UFC 193: Ronda Rousey not the only one knocked out by Sunday's events - how has it come to this?
Twitter got it right.
"UFC?" one of the Twitterati commented. "They should have called it WTF!"
Exactly. That will be the reaction of most people when they get a close-up look at the video of what happened in the so-called "Ultimate Fighting Championship", which took place in Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Sunday, in front of a record-breaking 56,000 spectators. Just 59 seconds into the second round, American woman Holly Holm unleashes a left-foot kick to the head of undefeated champion Ronda Rousey, to go with the series of fearful left hooks that have already repeatedly snapped her head back and cut her lip.
As the foot connects, Rousey goes down like a sack of spuds, albeit one with brain trauma. Holm then falls upon Rousey's prone form and gives her another couple of smacks to the head for good measure.
The referee calls off the fight, Holm is declared the winner, and new World Bantamweight champion, the UFC world rejoices, and . . .
The red flashing lights? Aw, don't worry about that. That is Rousey, after also receiving stitches to her split lip, being taken to hospital. She was still too out of it to even think of making the post-fight press conference, but I'm sure she'll be all right. Forget her, I say! Focus on the spectacle, think of the $9 million that came from the gate alone!
And listen to the words of UFC boss Dana White as he exults, after first giving us a report on the patient: "Ronda was transported (to hospital) because she got knocked out. Obviously she's completely bummed out and depressed ... These are the moments in fighting that make it so crazy and so fun."
I beg to differ.
To my eyes, there was nothing fun about it. It was nothing more than appalling brutality and I simply don't understand how we have come to this; how, while so many other sports are becoming safer as the shocking consequences of repeated concussions are better understood, UFC appears to get free rein, even as the people roar.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that women are involved. It would be every bit as repulsive if it was men kicking each other in the head, and falling upon each other to get another couple of blows into their unconscious form. (And you know it: if exactly that happened in any other sport, the perpetrators would be banned for life.)
And yes, you're also right, there are plenty of sports where concussion can result. But it is only in sports like boxing and UFC that concussion is the aim of the game, with a KO being the ultimate prize. At least in boxing there are strict protocols which apply. Again, any boxer who fell upon an already felled opponent to get another couple of blows in would never box again.
But not in UFC. Like the famed fight in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the main rule appears to be that there are no rules, at least none to spoil the sheer bloody brutality of it.
This column will draw ire and fire from those who maintain there is nothing wrong with it, that it is a completely fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
It's not. It is supporting an activity that will inevitably leave many, and maybe most, of its participants with appalling brain damage that they and their families will have to cope with, long after the carnival has moved on. I have seen up close the results of such "sporting" brain damage, and the memory haunts me still.
How have Australian authorities allowed UFC to go on, and flourish, on our soil?
I simply have no idea.