The company then became public. Station Casino’s then applied for licences with the Missouri Gaming Commission to run casinos in Missouri. Many would ask if it’s possible for a business that was believed to be built on mob money and mob connections to become squeaky clean simply by changing the name of the Chairman.

    In 1993 the Missouri Gaming Commission called on Frank Fertitta’s former employer and business partner, the convicted casino skimmer Carl Thomas. They requested information from Thomas about Frank Fertitta jr, Thomas agreed to attend an inquiry with them. Before he did this however, Thomas drove to Vegas from his home in Oregon and met with Station executives to discuss his testimony with them. Noone really knows exactly how that meeting went down or what transpired. The people that do know, arent talking. He then left Vegas to return to Oregon before heading to meet with the Missouri Gaming Commission. Before he could attend that meeting and give testimony on Frank Fertitta’s background, Thomas was killed in a bizarre single car accident, it was a clear night and the road was in good condition. Thomas knew the area well. Due to Thomas’s untimely death, the Missouri Gaming Commission were unable to complete their inquiry into Frank Fertitta jr and they granted licences to Station Casinos.

    The case mentioned above can be researched by anyone interested…

  11. FredEttish says:

    I see where you’re going with this grafdog, but your making the son bear the sins of the father. Read this story carefully; especially the last two paragraphs. There has never been any implications that Frank III was involved in organized crime. In fact, if anything he is the guy who made the business legit. I did some further research and found nothing relating to this story beyond what you have posted. Anyone that knows anything about organized crime knows that the mob would avoid taking a cash heavy business like a casino public. It is their policy to avoid government intervention. The second you go public, you’ve draw the ire of not just the FBI, but the SEC, FTC, and ATF just to name a few. From what I see here, Frank III is desparately trying to shed the company of it’s early mafia ties, not embrace them.

  12. grafdog says:

    First let me thank Zack Arnold for allowing people to express their opinions.
    Secondly let me say i’m not anti mma, for sometime it was a learning experience for the participants, as well as the viewers. In UFC 2, both viewers and (i can only assume) Mr Ettish simultaneously learned a valuable lesson about the importance of being knowledgeable in ground fighting.
    It’s my “opinion” however, that the UFC has simply marketed the more base aspects in its weakly show to a less intellectually demanding demographic.
    In a marketing standpoint they have had some measure of success by taking the “low road”. Mr White, I must say is nothing more than a MC Mahon type with a foul mouth that would make a drill sergeant proud. The only lesson one can learn from his poor behaviour and cheapness are the aforementioned character traits. Those who are good mannered, mature and well balanced will not bother to wade through the shallow cesspool of this show. Conversely, those in their teens would tend to gravitate towards the tawdriness touted on TUF.
    Whereas SEG’s employment of an accomplished olympic athlete in Mr Blatnick, established a hard to ignore respectability. One must question the choice of Rogan as well, who in my “opinion” is a complete incompetent as a commentator, who repeatedly repeats phrases, repeatedly.
    Finally, not having watched O’reilly I don’t know what he “said” and don’t care. Mr White, however was wrong in his statement that no deaths or serious injuries have occured. Dedge’s death while not in the ring is a stain on the sport that Dana disservices by attempting to conceal. Now he’s a foul mouth, and a liar. As far as serious injury Goes, in my book broken arms, ankles, orbital bones seperated ribs, concussions and seizures from head Trauma qualify as serious. And while not life threatening can be life altering. Shoguns injury looked pretty serious, and is just an example. Things are not always as they’re portrayed, this is an example…
    In a world where perceptions are molded by media, objective facts must always sought by people because the media is not going to just dump them in your lap.

    Fertitta was the target of a four year investigation by the Nevada Control Board but in 1989 they voted 2-1 not to initiate disciplinary action against him.

    Mr Ettish, that is a split decision, it could have gone either way.
    Rutten vs Randleman was also a split, and is still debated to this day.
    The only judge to vote for Randleman was Catalfo who trained with Randleman. Was Catalfo being objective? At the very least there is a “conflict of interest”.

    Are there other conflict of interests which go unnoticed due to ignorance?

  13. FredEttish says:

    Grafdog, I’m not sure what topic we’re discussing at the moment but I think the death of Doug Dedge shouldn’t be considered a black mark against MMA in America. He took that fight overseas because he wasn’t cleared to fight in the States. It can’t be helped that Eastern Bloc countries don’t have the same standards and practices for fighter safety that we have here. And no, I don’t consider a broken arm or leg a serious injury. In 99.9% of all the injuries so far in the UFC they will not alter the fighters life in the long term save for the occasional soreness on rainy days. Shogun’s injury was serious in terms of his career as a fighter, not in terms of the rest of his life. Head trauma and concussions are a different story and I believe the state athletic comissions do a fine job of reacting to those occurences.

    As far as TUF goes. It’s just a show. It’s not meant to be held up for intelligent discussion. Also it’s on Spike TV which is in nature designed to attract 18-34 year old males with lots of testosterone. Take it for what it is, entertainment. The UFC is not meant for guys like you and I. We break down the techniques and discuss ring strategy. Unfortunately, our attitude towards the sport is in the minority. See a blog article I wrote on the subject . I agree Blatnik leant credibility to the show, but Rogan brings excitement. He’s coming from a fan point of view. That’s fine with me. He knows the sport well enough and practices in it. Sure he can be repetative but look back on some of Blatnick old call and you’ll see that he flat out missed some calls. At the end of the day though, you can’t expect much out of any organization whose first priority is to entertain for profit.

  14. Mateo Souj says:

    I think the sport is very boring and needs to be more violent. Bill O’Reilly must not be a violent guy if he thinks the sport is too violent. I think the violent quotient needs to be shot up by at least 734 percent before the sport can overcome boxing.

    I have come up with some ideas that I think can improve UFC by at least 300 percent entertainment points.

    1.) Allow knees at any point in the bout. Allow head butts, groin strikes and front chokes.

    2.) Should two fighters stink the joint up, do not talk to them after the contest and dock their pay by 20 percent.

    3) Should a fighter who will most definitely lose by decision does not go in for the kill at the 30 seconds left mark, ban him from the sport permanently. Those are the worst kind of fighters and they should be punished severely.

    4) Encourage suplexes. Suplexes could shoot the sport into the stratospehere. Especially overhead belly to belly suplexes and Atomic suplexes. I think the sport needs suplexes to overcome boxing because the submission game has completely turned sour.

    5. Allow the fighters to be set up in the Karate Kid position. When Daniel Larusso nearly decapitated Johnny Lawrence with the Crane Kick, it shocked the world. More fights ending like that are most definitely needed.

  15. Chuck says:

    That is the most ridiculous stuff I have ever heard. Suplexes are sweet, but what are the chances that most fighters are going to try suplexes? If you want to see guys throwing eacthother aropund and headbutt eachother, you might as well just watch puroresu companies. Or some American indy wrestling companies.

    Former/I think one current Japanese companies you should look into are UWF Japan, UWFi, RINGS, Battlearts, Pro Wrestling Fujiwara-Gumi, U-STYLE.

  16. Mateo Souj says:

    …but it would make the fights more exciting. They need to seriously consider adding new rules or adding more rounds. Or at least hiring guys who hit really hard (like that Silva guy did) or can snap a limb in seconds. The guys being brought in seem to being trained to stalemate their opponent. No killer instinct in any of them. Fighting not to lose instead of fighting to entertain the fans.

    I also think capture suplexes need to be taught to every fighter. The capture hold would be a great tool in giving MMA a jolt of excitement. And should those wrestlers get the ability to dart behind and deliver an Atomic suplex… it would make MMA a lot better.

  17. galvestonconnection says:

    While it is true that Frank III and Lorenzo have gone to great lengths to “legitimize” their gaming empire the mob ties are irrefutable. I could go on and on with references, but here is the short list: 1) Carlos Marcello’s New Orleans mob was the beneficiary of the Texas and KC rackets, i.e., they kicked back monies to Marcello–– all Sicilian mobs are ruled by a hierarchy of respect, power or both. 2) By the time both Marcello (the Boss of bosses) and Capo Sam Maceo leader of the infamous Maceo Brothers of Texas (blood relative and partners with the Fertitta clan) died off, the new Boss of bosses was Carl Civella, the leader of the Civella crime family in KC.

    Now, since Frank Jr had the experience running casinos (in Galveston) even before he was of age, and because his relationship with the Maceo’s also connected him to Moe Dalitz, he became the perfect guy for the KC mob to trust. The first big gig was when Frank Jr., worked for Argent Corp (the KC mobs joint), and although he was never indicted with Carl Thomas Sr. on the biggest skimming operation to go down in Vegas history, he and Thomas were partners in the Bingo Palace (now Palace Station), while they were still working with Argent. So, ask yourself, would Argent, the casino strawman (front) for the KC mob, allow their two best men to open up their own joint down the street? Of course not, firstly, where would they get the 5-million to open the joint? The answer is simply that the KC mob was diversifying, and when Carl Thomas Sr went down for skimming, the last man standing to represent the mob interests was Frank Jr. He was connected to Maceo, who was connected to marcello who was superseded by Civella. He knew how to play by Sicilian rules (code of silence), and was one-helluva marketer. If you are a big producer for the mob and keep your mouth shut, you are GOLDEN (as in Golden Goose).

    Lastly, ask yourself this? The only way the KC mob, or any true mafia clan would allow Frank III and Lorenzo to flush them out would be with a HUGE payoff. Since this is too risky, due to the size of the payout, a better answer is more diversification, i.e., UFC, Gordon Bierch Brewery, Coin Companies, Slot Bars, and land all over Nevada and SoCal to use as laundry mats to deliver fresh cash to the very guys who financed the first deal in the ‘70’s.

    Old school way to produce for the mob like; casino skimming, and control of rackets like labor unions, extortion and prostitution can now be done with financial instruments, stocks, real estate and other entities where money and assets can be moved around, and you don’t need to worry about the “normal” laws to shut you down or put you in prison.

    The latter is the genius of the new Fertitta regime, and likely why they are not lying in a cornfield somewhere…

  18. Jesse says:

    Bill O’Reilly referenced Quatry Brothers, Jerry and Mike Quarry……-a0148494477

    Bill is a smart guy, he must understand the concept of sports and different types of sports. Bill tried to goad these two and in my opinion, Bill failed. He seemed to expect “fighters” would be simple to debate and come out ahead. The problem with that is that Bill O’Reilly came to this interview unprepared. Dana kicked Bill’s butt. Dana had Bill against the ropes on the issue of Parkinson’s Disease; there is NO definite etiology for Parkinson’s or any other brain disorder as of yet.

    And where is Fox today? It’s all about the money…
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