Please email this guy

Thumbs down on mixed martial arts in Michigan

December 15, 2007

I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.

I'm talking about taking a stance for or against mixed martial arts events, which may soon become legal in Michigan with competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

As a boxing writer, I'm no stranger to blood and guts. I've watched boxers bust up an opponent, break his (or her) nose, crack ribs, rip open a gash over an eye with a sharp jab or thumping right hand.

Boxing can be brutal, even barbaric, if there is a blatant mismatch.

On Thursday, Detroit cruiserweight Damon (Bulldog) McCreary went to work on poor Salah Zabian of Las Vegas in their bout in Dearborn. McCreary, a banger, cut Zabian above the left eye, ending the bout. Later, teenager Vernon (Iceman) Paris pounded into submission a brave but less-talented Kevin Carmody of Philadelphia to win the junior welterweight championship.

There's no question that boxing is dangerous, like football and motor racing. But at every fight night I attend, there's also an example of why I respect the sport, which my late father and uncle participated in as young men.

The jab, the left hook, the uppercut and straight right, delivered in combination, with silky grace; the parrying, the weaving, the nimble footwork -- a ballet with leather gloves and mouth guards; the hugs afterward, when the boxers embrace following the fight.

I'm also impressed by the majority of officiating at the bouts I cover. Most referees remain firmly in control, and there always are two doctors at ringside, and a number of state officials and paramedics, with an ambulance standing by.

We have deaths in boxing, which is horrible, but the aim of the sport is still to score enough points to win, with a knockout a possibility.

From what I've seen of various mixed martial arts matches on TV, the object of the contest is to inflict serious punishment on the opponent with fists, elbows, feet and forearms, much like a pub brawl.

In the crowd are folks screaming for blood, hoping for an injury. The referee and officials seem more content in observing what a good knee to the stomach can do than watching out for the fighter's welfare.

The fighters are brave and skilled, but I don't see it as "the sweet science," which boxing has been called. I understand eye-gouging is illegal and biting is outlawed in mixed martial arts, but that's about it.

Sorry, but I'm giving the thumbs down to mixed martial arts in Michigan -- cage fighting, extreme fighting, Pride fighting, whatever flavors it comes in.

If we don't stop it now, sooner or later we'll be passing legislation for gladiator contests -- fights to the death, with the fate of the participants in the hands of the audience or those at home watching the Ultimate Reality Show.

Contact MIKE BRUDENELL at 313-222-2115 or

Yeah. This guy just sounds stupid. How is it that he sees our society going from MMA matches where it is extremely rare for fighters to get hurt to "gladiator contests to the death". What a moron.

I emailed him...this guy is even dumber than you would think by that
article. Mind you, I was so amazed by this guy's ignorance that I took
the time to email him from Vegas, while typing on my little iPhone.
Below is my initial email to him:


I just got done reading your article on MMA being legalized in
Michigan, and must tell you how disappointed I was to read your views.
I am guessing by what you wrote that you have never: 1. Taken the
time to attend an MMA event live. Or, 2. Sit down and actually talk to a
mixed martial artist, referee or judge.

You claim that MMA is brutal and barbaric (there have been ZERO
deaths from MMA), yet you pass off the hundreds of deaths from
boxing as just an "unfortunate" happening. I'm having a hard time
finding justification in spending 15-20 minutes listing all the FACTS
you failed to research in an article that probably took you 5 minutes to
think up, research and write. However, HAD you spoken to anyone in
the sport or done even half an hour of research, you would have found
it educational.

MMA fighters take far less physical abuse than boxers. Have you ever
heard the slurred speech of an experienced boxer???? In MMA, fighters
are allowed to punch, kick or, if need be, take the fight to the ground
and grapple. However, boxers are limited to multiple blows to the head
and are penalized for protecting themselves in the clinch. In boxing
you are not allowed "to give up" and fighters are repeatedly stood up
after getting knocked down.

In MMA, with the first sign of a fighter not being able to protect
himself intelligently a fight is stopped. If a fighter is being
overpowered in a submission hold, they more than likely will choose to
"tap out" with no permanent damage and go on to fight another day.
No submission hold causes instant, bone snapping damage as you
sensationalized in your article. I assure you the referees number one
goal is fighter safety. If anything, the majority of times refs are
criticized for stopping a fight too early, rather than not soon enough.
I'm not sure where you got the idea of the refs and judges wanting to
see the fights go on "until the death"...maybe you watched Gladiator
and got mixed up.

I won't even get into the amount of training that goes into preparing
for a single fight. Boxing, kick boxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, cardio and
weights are all a daily routine. What you refer to as barbaric, is truely
more like a chess match. Each move is important to not give your
opponent an advantage.

Finally, I promise you if and when Detroit sanctions MMA and brings
the UFC to the Motor City, it will be one of the biggest money makers
since the Superbowl. The days of referring to MMA as a bloodsport, or
barbaric human cock-fighting are long gone my friend. That was 1993.
Guess what? Its 14 years later. The real "news" story now is how states
with struggling economies can bring the fastest growing sport in to
help local business and raise extra revenue.

Thank you for your time,

Angelo Popofski

Below is his response to my email and points. Notice how he fails to
list any kind of argument or facts, but just points out the some obvious
facts about MMA and boxing:


Thanks for the email. I respect your views, though I still believe MMA
to be an
activity based on creating as much hurt as possible to an opponent.

By the way, there have been serious injuries and, I think, at least one
death in
MMA contests. And remember, boxing has been around in its modern
form since the
1880s-1890s, and conducted in every country, and participated in by
many, many
more men and women than MMA (the long-term effects of the blows
will surface in
the years ahead when studies are completed and fighters age).

The object of boxing is to hit and not be hit. The object over MMA is to
kick and/or choke an opponent into submission, by KO or hold. On the
ground or

I know how well-conditioned and highly trained MMA fighters are.
They would make
wonderful Navy Seals or Israeli special forces personnel. And they are
more than
likely fine human beings.

Bottom line: they are entertainers who are being used by networks and
to satisfy our growing lust for violent TV-related programming. I enjoy
arts and the focus and strength it can offer a person. Cage fighting,
fighting -- they're for folks who like to see pain inflicted on others but
have the cajoles to get in the ring themselves.


I couldn't leave it at that and wrote him back again, LOL:


What?? Though I greatly appreciate your response to my email, it
makes even less sense then your article.

I know exactly what the purpose and object of MMA is compared to
boxing, but I'm not sure how your response to my point further
enforces your views. There was a death of a ighter years ago and

The data IS in... Fight doctors have all spoken to states and have shown
that MMA'ers take FAR less abuse than boxers. Thats why it is gettinf
sanctioned all across the country. You never responded to my points
and proof on how boxing is much more damaging to a fighter. Yes, the
purpose of MMA is to inflict "pain" on your oppenent. But, so is boxing
isnt it? Why are boxer's hands taped up and gloved so heavily?? It's not
to protect the fighter getting hit. It's to keep fighter's hands protected
and harder so they can deliver 12 rounds of trauma to another human
being's brain. MMA gloves are 4 ounces of padding, so it is really not
possible to hit a hard human skull over and over. Chokes in MMA are
blood chokes, which though it could cause a person to pass out, will
cause no damage once released. Also, championship fights in MMA
can be 3 or 5 rounds of 5 minutes and normal matches are 2 or 3
rounds of 5 minutes. How can you tell me that is going to cause more
damage than 12 rounds of blunt force trauma to the brain? Aren't most
CONTACT sports based on some concept of violence? How about
football? And should we even talk about hockey?

As the sport grows and gains support from educated people and
companies, fighters are signing multi-fight contracts for large sums of
money. I don't think they feel taken advatage of as you say. What did
Don King do to fighters like Mike Tyson? That is an example of
someone being taken advatage of. Yet people still pay him millions to
promote fights.

I thought the responsibility of people in your position is to investigate
issues, then form an educated position based on the facts. Your
research was done on what? Watching one or two fights on TV? Again,
you have an open invite to come to our gym and sit down with some
fighters and really get to know the sport.

This is what I sent him.


I have read your article and can say that I disagree with you totally on your view of Mixed Martial Arts. I think your view point is without doing any research or you wouldn't have made the statements you have made. Do you really think Mixed Martial Arts being legal is Michigan is a bad thing with everything else going on in the State of Michigan? So, what I would like to do is to dare you to a simple game of facts. Below I have a list of boxers that have died in boxing since 1993. I made this list in a very short time frame. Actually, it took me minutes. I'll give you a week if you want to match my list of boxers that have died in boxing with Mixed Martial Artist hat have died from Mixed Martial Art competitions. If it is so dangerous and this dangerous Gladiator blood fest like you depict I'm sure it won't be a problem. I picked 1993 since that is when Mixed Martial Arts basically started in the US. Show me which sport is the real sport that has "fights to the death".

• Pedro "El Rockero" Alcázar
• Felix Bwalya
• Leavander Johnson
• Johnny Montantes
• James Murray
• Kevin Payne
• Brad Rone
• Martín Sánchez
• Angelito "Lito" Sisnorio Jr
• Luis Villalta
• Robert Napunyi Wangila
• Becky Zerlentes

Brad Burrick"

Nice work Brad!

The Detroit Free Press is just not a good newspaper. This fool just reinforces my impression that all the people that work for them are idiots. The one guy that I personally know that works for them is an absolute arrogant ass. Maybe it is just part of the culture there. Your effort to get this imbecile to be more open-minded is appreciated, but he sounds too stubborn to change his know-it-all mind/attitude.