Throughout news history, there have been numerous accounts of sports athletes committing unspeakable atrocities. O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Michael Vick was found guilty of dog fighting. However, it seems that for athletes who compete in MMA, or any other combat sport, the media factors it into their crimes. The hit-and-run by Jon Jones and War Machine’s assault and battery of ex-girlfriend Christy Mack are prime examples of this.
To be fair, the aforementioned MMA athletes are well-known in their own right. Maybe their MMA background is just a detail to report because it is what made them popular. But if MMA is not to blame for such crimes, why would media outlets in recent news express the fact that the Chattanooga, Tennessee shooter was in MMA? Is the media in fact trying to besmirch MMA?
Before analyzing if the media is in fact besmirching MMA, it is important to report that the Chattanooga, Tennessee shooter, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, had his past as a MMA fighter highlighted in the media. According to Mediate, CNN Tonight aired a video of Abdulazeez fighting in a MMA competition.
The Daily Caller followed-up on with more information on Muhammad Youssef Abdulaeez’s rather short MMA career, in which he competed in one fight against Timmy Hall at Chattanooga XFN II. Abdulazeez won by TKO in the second round. Such a detail does beg the question why Abdulazeez’s participation in MMA (or combat sports in general, since it was reported he was a wrestler in high school) even matters.
Unlike other competitive sports, MMA (or any combat sport) is based on taking on another in a fight, a scenario that usually happens for negative reasons out in the general public. Due to relevance, that is why the media will link MMA to a crime if there is some kind of connection. It comes down to the stigma that something associated with violence causes violence, kind of like the theory violent video games causes school shootings.
Some may feel it is very unfair to link just any crime to MMA if it is possible, but it just seems to happen because of how certain people view it. Will the general public accept CNN’s association of the terrorist shooting to MMA? Maybe or maybe not. Yet, the fact that CNN, or any media outlet, is willing to report that, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the crime, does say much.
[Image via Bill Shipley/Shipley Photo]