A good friend of mine is getting married this weekend. And, as an occassional reader of this blog, he was fervent in his desire to see some Mixed Martial Arts-related content. In fact, my invitation to his upcoming nuptials may have been contingent on some MMA content appearing on Nunc Scio at some point before his getting hitched.
This posed a bit a of a problem. Namely, I know next to nothing about the exciting world of sweaty men pummeling each other into submission inside a cage-like ring known simply as "The Octagon". The finer points of MMA technique are largely lost on me. I can offer little insight into who has the best chance of winning the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) this year. But in my preliminary research, I noticed somthing odd: MMA in general, and the UFC in particular, is banned in Ontario. That means no live ultimate fighting for our province's hardcore fans.
Why? Well, because the licensing authorities have taken the view that it is illegal. According to section 83 of the Canadian Criminal Code, "prize fighting" is against the law, except in:
"A boxing contest between amateur sportsmen, where the contestants wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and 40 grams each in mass, or any boxing contest held with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board or commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the legislature of a province for the control of sport within the province, shall be deemed not to be a prize fight."
This seems strange to me for two reasons. First, the fact that boxing- a sport every bit as violent as MMA- is given an exception smacks of hypocrisy. In the end, all of these sports are about hitting other people. Once you allow one, reason dictates you allow all of them. Second, this strikes me as the kind of law that protects exactly no one from nothing.
To explain: if two stout gentlemen both freely enter an octagonal ring for the purpose of assaulting one another, accepting all associated risks, then we should let them. And, similarly, if a crowd of people want to pay money to watch it, they should also be permitted to part with their hard-earned luchre for a night of bloody violence. If someone is injured or (goodness forbid) killed, then he has no one to blame but himself. If you watch more than 30 seconds of a MMA bought, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that maming or death is a very likely outcome.
By banning MMA, the Government of Ontario presumes to tell us two things: they won't allow us to hurt ourselves even if we want to, and more problematic, only they know the best ways for us to incur bodily injury. Both of these things seem to impinge dangerously on the realm of individual liberty, and that's not right.
So, for the sake of freedom, logic, and a good kick in the face, legalize MMA. Let the prospective combatants fight if they want to. You'll be doing our democracy a favour, and will make my friend very, very happy.