John McCain
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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Violence, Money, and John McCain

When I think about late Sen. John McCain’s legacy within the realm of combat sports, the first thing that comes to mind, perhaps not surprisingly, is an episode of “The Simpsons.” In it, Marge lobbies to get violence taken off of TV because of its negative influence on children. After she writes a letter urging the network to “please try to tone down the psychotic violence in your otherwise fine programming,” the hyper-violent Itchy & Scratchy Show gets hilariously bowdlerized. Instead of finding new and exciting ways to brutally murder each other, the cartoon cat and mouse gently sway back and forth on rocking chairs drinking lemonade. Of course, to the relief of the children, the violence would soon return, more psychotic and psychedelic than ever.

McCain’s most infamous contribution to MMA discourse was referring to it as “human cockfighting” in 1997. A year prior, he saw a tape of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and said it was “barbaric” and “not a sport.” He wrote letters to the governors of all 50 states asking them to ban the sport. When McCain became the chairman of the commerce committee, which oversaw the cable TV industry, the major cable operators at the time stopped airing UFC events because they were “too violent for children.” I know what you’re thinking, and, yes, the UFC was only available on pay-per-view at the time, so it was a nonsensical rationale, but reason often has no place when corporations are currying favor from Washington…


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