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  • We admire Ali as a champion. Can we leave the MMA alone?


    Well, I’m about to provide a knockout blow: You can’t have it both ways; it’s inconsistent to say Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a blood sport that promotes violence, while deifying three-time world heavyweight boxing champion Ali.

    For the record I am pro MMA a mix of all striking and grappling martial arts consisting of boxing, fumbling, judo, jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. I’m enthralled by its main competitors, The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I am not alone. More than 56,000 individuals participated in the UFC battle in between former middleweight champion Ronda Rousey and her fierce challenger Holly Holm in Melbourne last year.

    What’s the appeal of viewing 2 people going all out in the octagon?

    There’s no denying UFC fighters are spectacular athletes. I had the advantage of speaking with Rousey prior to the match. Second, the fact Rousey and Holm changed chaps as the headline act was brilliant for women in sport. You can’t bleat about the ruthless nature of cage battling, then sook because women’s sport does not get the media coverage it is worthy of.

    Third, the sport is empowering. Would you cross Holm in a dark street? I feel more secure and more positive having done boxing. I would definitely understand how to defend myself if I were ever in difficulty.

    Lastly, these fighters understand ways to carry out. It’s exhilarating seeing some of the hardest professional athletes on the planet battling it out. Not surprising that Melbourne and Sydney are now in the ring battling it out to see who will host the much hyped Rousey vs. Holm rematch.

    Which brings me to Ali.

    He lacked doubt among the most controversial and charming professional athletes of the 20th Century. Understandably, there was an outpouring of sorrow after he passed away. Weekend papers were wrapped in reverent Ali obituaries. News flash were redolent with stories of his extraordinary life. Heck, even talk-show legend Michael Parkinson called him the most exceptional human I have ever encountered.

    Ali raged against oppression. The anti-war position resulted in a prison term that stole more than three years from his boxing prime years. The male was a poet. I suggest, the number of people speaks in rhymes, like: You can’thave struck what you can’t see. I drift like a butterfly and sting like a bee?

    It’s difficult to separate the personality from the performance. Let s not forget it was boxing that offered this man a platform. It was his ability in the ring that made us stand up and take notification. So it’s specious to declare one type of fighting, like MMA, as savage while hailing Ali as The Greatest. After defeating the fearsome Sonny Liston, Ali yelled: Ah shook up the world! All the while keeping up his boxing fists.

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