Datsik Style

23:45 Fri 24 Aug 2007. Updated: 23:28 03 Nov 2010
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Mixed Martial Arts fighting, in the US especially the United Fighting Championship, has been gaining a lot of popularity recently. Presented here for your edification is an argument against its taking itself too seriously… Viacheslav Datsik

Datsik highlights.
Datsik versus Arlovski.

I probably shouldn’t make fun of it, especially since the whole thing is increasingly like gladatorial combat. The circus part of bread and circuses. Then again, in the United States, we already have American Football, and I suspect the lifespans of ex-pro football players are less than those of MMA fighters.

Are MMA fights worse than, say, boxing? Boxing certainly has more of a civilized veneer, probably because of all those things you’re not allowed to do. And the gloves, sure. But the gloves may make things worse for the participants in the long run, and the rules about no kicking, etc., are simply arbitrary—what makes a fight without kicking more ‘civilized’ than a fight with kicking?

Incidentally, I came across a competitive karate variant, Kyokushin kaikan, which in certain respects is like the anti-boxing… you can’t punch to the head, but you can kick (or knee) to the head. Its fights look oddly “civilized” too, and quite weird.

I’ve never quite figured out what I think about these sports. I used to be a boxing fan when I was a lot younger, and I still admire the skill involved, but the bloodlust (particularly the institutionalized aspect of it) makes me uncomfortable. So does the corruption and the attendant parasites who make vast amounts of money stealing from (sorry, I should say “managing”) the often young and naive fighters they’re involved with. (I have my doubts, for example, that Mike Tyson managed all by himself to lose all three hundred million dollars he earned over his career before he had to declare bankruptcy.)

At root, however, what you’re talking about is a voluntary activity two people undertake. I can certainly claim, with some justification, that economic pressures are critical here and that the agents are not as free as they seem—but I can never fully rule out their own agency, or their right to make these economic choices even if they are in an economically-coercive situation.

Those arguments and conflicts remind me of another area where similar moral issues appear to arise: prostitution.

(Oh, and while the linked clips—and by extension me also as I’m linking to them—make fun of Datsik, it’s not like I, or any of you dear readers, would find him humorous if we wound up in a cage fight with him…)

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