Home UFC ‘Bloodsport’: Has MMA Become Too Violent?

‘Bloodsport’: Has MMA Become Too Violent?


For the older generation of MMA fans, they will recall the early days where weight classes were open, gloves were not mandatory and head stomps and head buts were thrown with the baddest intentions. In the documentary ‘The Smashing Machine” it follows the career of fallen MMA fighter Mark Kerr who would terrorise and beat opponents senseless until drug addiction and injuries finally ruined his career.

Human cock fighting was probably the best description during that era. There were an abundance of fighters available that would not hesitate gouging their fingers into open wounds, delivering brutal groin shots, and pounding knees to the heads of grounded opponents.  The brutality during that time was ‘bloody real’ and the UFC knew that regulated competition was the only way forward to make MMA a respected professional sport.

After a 44 million dollar investment by the Fertita family, a revolution of MMA had finally arrived with stricter rules and safer regulation governing MMA competition. It wasn’t long before major sponsors and television networks wanted a piece of the advertising revenue pie with millions of MMA fans drawn to this exciting new sport across every continent.

Not everyone however has welcomed the explosion of MMA into the mainstream with some critics calling for the sport to be banned. New ethical issues continue to plague the sport with the most recent incident involving Palhares and his failure to quickly release a submission hold.

The actions of Palhares showcased one of the most reprehensible actions we may have witnessed inside the octagon outside of Paul Daley’s cheap shot on Josh Koscheck.  Despite the commendable resolution to ban Palhares for life by UFC president Dana White, the critics of the sport had clearly won another round.

Another serious issue that is discrediting the sport is the actions of fighters who continue to strike unconscious opponents. Whether you are a fan of Michael Bisping or not, a fighter that gets knocked out cold does not deserve further damage inflicted while in a comatose state. It is an ugly part of MMA that needs reform.

Unfortunately in MMA not all is perfect, and nor should we expect that it ever will be. However, the sport must always strive to evolve and stop at nothing to improve the safety and health of  fighters.

As readers, how do you feel about the current safety of the athletes? Are there still gaping holes in the overall safety of fighters competing? What would you like to see improved?

  • Great article @enjoy

  • I think you might catch a little heat on this one, since MMA has become far safer now than it ever was. Dana banning Pahlares was proof of that as well I think. Article is fine, title a little off there lol

    • Good as always Enjoy 8P

      • Thanks Entity….I think the safety of the sport has improved significantly over the years and Dana's banning of Palhares signifies his priorities in safeguarding the athletes. The two issues that stand out for me are the design of the gloves which is currently being looked at by the UFC and also the late delivery of punches to opponents who have been knocked unconscious…I remember when Brian Stann stopped striking Allessio sakara many fans were impressed that he didn't try to inflict further damage…Mark hunt has spoken about guys being "done" and walking away despite the opportunity to land more shots…Unfortunately too many fighters do not follow this lead when they see a guy out and for that reason the sport needs to carefully consider the application of rules.. My overall opinion is that the UFC have done a great job.

        • I agree man, and the fighters that stop early after landing the final blow are more often than not the guys who have quite a bit of KO experience.

  • Great article but I wouldn't call it similar to human c o c k fighting. The people choose to fight the poultry does not. If both agree then if you don't like don't watch. I think the safety of athletes is paramount in the organization as far as is reasonable without taking away significant non lethal weapons to an art form. I don't see why head butts were taken away if knees to the face are allowed. Spinning elbows are just as devastating as 90 degree elbows if performed properly so thats another one. If a guy doesn't want it to happen to him then take a seat.

    • Have to disagree, I heard the poultry are signing up at record numbers. Word has it, the fight began when one side called the other side "chicken!"

      • LOL nothing beats a good corny joke that actually makes me laugh.

    • @Falcon…I think the growth of the sport is testament to the fact that the UFC have the right balance and we have a consensus on acceptable strikes. One of the problems in the past was dominant wrestlers grounding inexperienced grapplers and landing repeated knees to the face. Concussed fighters would leave in a bloody mess. Today however fighters are much better rounded in grappling and jujitsu and it unlikely you will get an invite unless you can prove credential across all martial arts. Despite the milestones, footage such as the rag dolling of Rich Franklin by Anderson Silva resulting in facial reconstruction is something that will always be hard to escape the attention of critics. And for that reason it can often be percieved as human **** fighting. Personally I believe that the title human **** fighting is not a fair assessment of the sport today that is now highly regulated.

  • First, thanks for that move Enjoy; "‘The Smashing Machine”.

    I'd never heard of it, before. As soon as I read it, I stopped reading the article and went and found it on YouTube; great flick.

    For people that have a problem with MMA, it's been cleaned up and if it was the old rules, I doubt I'd want to watch it. Where I used to watch the UFC when it first came out and thought it was great, we just couldn't have that anymore. That and the old Pride rules are simply too brutal and they're simply unfair and too rough, on the fighters.

    To those that do have a problem with it, I simply ask them about the expenditure of their tax dollars on foreign wars of aggression and empire, and the tens of thousand of innocent non-combatants that have been murdered over the years. I find that generally shuts them up.

    Great article by the way, Enjoy.

    • Thanks Brian…..would have been great to include a Smashing Machine clip !!
      There are double standards everywhere these days like you mention. The old addage that you don't kick a man while he's down seemed to escape the moral compass of earlier pride rules where you would see guys trying to stomp and even land full body weight jumps on the heads of opponents. A more sophisticated and technical form of fighting had to evolve and I believe that product is here today with the exception of some occasional indiscretions such as late hits, eye pokes. Unfortunately it often takes the most devastating injury or evendeath before a shift is made. And by that I refer to the late hits. It will only take one fighter who never comes out of concussion to be the catalyst for major reform. I hope we arrive there earlier and implement a better system to protect unconscious fighters. As it stands the referee gets in too late. We saw this in the Mark Munoz fight, we saw it in the Dan Hendo/Michael Bisping fight. Anyway thanks for your comments. Feel free to do any follow up articles on Smashing Machine, or things I didn't address.

    • That film is a must watch for fans. It's old but just as important. Kerr was a roid machine for sure.

  • Nice read, a little short, nice nonetheless. keep it up Mr. 321

    • Cheers akieyugames ! Bed time cut the article short….lol

  • As a life long fan of martial arts I'm a huge fan of modern/ regulated MMA but find it hard to watch some of the very early fights… There is a KO from an early UFC with a fighter locked in crucifix and receiving 12-6 elbow after elbow until a late stoppage… Cant recall the fighters.

    Modern MMA is incombarable and an incredible sport… Great Article mate!

    I would say the only move still legal in MMA which I really don't agree with is Foot Stomping… If small joint manipulation is illegal, surely attempting to break minor bones in a foot is equally careless and carries the intent of lasting injury?

    • @Nimbleweed….thanks mate….That's actually a really great point that you raise regarding the foot stomps and something I hadn't even considered until you raised it….I'm with you on that, its very uncomfortable seeing those cheap shots because its so easy to break those small bones in the feet.

  • The rules are there to protect the fighters and so that the UFC can be more market-friendly, but does anyone else still miss pride rules? Whether it's 2 professionals or 2 drunks behind the bar, kicks and knees to a downed opponent are usually used in a fight. These rules make top position a lot less dangerous than it is in real life.