There was a bit of buzz this week about Kyle Maynard, a cogential amputee who was born without arms or legs below the joints, who fought in an amateur MMA bout yesterday. He lost.
Nothing against Maynard, or anyone with a disability who wants to be a part of something they love, but when you see these pictures and read about the conditions in which the fight took place, it's hard to see how this in any way improves the reputation of mixed martial arts—especially among those who consider it just a step above a carnival sideshow.
Maynard lost in a unanimous decision, because the man he was fighting, Bryan Fry, refused (wisely) to get down and wrestle with him and Maynard was not even allowed to punch back. (He had planned to fight with gloves, but they wouldn't stay on his arms.) Fry, who was 0-2 before this fight, threw some punches from a standing position and won on points. The cage was outside, on a dirt and straw covered ground, with a couple hundred people milling around like they were on the midway.
Maynard was a high-school wrestler with a very respectable record, but it's hard to see how he could ever be considered a legitimate fighter without fists. I don't think it's some kind of discrimination to point that out. He couldn't engage a palooka at an outdoor ring in Alabama, a commission-less state that he had to fight in because Georgia wouldn't give him a license. Maynard says he will keep training and hopes to fight again and earn that license, but how will that ever happen? Most of the reports seem to express relief that he didn't get himself killed.
On the other hand, this is actually the argument for more regulation and legalization. MMA bouts (pro and amatuer) are still illegal in several states and many others lack proper enforcement of rules and safety procedures. That would probably mean Maynard would never be allowed in a sanctioned-match, but it would go a long way to dispelling the notion that sport is a wild west show where anything goes.
Kyle Maynard Loses by Unanimous Decision in Amateur MMA Debut [Cage Potato]
Maynard Loses, Leaves Cage Unscathed [Sherdog]
How Kyle Maynard did [Fight Linker]
Not legalizing MMA doesn't stop it, just makes it more dangerous [Cagewriter]