Tom Wright, an executive in charge of much of the international UFC area, sent a letter to the editor of the Herald Sun in Australia in response to an article titled “Ken Lay’s knockout bid.”
Wright sent in the letter, but it went unpublished according to a post on the UFC’s Australian Facebook page. The article, which ran on October 20, talked about the UFC and MMA in general not being a highly-regulated sport.
The UFC returns to Australia next month with UFC Fight Night 55, featuring Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping in the main event.
Here’s Wright’s letter:
I’m responding to the editorial comment, ‘Ken Lay’s knockout bid’, published by the Herald Sun on Monday, October 20, 2014.
I was extremely disappointed in reading comments suggesting that mixed martial arts is not a highly regulated sport and “celebrates a version of largely unchecked fighting inside the confines of a cage”. In fact, the opposite is true.
The UFC has an extensive set of rules and regulations including a list of over 32 fouls. UFC competitions are held in a fenced-in enclosure – our Octagon – a field of play that puts fighter safety first while also providing a fair and level playing field for the athletes. These are but two of the reasons why UFC has such an enviable safety record. The facts are that UFC bouts are safer than any combat sport, particularly boxing. In over 1,600 bouts, there has never been a life-threatening injury or fatality.
The UFC is global sport brand that organises competitions involving highly skilled and responsibly trained world-class professional athletes, who compete in a controlled environment where safety is paramount. This includes weight classes and equal competition to prevent mismatches, having trained referees and judges, consistent rules, standardised rounds, approved gloves, medical and drug testing and many other elements necessary to protect the health and safety of the UFC’s athletes.
It’s important to note that mixed martial arts is legal and regulated in the state of Victoria. The only affect of introducing a fenced-in enclosure for competition would be to greatly increase the safety of competing athletes.
I’d also like to address another factually incorrect comment made by the Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay, and echoed by your editorial, whereby you state that ‘cage fighting’ triggers or promotes street violence. Your perspective could not be further from the truth. The UFC does not condone any sort of street fighting and there is no evidence to support any link between the UFC and violence on the streets. In fact, the opposite is true. The UFC actively campaigns against bullying and other forms of anti-social behaviour.
Training and practicing martial arts can be very constructive as it teaches respect, honour, self-discipline and humility whilst also being a great way to have fun, keep fit and develop self-confidence.
– Tom Wright, UFC Managing Director Australia, Canada and New Zealand