Even close to my own hearth, I seem to be a minority on this one.
The Conor McGregor ‘thing’ doesn’t really do it for me and I really couldn’t give a tupenny damn whether he holds on to a world title or loses it through being choked or knocked unconscious.
There’s a barbarity about MMA, mixed martial arts, that I believe takes us back to a more primal time when humans had to battle at the cave door to prevent their berries from being pillaged, but well into the 21st century, to describe this is as a sport is to my innocent mind, a huge paradox.
I don’t begrudge Conor McGregor one cent that he makes from slugging it out in the cage with all warriors of similar disposition. He’s a huge name now, known right across the world, and he does have a bit of the Muhammad Ali bravado and personality about him that the public and the television channels love.
There are those who will probably accuse me of being squeamish on this one, and that’s fair enough too, but as one who had his fair share of battles going through secondary school, the coming together of bare knuckle and jaw was no stranger to me.
Maybe at times, professional boxing does come close to crossing the line between sport and violence but at least it’s a very controlled environment with gloved hands, no kicks, elbows or chokes and normally a referee who will call to a halt to a contest where one of the combatants is not in a position to defend himself.
Amateur boxing also provides a very disciplined structure and gives an outlet for thousands of youngsters across the country to get fit and to look after their bodies through the intake of healthy food and exercise. The three round limitation is also a solid enough safeguard.
Back the years as a child, I remember hearing on a crackly radio of how Jim McCourt won a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics and caught glimpses of him in black and white television. McCourt was a lightweight and a real stylist who relied on a classy jab and slick counter punch to add on the points.
24 years ago, Michael Carruth, won an Olympic Gold in Barcelona and four years ago in London, Katie Taylor repeated that achievement. A tough sport, yes, but one where the skill element and the art of making your opponent miss, forms a key part of the strategy.
by Francis Farragher – Mar 17, 2016