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Paper: Ultimate Fighting is about manhood

By Zach Arnold | June 10, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Related post at Lay and Pray.

The state of Minnesota, financially-motivated, is on its way to legalizing Mixed Martial Arts. So are other states, including Michigan and Tennessee. So, naturally you would expect that more sports writers who come from the stick-and-ball era would start learning more about the sport and wanting to cover it right.

Instead, we’ve seen newspaper after newspaper trot out non-sports writers to write about the success of MMA. As if MMA fans need some sort of psychoanalysis, these articles use all the baseless stereotypes about who the fans and participants in the sport are. The attacks come from every side of the political spectrum (liberal writers, conservative writers, etc.)

So it should come as no surprise that one of America’s most financially-floundering newspapers, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, would have someone try to psychoanalyze what MMA is and who the fans of it are.

The author of today’s article (The Ultimate Fighter: Is there more to manhood?) is Katherine Kersten. If this article is any indication of the vapidness displayed in her other articles, I would hate being a citizen of Minneapolis-St. Paul area having to try to read this newspaper on a daily basis.

All the hallmarks of your typical mainstream media article with your average anti-MMA remarks were on display in Kersten’s article. “Ultimate Fighting,” not MMA. MMA leading kids to emulate the sport and create backyard MMA. Few or no rules or regulations for MMA fights. The infamous “human cockfighting” quote. Kicking opponents on the ground during fights. Generally, you see these attributes in all anti-MMA articles in the US media.

However, Kersten manages to add on some new whoppers. She manages to use a “Lord of the Flies” reference. Also, a claim that MMA’s popularity is due to a lack of appreciation for manhood in other Western societal aspects. And to top it off, the inevitable “Roman Coliseum” and gladiators reference.

Western civilization traditionally has relied on the notion of honor to help channel male aggression to constructive ends. From King Arthur to John Wayne, a real man exhibits martial virtues: He is courageous, resourceful and self-controlled. He uses his strength to protect the weak. He fights fair and doesn’t kick an opponent who is down.

Katherine Kersten’s blog is called ‘Think Again’. If I was the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, I’d ‘think again’ before publishing another one of her articles if they are as bad as today’s piece.

I’d mock this article if it wasn’t for the fact that a) it’s in a newspaper in a major American city, b) it’s starting to become the norm and not the exception in US media, and c) smart MMA fans and insiders do not have enough influence yet to challenge the constant attacks on the MMA industry in the media. Don’t tell me that you trust Dana White to go to battle for you when it comes to challenging the media head-on. On balance, he says as many dumb claims as smart statements.

A message to American newspapers… Your circulation numbers are plummeting. The distrust between editors and newspaper readers is continuing to grow on a daily basis. Newspapers are continuing the charade of serving the best interests of their readers, when in reality they are only serving their own interests. Readers in the 18-34 year-old demographic are bailing out on subscribing to your newspapers. MMA happens to be a sport that attracts fans primarily in this coveted demographic. You can’t afford to bleed money at the rate you are, but yet you resist covering topics that interest your current and potential readers in a fair manner.

So why focus on what newspapers write? Because many copy editors in television, radio, and other forms of media often get their talking points still from newspaper outlets. For the next several years, we are facing a major hurdle in educating the general public and the media about MMA and what it represents. Newspapers like The Los Angeles Times, The Orange County Register, and The Houston Chronicle are the exceptions, not the rule in terms of how newspapers will cover MMA in the States.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 10 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

10 Responses to “Paper: Ultimate Fighting is about manhood”

  1. Randy Rowles says:

    Couldn’t have said it any better myself, Zach. This lady is out of control. If only the UFC had never invented fighting, we might be a civilization worthy of Katherine Kersten. Seriously, it’d be funny if one day when this lady is down in the park scoring a bag of whatever it is that she’s smoking, if 100 teens kicked her ass.

  2. PizzaChef says:

    First it’s a guy infected with HIV who bashes MMA, now it’s a psycho woman. Anyone want to take bets on who will be the next person to bash MMA? For some reason I really want to bet on one of the underdogs in this bet. That being Kim Jong Il.

  3. Michaelthebox says:

    I was going to bash her, but then I saw that one of her recent articles is about how grade inflation makes it difficult to distinguish good students from great students. Now that is some hard-hitting journalism right there.

  4. Just another MMA mark like the rest of you says:

    We need a great spokesman like Marc Ratner, Randy Couture, or Bas Rutten to challenge these biased journalists head-on in a public forum.

  5. Luke says:

    Nice piece, Zach.

  6. LilMMALady says:

    Why do all these MMA critics talk about contact sports as though they are a new phenomenon, clearly a result of some strange cultural conditions? Wrestling is the oldest sport still in existence. Boxing dates back to prehistoric times. This is not some strange, modern phenomenon, but a modern manifestation of several ancient sports. These sports are still in existence for one main reason: they are good sports. Why can’t the mainstream media acknowledge that and move on?

  7. Danny says:

    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
    George Orwell

    If this lady had her way, all men would be girly men and these girly men would wear chest vests, similar to girdles, so they would appear to look like real men.

  8. […] of course, you can always count on The Minneapolis Star-Tribune to come up with a ridiculous article about MMA. Here’s the latest from the newspaper: Animal baiting is an ancient practice, achieving great […]

  9. Fred says:

    Suffice it to say that Katherine Kersten doesn’t understand manhood, womanhood, Western civilization, combat, honor, nor chivalry. She doesn’t get any of it. If she had lived during any of the “ideal” times that she professes to adore, she would have been the odd spinster with the glasses sitting behind the second-story window. She would have been sitting somewhere reading Shakespeare and pining for those “times”. And if she had lived in Shakespeare’s time, she would have been pining for William the Conqueror’s era. She’s an intellectual phony with too much time on her hands and nothing to say.


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