One of the big local stories of the week has been the arrest of UFC fighter Conor McGregor on multiple charges for attacking a bus filled with other fighters with a hand truck. Ordinarily, in circumstances like this I would crack a joke like 'the hand truck, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age', but this incident sticks in my craw. Two fighters are unable to compete due to injuries sustained in the incident.
I'm a fighter, and I coach children in judo classes. As odd as it seems, there has to be a moral component to potentially dangerous sports- we stress fair play and concern for each others' welfare. Most importantly, keep the brawling in the ring, on the mat, in the dojo. McGregor cheap-shotted a bunch of unsuspecting persons with a potentially deadly improvised weapon, and two people were injured, and it affected their livelihoods. It's one thing to knock somebody's ass sideways in a match (injuries happen, they are even to be expected), but this was stupid and craven.
Years ago, when mixed martial arts were just gaining in popularity,somebody asked sensei (the large, formidable gentleman in the right background of this picture) what he thought of MMA, and I will never forget his response: "It lacks warmth." In our dojo, there is a welcoming atmosphere, an emphasis on learning together, on improving together. Anyone who would think to assault another player would be sent packing. Every once in a while, a parent will ask me about the safety of our sport, and the standard answer I have come to make is: "Look at how many of us have gray hair, or no hair, and are still playing the sport. This isn't true of most contact sports." Not having assholes in the dojo is a big factor in our longevity as players. I know McGregor is involved in a different, but related sport. He's not the norm- most fighters are good people, you can pick them out on the subway, and we like to talk, sometimes even having friends in common (usually Gentle Jimmy G). Stupid, gratuitously violent bullshit affects all of us negatively, and McGregor really, really messed up- hopefully, the governing body of the UFC will sanction him, but I suspect that the monied interests won't do so because notoriety tends to bring in cash.