Based on my 10 years of martial arts training, I'm a strong yes:
There are all kinds of sports that some people find unseemly, from hunting or boxing to newer games like paintball. It’s not the state’s responsibility to determine whether such pastimes are good for the human spirit, but whether they can be practiced without risking public safety. Ultimate fighters have proven that they can do so by observing simple rules in a supervised environment. Therefore, the state should not ban these events but tightly regulate them, ensuring that those who do choose to "dance in the Octagon" are not putting themselves in unreasonable danger. (emphasis added)The argument provided for having UFC events in Illinois is good. But I'll toss out a couple more:
- Only UFC branded events are banned in Illinois. The UFC will not hold events that are not sanctioned by the the Illinois Athletic Commission. Other mixed-martial arts events -- caged and otherwise -- have taken place after being granted waivers. This bizarre brand-specific ban prohibits fans in Illinois from seeing the major MMA promotion but does nothing to stop caged combat from occurring.
- Between 1998 and 2006, there were 70 recorded boxing related deaths. By contrast, in the history of MMA, there has been only one fatality directly attributable to competition. That lone death occurred after an unregulated 1998 match in Kiev, Ukraine.
Then do the opposite.