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“Everybody’s Doing It…”

June 17, 2010

When you hear this from your son or daughter, it’s usually not a compelling rationale for questionable behavior. The same is true with defendants in fraud cases or those caught cheating on their taxes or spouses. 

In the same vein, when we hear that 44 other states allow mixed martial arts contests, we’re not persuaded that New York should become the 45th

Yes, these contests are everywhere on TV. Yes, they are wildly popular among certain demographic groups.  And yes, there could be some small economic advantage (an estimated $2 million annually) to municipal and private arenas that want to host the events. 

That’s all true. But it’s also true that the influence of MMA on young people is pernicious. Kids learn from watching these contests. They learn how to administer choke holds to render other kids unconscious. They learn how to hit someone when they are down and out. And they learn how to strut and exult and demean their opponent after prevailing. 

The simple fact is that encouraging young people to develop such “skills” is not a good thing. In fact, it encourages violence. We don’t think we’re being prissy about this. This is not healthy.  This is called mixed martial arts, but it is not consistent with traditional martial arts, which emphasize self defense over aggressive tactics.      

Of course, voting against MMA in New York won’t stop the growing influence of this televised activity. No matter what we do, society won’t soon rediscover and embrace the Marquis of Queensbury rules. T-shirts with Ghandi’s image won’t suddenly become more popular than Tap-Out T-shirts.  But at least we won’t be contributing to and encouraging this phenomenon. 

Indeed, this is one issue where we think New York should stand apart, even if everyone else is doing it.

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