The sport of mixed martial arts has come a long way since the early "bare-knuckle" days of UFC 1. Through the hard work and patience of many countless pioneers, the vast majority of the population now considers MMA a legitimate sport.
Unfortunately, "haters" still exist.
One of the most widely repeated reasons for that hatred is that, despite regulation in almost every U.S. state, some believe that the sport is just too gruesome.
At UFC 146, the gruesome outcome of the heavyweight bout between Cain Velasquez and Antonio "Big Foot" Silva only served to help make the case for those who would prefer that MMA stay a niche sport.
Early in that contest, Velasquez used his elbow to strike and open up a gash on Silva's forehead. The wound immediately began pouring blood in what looked more like a horror movie scene than a sporting contest.
Should elbows be banned in MMA?
The fight was momentarily stopped while the cageside doctor inspected the laceration. After a close examination, the bout was allowed to continue.
Unfortunately for Silva, with blood puddling up in his eye sockets, he was a sitting duck as Velasquez teed off on him with fists of fury. The referee eventually stepped in and called a stop to the violence.
Imagine the controversy that would be circulating the sports universe right now if that fight had taken place on FOX rather than pay-per-view.
Silva's face and the stained mat surrounding his body were evidence of the cold, hard fact that this is still a fight.
It was also a reminder of why so many international mixed martial arts organizations, such as Pride, had banned elbows in the past.
While Velasquez's dominance at UFC 146 was undeniable, there have been many instances in the past where a cut from an elbow has caused a frustrating, early stop to a fight.
UFC 146 isn't likely to change anything, but the outcome certainly begs the question—should elbows be banned in mixed martial arts?
Arguments can and will be made for both sides of this argument, so I'd like to hear from you, the reader and the avid fan of the sport.
What do you think? Do elbows take away from the legitimacy of the sport? Do they end fights too quickly when fans want the fights to continue?
Or are those who are complaining about it simply being too "PG?"
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.