Just heard your tirade on the the 8 year olds cage fighting in the UK. I agree with what you said regards to the cage being safer than a ring and the fact that they were only wrestling and not striking etc.
From speaking to a lot of people here in England over the past few days, it is not the sport aspect of it that upset people. It is the fact that there were skimpily-clad ring girls and there was betting going on and alcohol for sale. It come across like a seedy, underground gypsy-like fight.
Personally, whilst i agreed with what you said in regards to the wreslting itself being perfectly fine, I think you might have missed the point of the story. And besides, the whole idea of cage fighting still carries a very big stigma in this country, especially to those over 40.
Anyway, just thought i would throw my twopenneth in.
Keep up the great work,
Just read the latest news update and wanted to send you a few notes on the current hoo-haa over here about that kids cage-fighting video. Much of the UK MMA community has, predictably, jumped all over the mistakes and shallow research that went into all the stories on this. As usual, it's people ranting and-a-raving about how the BBC are morons who don't understand the wonderful, pure sport of MMA, or in this case, grappling. However, most of the more intelligent people I speak to regularly on the UK scene are just mortified that some idiot would put this on his show since it so obviously looks utterly wrong. There's also a strong feeling the kid's family (the one focused on, anyway) came across terribly in all this. I'm a father and to see this numbskull explain that his son either did this or he'd be hanging out on street corners at night, vandalising things really, really angered me. This twerp made it seem as if there was nothing else inbetween, which is more an indictment of his parenting than anything else.
I've also spoken to several people who are completely outside the UK MMA scene who also feel that kids grappling is no big deal - we do have lots of kids judo over here, not to mention the usual traditional martial arts - but they all felt the setting wasn't just questionable, it was exploitative and disturbing. I write for Fighters Only, I've been watching MMA since '93 and I was still very, very concerned about this video. I've been in plenty of venues like the one on the video and they're often quite unpleasant places to be (if you've seen the film American Werewolf in London and the scene early on where they go into the pub, just imagine walking in as an 8-year-old who's about to have a 'fight').
Yes, the reporting of this has been sensationalist and talk of the police investigating what happened is a tad silly (albeit more understandable given some of the child protection issues that have made big news over here in the last couple of years) but this is far from just an ignorance-fuelled, media-created shit-storm, its a legitimate news story about parenting and exploitation.
And, if you want, feel free to quote me on anythig I've said.
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Just a quick note to say that you’ve been doing a great job this year. I’ve been subscribing now for more than ten years, and my interest in the newsletter greatly outstrips my interest in the actual wrestling product. I was one of those guys that you and Bryan have been talking about on the shows recently: 42 years old, fan forever, but hadn’t bought a WWE show since Benoit was champion. In recent years I’ve flowed in and out of WWE. I started watching again when Bret Hart returned for the first time, and by the time WM came around didn’t even buy the PPV because they’d killed my interest and I had had people over for the UFC the night before and no one wanted to come back on a Sunday. Didn’t watch again until hearing about the Punk promo, and catching the replay of that night’s Raw. Immediately set up a series record and bought the PPV and even the Punk t-shirt. Thought it was the best stuff I’d seen in WWE in more than a decade. Followed the Punk at San Diego and the baseball game and indy show with huge interest for a week, and then they killed it on that Raw with the tournament and the Vince/HHH stuff. Since that time it was downhill every single week. I skipped Summerslam and by the time they got to Nash I’d stopped watching again. I’ve watched football the last two weeks and can’t imagine that I’d pick up Raw again until January, if they get hot somehow (but even then, I think they’re likely to kill my interest in the Rock long before they get that match in the ring). So WWE got one PPV buy out of me, and one t-shirt sale, when I was geared to give them tons of my money. At one point I had actually thought about flying to Chicago for MitB, but I lost my nerve as I thought they’d screw it up and I’d regret spending the money. To take someone who was willing to spend maybe $1000 to see one match and drive them away in less than a month though still amazes me.
I still have a great time at wrestling when I go to an ROH or PWG show when I’m able to and work takes me to somewhere that they’re running, and I still watch pretty much anything UFC does, but WWE simply astounds me with their booking. As for TNA, I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even be bothered to read the episode recaps in the newsletter anymore.