MMA is different from other sports. Not in the level of violence or even media criticism, but in how it is covered and reported.
Open the local paper and you will see break downs, stats and predictions for just about every other legitimate sport, except mixed martial arts.
The vast majority of major metropolitan newspapers don't seem too interested in releasing fighter interviews or event results, or even advertising the fights to begin with.
To be a fan of mixed martial arts you have to have a certain level of dedication. To understand the game, you have to pay attention. The answers don't being and end with Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson. It is too hard to be an armchair MMA fan.
For the most part, you either understand mixed martial arts or you don't.
When former UFC light heavyweight champ Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was arrested earlier this week, the Internet media was flooded with reports. Soon after MMA forums were filled with everyone's two cents. Not just fans of the game, but every chuckle head that can effectively hunt-and-peck on a QWERTY keyboard their short hand text-messaging lingo.
And, granted, this is to be expected. Then "the pros" decided to put in their angle on what transpired and how it affects mixed martial arts as a whole. By pros I mean people that appear on any of the dozen ESPN channels and their affiliates.
One question in particular stood out: How does this affect mixed martial arts
Answer: This is the worst thing that could have happened to mixed martial arts.
Anyone regular to this forum doesn't quite understand that answer, until you stop and realize that the person saying it has probably never seen a fight.
Reports are that Rampage will be undergoing psychological evaluation and to critics this means that a crazy man is competing in a violent sport.
For some reason the critics have chosen to forget about incidents including, but not limited to Mike Tyson, Chris Benoit, Michael Vick (yes, dog fighting is a product of mental illness), Pacman Jones, Mark Chimura and any the other hundreds of professional athletes that have been arrested and convicted of a crime.
However, it seems that when a fighter in mixed martial arts commits a crime, it is a worst case scenario and evidence of how mentality unbalanced and brutal competitors are.
Let's call this what it is: an incident.
It happened. It is unfortunate that it happened and it is lucky that no one was seriously injured. Rampage has evidently taken his loss to current UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin very hard and had a difficult time coming to grips with defeat.
These things happen with stockbrokers, postal workers and bus drivers, too, but people still buy stock, buy stamps and ride the bus. A fighter having a break down is the same as anyone else, it is just because they are in the public eye that everything is more severe.
This is not a black mark on MMA (Kimbo is a black mark on MMA). It is a person having a break down who happens to be a fighter. Let's leave it at that.