Friday 9 December 2016

Until they change rules, MMA will never rise beyond level of grotesque spectacle

Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30

Conor McGregor takes some punishment from Nate Diaz during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. 'Once a man goes down to the floor in MMA, his opponent will then do his best to make sure he stays down – frequently through repeated use of elbow strikes to the head and face. It’s this element of extreme brutality which both attracts and disgusts people.' Pic: Mark Rebilas/Sportsfile
Conor McGregor takes some punishment from Nate Diaz during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. 'Once a man goes down to the floor in MMA, his opponent will then do his best to make sure he stays down – frequently through repeated use of elbow strikes to the head and face. It’s this element of extreme brutality which both attracts and disgusts people.' Pic: Mark Rebilas/Sportsfile

Since the astonishing rise of Conor McGregor from ordinary beginnings to the single biggest name in his chosen field, MMA has become the most controversial sport in this country.

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To the uninitiated, the average bout can look like nothing more than a brutal scrap outside a chipper at closing time. To the sport's many devotees, however, it is a sublime synthesis of a variety of martial arts and is a testament to the training, discipline and skill levels of the competitors.

But any calls for more understanding of the intricacies of the sport must fall on deaf ears following the death of the Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho yesterday.

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