War Machine nearly kills his ex-girlfriend. Former UFC fighter Josh Grispi threatens to have his dog attack his wife. Thiago Silva stalks his ex with a handgun. Dana White rants about a female journalist. To the average Joe, it might seem like the sport of MMA has a problem with how it treats women.
And mainstream news site Salon.com just happens to have some average Joe’s writing for it, some of them more than willing to grab for the low-hanging fruit. Take writer Tracy Clark-Flory’s latest piece for example.
Just the title alone gives a clear indication of the author’s stance: “‘He Sawed Off My Hair With a Dull Knife:’ The Horrific Misogyny of ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ Culture”.
Yes, there has been some awful violence perpetrated against females by members of the MMA community lately, and the incidents have deservedly gotten a lot of press. The author lists them, going into depth with Christy Mack’s description of what transpired between her and War Machine on August 8. But the author adds:
Mixed martial arts has a long-standing domestic violence problem, too — and that’s the least of it. This case reveals the sport’s link to a brand of toxic masculinity that is evident in the worst examples of current misogyny…
Now hold on a second. Wives and girlfriends (and even strangers) are on a daily basis subject to all manner of ills thanks to the bad intentions of men all over, but statistically, is MMA worse than, say, what pro football players have been guilty of? Or boxers? Truthfully, there is no data to indicate that MMA is proportionally worse in how its culture treats women than any other sport.
In fact, of MMA’s handful of current superstars, one of its most prominent is a female (Ronda Rousey – duh). How could a sport that is supposedly bad towards females have at its apex a member of the fairer sex?
“This mentality certainly isn’t unique to MMA, but it is remarkably essential to that world,” says Clark-Flory, but methinks the female doth protest too much. Or, at the very least, her Google searches failed to bring up the explosion of female MMA in recent years.
Does MMA have a misogyny problem? No. It has a few bad eggs though – eggs who’d be bad regardless of whatever athletic endeavor they undertook. To say otherwise is just be trolling for clicks.