This Guy Proves Anyone with a Keyboard can be Stupid

I don’t know if Leanord Shapiro is a blogger or whether his work appears in the Washington Post on a regular basis.
What I do know is that this post about Mixed Martial Arts and CBS is absolutely ridiculous and worthless.

Nor do I have any idea what “ Special to washingtonpost.com” means. Does it mean that this is exclusive to the newspaper’s website ? My guess is that in this case it actually describes Mr Shapiro’s reduced faculties and no one wants to use a pejorative adjective. Hence the use of the word “special”.

What I do know is that Mr Shapiro is hopelessly out of touch, and unquestionably uneducated about Mixed Martial Arts and the athletes that participate when he says “You put two guys (usually heavily tattooed) in a ring enclosed by a cage, surrounded by a howling mob, and just watch the blood flow as they pummel themselves into submission, or occasionally break a bone or three. That’s entertainment?”

The he shows his sexist side with ” Oh yes, women will also fight it out on CBS, yet another revolting development.”

Then to show how little mis-informed he is ” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is getting involved, promoting MMA matches and also airing them on his HDNet channel on DirecTV. For that alone David Stern ought to fine and suspend him. He probably yells at those refs, too “.

Hey Leanord, HDNet is on every smart cable and satellite provider reaching more than 66mm homes. But if you get us on DirecTV, thats great. Maybe you should actually try watching one of our MMA events, or Inside MMA on Friday Nights on HDNet. You might learn what MMA fans have come to love about the sport. Its one of strategy, discipline, athleticism and determination. What I really love about MMA is that anyone can be beaten on any given day. Its not a cliche. The number of undefeated fighters at the top of the ranks are few and far between and even those fighters will tell you it would be tough to stay undefeated. More importantly, the top fighters in the sport from Randy Couture, to Fedor, to St Pierre, to Silva to Jackson and more want to fight the best. Thats what makes this, and any sport fun. Recognizing the best striving to be the best.

To your question “So why is it that nearly any time I happen to surf past the Spike or Showtime cable networks that currently carry MMA events, the combatants are beating the bloody bejabbers out of each other?”

Maybe rather than surfing past the fights, you should actually watch one. Or better yet, since you apparently cover Football, talk to a player on the Redskins or better yet, the team doctor and ask them if they “beat the bloody bejabbers out of each other”. Then ask them this, “are there automatic suspensions for any hints of concussions or injury after every game or simply for precautionary reasons ?” There are after every fight in MMA

In fact, the argument can easily be made that MMA is far more science and humane than boxing has been. In MMA a fighter must know multiple disciplines in order to be successful. In MMA, a fighter need not fight until he or she is knocked out. Unlike the shame of “throwing in the towel” or “No Mas” its acceptable to tapout and avoid injury when a fighter is beaten.

Furthermore, to refer to MMA fans as ” a howling mob ” further proves your ignorance.

I could go on and on about MMA. Its always easy to dismiss what you don’t understand. As you prove.

MMA is easily the fastest growing sport in America. Participation is growing with kids starting classes as young as 6. Its this generation’s equivalent to karate classes for kids of previous generations. Which makes the prospects for MMA even more exciting. Today’s crop of athletes started by learning a single discipline and then adding others. Future generations will learn them all and add their own enhancements. The best is yet to come.

64 thoughts on “This Guy Proves Anyone with a Keyboard can be Stupid

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  5. \”special to\” does mean freelance. Len Shapiro is old (50+) and was at one time a full time staffer for the WashPost. He covered the Redskins and was their NFL writer for a time. I assume he took some sort of buy-out, and now does freelance work for the paper in his increasingly spare time.

    Comment by Colin Fitzgibbons -

  6. I grew up with boxing (my father always said he won the golden gloves competition, although I never saw any proof of it).
    I found that I was really getting into wrestling (pro) until I figured out they really knew who was going to win BEFORE they went into the ring.
    Then along came full contact karate, and then the UFC.
    There is no comparison that can be made, with the exception that each one is done mano e mano (or one on one).
    The one thing I have noticed is that Pro-wrestlers are deserting the ranks to be in something real.
    The sport is still relatively new (to the public at large),I feel this sport will grow when the public realizes that this is the real deal. John

    Comment by Hollywood Hills Real Estate -

  7. Well said Mark. This man knows nothing of MMA and never will. Some people will never understand the beauty of the sport and that is their problem. MMA is growing at a rapid pace in both participation and spectators, if guys like Leonard Shapiro can\’t accept that they will simply be left in the past.

    Comment by Ben -

  8. I agree with MikeMC – MMA has the same problems you claim newspaper blogs have. There are no ways to differentiate between UFC, HD Net Fights, International Fight League.

    Comment by Cheap Laptop Computer Blog -

  9. Love MMA, Mark. It\’s the boxing of our generation. It\’s athletic, strategic and vastly more entertaining than one might imagine. I only wish we got HDNet here on Cox Cable in the middle of Oklahoma.🙂 Although, I did hear on the Bob Costas Show you say something about a lot of the programming being online.

    Comment by Ryan -

  10. As a female, technique and strategy are far more appealing than beating the snot out of someone in front of a \”howling mob\” and frankly I\’m tired of people being sexist when it comes to contact sports. MMA is a very exciting and rewarding sport for both males and females.

    Good job for calling him out on that Mark.

    Comment by Bobbi Miller -

  11. \”MMA just might draw on the slowest night of the week on network television, once the CBS domain of Bob Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart.\” is my favorite line from Shapiro\’s article.

    Comment by Morgan -

  12. That just goes to show you what a feeble minded non-observant reporter this dweeb is. I love MMA and have been watching and training for about 8 years now. At first some people are overwhelmed with the perceived violence. Once you understand the sport you can watch it and understand the slight nuances of style. This guys needs some education before spewing off trash like this article in the Post.

    Comment by Glen Hughes -

  13. Thats probably an interesting point concerning this subject. Such information should be accessible to the wider public. http://www.truckersservices.com

    Comment by edith -

  14. There is a guy by that name who is, or at least was, a sports agent. No idea if it\’s the same guy

    Comment by Cansu Demirci Gizem Gven -

  15. I\’m not a huge fan of MMA, but I follow it occasionally, and feel like the biggest selling points are the accessibility of the stars (unlike boxing), the general absence of governing body and promoter crookedness, and the balls-to-the-wall feel which seems to include an acceptable, enjoyable degree of showmanship without the stigma of pro wrestling.

    I followed full-contact karate in its early days: Bill Wallace was a personal idol. But except for the elite few, the athletes were not as well-conditioned as boxers. That is NOT true of today\’s MMA fighters; they are the real goods. I think Shapiro is just knee-jerking it here.

    Comment by Tim Flynn -

  16. While Shapiro may be a little over the hill, he makes valid points for those of us who don\’t condone fighting, including boxing, and would rather TV focus its sight elsewhere. I find nothing entertaining about two men fighting it out, whether for bloodsport or money. I can\’t understand why anyone else would.

    Comment by Dan -

  17. broadcasting MMA in movie theatres might get it more into the mainstream. when an average moviegoer who is oblivious to the popularity of MMA sees that the one screen that is sold out is for the MMA event they might ask what it is and figure out it\’s something worth checking out next time.

    today\’s nytimes headline:
    \”At Cineplexes, Sports, Opera, Maybe a Movie\”
    article (reg required):
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/business/media/23multi.html

    although it criticizes the landmark theatres technical glitches of a recent sports simulcast it fails to forget that at the infancy stages of broadcast television and movie theatres they each had technical glitches as well.

    this is the future, as your experiment with your landmark theatres broadcast of the sampras-federer masg match attests you are trying/blazing a trail. i don\’t know what your attendance figures were, but i would guess you priced yourselves out of many more sales by charging 20 bucks per ticket. maybe down the line raising prices for specialty events like sports would work, but to entice first time customers to a new venture that they\’ve never tried, i would guess keeping the price the same as a movie ticket at the same theatre would have been the way to go, even at a one time loss (selling ancillaries at the theatre the way rock concerts do could be a great revenue booster).

    obviously costs may have been the main reason for the 20 dollar ticket price, but not raising the price could\’ve been a good loss leader to generate word of mouth for future sports broadcasts (mavs playoff games in dallas, etc.).

    do not give up on this idea, all that needs to be fine tuned is how to best avoid technical problems, what secondary services to provide, marketing and a best price. these can be figured out by trial and error.

    good luck

    Comment by db -

  18. hey Mark why do you even care what this guy writes? You\’re a Billionaire!!! Besides there is no such thing as bad publicity 🙂

    Comment by darryl -

  19. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/crowdnoise/2008/03/mma_fans_foaming_at_the_mouth.html

    washpost on the column

    Comment by Anonymous -

  20. Mr. Cuban,

    Your recent blog post was surely enlightening. More specifically to the point of your ignorance and distaste of opinions that are differently based from your own.

    I somehow find it hard to believe, Mr. Cuban, that you: a billionaire Basketball team owner, have any justification for verbally bashing a well respected reporter in the field of sports journalism.

    The title of your blog is misleading, Mr. Cuban.

    The NFL Hall of Fame disagrees with it and The Pulitzer nomination board disagrees with it. Just to name a short list of organizations that have honored Mr. Shapiro for some of his work.

    You, Mr. Cuban, perhaps belong in the MMA \”octagon.\” Your countless acts of verbal aggression that borderline assault toward NBA officials and referees REALLY encourages sportsmanship and plain ol\’ manners in the world of professional business, if that is exactly what you think yourself as: a professional.

    If so: your actions disagree with you.

    As for you contention that MMA is sport replete with \”professionals\” who appreciate the \”strategy,\” and \”discipline,\”
    I must disagree with you.

    I\’ll be very hard convinced that \”athletes\” like Kimbo Slice are \”professional\” in any respect except for the injury and maiming of his opponents.

    Something tells me he offers society nothing more than a dirtied rap sheet and the ability to promote senseless rage in to the maleable minds of our country\’s youth.

    Though perhaps you might know something about being a role model yourself, Mr. Cuban, as you seem to display the attitude that \”I have more money than you THATS why I can act like a huge Asshole by yelling at Refs who make \”bad\” calls.\”

    You astound me, Mr. Cuban. But I suppose I shouldn\’t have expected anything less.

    I mean, perhaps you\’re right: MMA must be legitimate! It\’s filling the important employment needs of ex-convicts who need some quick cash after getting out of the slammer.

    In closing, Mr. Cuban, i\’ll agree with you a couple aspects.

    People, including well established journalists PAID for their opinions, are entitled to believe or disbelieve whatever they chose.

    And secondly: you are again, spot on, Mr. Cuban.

    Your post clearly indicates any Tom, Dick, or Jerk, such as yourself, can Rant on their own Web Blog because they\’re feelings get hurt when a sport they support financially is exposed for what it is: uncaged aggression being displayed for
    the uncultured masses to enjoy, Kudos, Smarkie Mark!

    Thirdly, You\’re three times the wiser: \”Anyone with a keyboard can be stupid.\”

    Just like yourself, Mr. Cuban, who wants to throw a childish temper tantwum on their own propaganda website THEY pay to publish.

    Real journalists, Mr. Cuban, with respected opinions, for respected news organizations don\’t have to do that.

    Anyone, with any intelligence, who reads a newspaper, knows that what \”Special to the Washington Post,\” means. It means something, Mr. Cuban. It means his post matters. Yours, doesn\’t.

    Comment by Reality Check -

  21. Cage fighting and/or UFC has evolved into a main stream sport and whether someone likes it or dislikes it there is still a huge audience for it. With a huge audience comes advertising and ticket sales, DVD and other sponsorships, those funds should be better managed so participants can enjoy whatever revenues possible. Fighting and Martial Arts is not an easy sport just like boxing and should be respected and properly paid.

    Comment by General Contractor -

  22. Oh, come on, Mark. Lighten up. It was an opinion piece and the guy has an opinion. I don\’t have to watch a whole MMA match to know I\’m not interested. And I\’m sure there are things you don\’t like without immersing yourself in. Who has time for everything? Yeah, he wrote about it, but it wasn\’t a news piece.

    Comment by GM -

  23. Further ignorance shown by Shapiro – He goes on to say that the big time sports broadcasters like JIM BROWN\” won\’t be onvolved in the broadcast because they woulnd\’t want to sully their name…Hey Shapiro, check out the first couple of UFC\’s…thats right, its good old Jim Brown.

    Comment by Nick -

  24. you convinced me – I have to learn more about MMA (that\’s what I call persuasive)

    Comment by Ines -

  25. Leonard Shapiro sounds like someone who is trying to save the world, but in reality, has a hard time adjusting to the changing times. He has to realize that MMA is a speeding locomotive with no brakes and is here for the long haul. Next stop, Spike TV, HDNet, Showtime, CBS, NBC…

    Comment by Ripley -

  26. Yep! I agree with you fo sho! keyboard = danger! danger! Mr. robinson! We are getting fat finger attacks! LOL!

    Comment by Mitchell -

  27. Mark, thank you for addressing this article. You\’re absolutely accurate about your prediction for the future. MMA isn\’t going away. In GSP, Anderson Silva, and a lot of up and coming guys, we\’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The next generation of fighters are going to be even better.

    Comment by Jay -

  28. as an admin of a mma related media website, i praise your comments. good job on responding to this guys rediculous article, and hopefully the guy does some research before writing another pointless and uneducated article about mixed martial arts.

    Comment by John -

  29. He has an attitude typical of today\’s Liberal.
    \”I\’m so cool, watch me put something down with my holier than thou attitude. Especially if I can make fun of the people who participate and enjoy watching it.\”

    He has his head up his …

    Comment by Allen -

  30. I\’m a pretty big Cuban fan but other than the Direct TV comment there\’s not really anything that stands out as an idiot comment or opinion.

    I\’m (very) reluctantly an MMA fan. My two biggest beefs with it are that 1) it can be a little too bloody at times…some federations seems to let the fights go on a little too long imho and 2) sorry mma guys – unlike almost every other major sport, you do not HAVE to be a world class athlete to compete at a high level in this sport. When someone can pick up your sport after high school and rise to a level where he\’s fighting in televised matches, that discredits the sport on some level.

    With that being said, I think it is entertaining but with the exception of just a handful of fighters, I think world class athletes are few and far between within the sport.

    Comment by Brian -

  31. MMA takes everything… I mean you have to have skills to be in ther so i\’ll give it a notch…

    Comment by Melvin -

  32. Mark,
    Given the increasing popularity of MMA, this guy\’s article does demonstrate that anyone with a keyboard can be stupid. However, was there really a need for you to take a shot at special needs kids/adults to prove your point? Do you think it added to your post to take aim at a group of people whom — unlike bloggers — don\’t have the resources to defend themselves? C\’mon Mark, you are better than that …… aren\’t you?

    Comment by J -

  33. Science? Sweet Science? Someone please educate me. Or how about comparing hitting a golf ball with an overhand right to the head? I\’m not getting it. Isn\’t the point of MMA, boxing for that matter, to knock someone unconscious? Oh, but MMA is more humane because it encourages the fighter that is about ready to be taken to unconsciousness to \’tap-out\’. Supposing he is conscious enough to do it, and also considering that he probably should have done much earlier than he did. Sure, other sports have times when there is physical contact and players get concussions, but that isn\’t the whole purpose of the sport. Isn\’t the purpose of fighting of any kind to beat the, what was it…\”bejabbers\” out of the other person? The fact that people watch hockey to see a fight, or NASCAR to see a crash, just emphasizes the wrongness of MMA. \”Here is the lowest common denominator of entertainment for humans…humans beating up other humans, humans bleeding, muggings with refs and an audience. Don\’t sit for 3 hours waiting for a crash, or a watch a hockey game waiting for a fight…watch this and see the fight, the violence, the suffering. Then let\’s talk about how athletic, and artful, and talented these guys are!\” Someone please educate me

    Comment by Dale B. -

  34. I tuned into a MMA match a couple years ago and thought it could be really cool. The first few moments were then they went to the ground and it was like watching greco roman wrestling (something I personally find dull). I tuned out soon after. If they\’d stay on their feet I\’d tune it. Yeah, I guess by definition MMA includes the wresting on the ground stuff, I\’ll just keep an eye out for a sport like this where the \”mix\” doesn\’t include rolling around on the mat.

    Comment by John -

  35. \”Mixed Martial Arts Set to Sully Network Television\”… ummm, yeah, because the MSM has not sullied itself already with Oprah, Dr. Phil & Desperate Housewives…

    This guy hasn\’t thrown a punch in his life. Put up the challenge for him Marc, line up George Costanza or some paraplegic in a wheel chair to change his view.

    My money is on the paraplegic.

    Comment by FLC -

  36. Soccer is the largest, most popular sports in the world. Who Cares!? Professional (fake) wrestling used to be fast growing as well. Mark you align yourself with your wallet. What a shmuck!

    Comment by jeff -

  37. To each his own (form of entertainment, method to earn a paycheck, etc.). I find zero interest in watching people punch, kick and otherwise beat the crap out of someone else for the \”sport\” or \”satisfaction\” or \”paycheck\” or \”trophy\” of it all. To me, it\’s further evidence we\’ve not evolved much past the savage beasts of our ancestry. But if floats your boat, as an active participant or observer, then more power to ya.

    Comment by Joe -

  38. I was going to post a rebuttal to this idiot on my blog , but you beat me to it. Nice work!

    Comment by Larry -

  39. His name is Leonard, not Leanord. I\’m not sure if the spelling mistake was intentional or not, but if you\’re going to scathe someone, you should probably spell their name right. IMO anyway.

    Carry on.

    Comment by Brian -

  40. There\’s a lot of idiots writing for newspapers too, Mark–idiots are not exclusive to the Internet.

    Comment by Alex -

  41. Mark,
    This is Pankration for Kids. No strikes to the face. These kids are each 13 years old.
    Blue is trained by Rani Yahya, black trains at Team Quest in Temecula. Highlighting Kids Pankration on Inside MMA might bring awareness to this sport. I don\’t believe Pankration is legal in all states. Ridiculous if you ask me. Safety of the kids is taken seriously. Two refs to insure fights can be stopped quickly if need be.



    Comment by Richard -

  42. A blogger is a blogger is a blogger.

    This proves it! Just because a Big Name stands behind a blogger does not mean that Blogger is better. Media Blogger\’s have to spin everything.

    I would prefer a blog by non-media people speaking how they feel. I read enough of them to conclude my own thought. I do not need main stream media spinning stories for me.

    Comment by Jeremiah Boughton -

  43. Hey Mark,
    Thanks for the Retard joke, love those.

    /Not

    Way to resort to bloggy ad hominem attacks that you hate so much. good show.

    Comment by Adam -

  44. That guy is totally ignorant and as you said, out of touch.

    Some people will never understand the sport.

    Comment by Dexter -

  45. MikeMc poses a valid question that I have been wondering a lot about lately.

    While the UFC is by far the most recognizable brand, many of its fighters (I feel) will soon defect for a more balanced wage.

    It is crazy to see the numbers the sport draws, yet see D.W. pay his fighters pennies.

    What MikeMc posed… I would love to see answered (if it has not been previously).

    Frankie from Lawnside also brings up a great point:

    \”I do often wonder though when I watch various contact sports why none,NOT ONE, that I have seen has ever actually been able to box professionally for big money. Not taking anything away from these guys, they are exceptional individuals but if they could step into the square circle of the sweet science, they would. Thanks for the thoughts.\”

    As previously stated, I recognize and appreciate what it takes to be successful in MMA. But I also truly believe that people comparing boxing to MMA are very wrong by doing so. Both take dedication and amazing skill and I truly wish that people would for one, stop comparing the two. And two, MMA fans totally dismissing the skills of boxers and vice versa.

    They are separate sports – sort of like comparing basketball to football.

    But yes, that is a good question.

    Do MMA fighters choose to make 5-6 figures *six if they are top fighters* as opposed to millions in boxing for the purity alone?

    Great questions!

    Comment by Anonymous -

  46. Enh.

    I watch MMA matches a few times per week. I watch The Ultimate Fighter, etc.

    I first was exposed to the \”first wave\” of the UFC back in 92-93 when there were still mixed weight classes and multiple \”brackets\” for one fighter per night.

    Obviously, I enjoy MMA to a degree.

    While I recognize the discipline that goes along with the sport… I have a weak stomach.

    It is a brutal sport.

    And you have to admit… that is a large portion as to why a lot of people like it.

    So Mark… you are taking things a bit too personal.

    Seriously.

    I am sort of surprised at/by this post. You normally exhibit such calmness. I might expect such passion from a fighter… but not someone in your position.

    Again, as a fan, I understand where he is coming from. He does not know much about the sport. So how about inviting him to a lesson? Perhaps he will \”get it.\”

    I know that while I enjoyed watching the sport before, The Ultimate Fighter (with its behind the scenes look) solely gave me a much larger respect for it as a whole.

    These guys just do not quit (in their workouts and matches).

    It even gave me motivation in my own workouts upon seeing them and I signed up for an MMA class.

    At this point, he is only going to go right back after you.

    In closing Mark… try and see it for what it is.

    Comment by Anonymous -

  47. MMA takes an unbelievable amount of skill and training to reach a level to compete. As the sport develops and grows the views will change. The misconceptions about mixed martial arts will continue but with the influx of college wrestlers the sports image will improve.

    Comment by Homebizseo -

  48. Hey Mark, I have watched MMA and found it entertaining in its science and strategy and also the way they congratulate each other afterwards,not only that but I have also witnessed what I perceive as a genuine concern of the opponent when he is stil down on the mat and seems to be in trouble after the bout.Something you never see in any sports that I know of. As society grows more aggressive more attention will be given to this sport,some by the ignorant and some by the knowledgeable and like any other sport watched by the uninformed,golf,nascar, boxing to name a few.The uninformed will find it something of a novelty. This is usually the thought taken from someone that has never tried anything close to performing it.Anyone that has thrown an overhand right and felt that sweetness of connecting or hit a golfball 260 yds or driven as fast as they can so their bones feel light and everything else around them slows down can only appriciate such a thing. Maybe Mr. Shapiro should stick with commenting on something he has an education in and will sound a little more credible in his future writings. I do often wonder though when I watch various contact sports why none,NOT ONE, that I have seen has ever actually been able to box professionally for big money. Not taking anything away from these guys, they are exceptional individuals but if they could step into the square circle of the sweet science, they would. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  49. MMA has the same problems you claim newspaper blogs have. There are no ways to differentiate between UFC, HD Net Fights, International Fight League, etc. There will never be a NFL or NBA of mixed marial arts because there are no barriers to entry. Anybody can create a MMA league. Anybody can host a fight, charge admission and find a way to distribute the broadcast. How can HD Net Fights sustain a competitive advantage in this sport?

    Comment by MikeMc -

  50. The point isn\’t whether the fighters have discipline, it\’s the bloodlust that accompanies the battle. The question of the fighters\’ discipline is irrelevant in examining the appropriateness of violent programming on the public airwaves. An assassin may well be very skilled, but that does not mean CNN should show a live feed. Study after study has shown the inimical effects of televised violence on the viewer – this is another example of violence as home entertainment.

    Beyond that, the structure of the argument itself is foolish. Regardless of who utters a statement, it\’s true or false based on its own merits. Striking at the credentials and indicating that someone who disagrees is \”uninformed\” is juvenile. Recrimination is not proof. It\’s a basic \”only the enlightened understand\” approach which can never be debated because the platform bars any balance; he only is informed when he agrees with you.

    Comment by Jon D -

  51. Wow, thanks for bringing this article to our attention. It\’s amazing when uninformed individuals give reviews and spout statements as if they are speaking fact, when in reality they are distant observers and have no clue about the subject.

    I love MMA, and am very excited about the CBS deal, HDNet and UFC. MMA is about to blow up on all levels very soon.

    Comment by Mackenzie -

  52. Maybe I\’ve been involved in the scene for long enough that worrying about ranters like this guy doesn\’t phase me. If anything, he\’s doing a good job of reverse psychology – anyone who happens to be predisposed to the bloody bejebers is going to have their curiosity piqued while he\’s preaching to the choir to anyone predisposed to not liking that sort of thing.

    Then again, does Shapiro have enough reach that it\’s worth worrying about for those few fence-sitters that will end up reading him?

    Oh and to Dave – the \”alphabet soup\” problem with boxing is certainly alive and well in MMA and new entrants into the market are only going to dilute the talent pool and confuse things.

    Although in time that should hopefully sort itself out, but likely not in enough time to capture the casual fan base.

    Comment by Mike -

  53. While I\’m not a fan of MMA, at least it\’s not WWE! I appreciate the athleticism and the courage necessary to compete in MMA . . . I just prefer to watch other things on HD Net!

    (As for \”Special to . . .\” This is often a byline used when the writer is not a staffer. While Shapiro apparently works for The Washington Post, they may pay the newspaper writers a freelance fee for Web contributions, over and above salary.)

    Comment by Ken Carpenter -

  54. Mark,

    Just wanted to say \”Thank You\” from all of us in Tulsa for sponsoring Dale \”Apollo\” Cook\’s team last weekend and showing it on HDNet. I grew up watching Apollo dominate the world in kickboxing, right here in little old Tulsa, OK. It\’s great to see that he and you are working together to promote this sport, you have a powerful ally in him and I hope you two can continue to promote and expand the sport. One request – please get some of his old highlight films and show them on a future broadcast, I think the world would be amazed at the wins he had over champions across borders and styles. He used to fight with knees and elbows when the Thai champs came to town, a true pioneer in mixed martial arts.

    Don\’t let the haters get you down, just because he has an outlet doesn\’t mean anyone is listening to him. Keep up the great work!

    Scott

    Comment by Okie Doke -

  55. Did you read Shapiro\’s column about Myron Cope from a couple weeks ago (linked on my name)? You may disagree completely with Shapiro (and probably Cope) about MMA, but you can\’t get too mad at someone who\’d recount the \”Redfaces\” story in the Post.

    Comment by Jerry -

  56. I wonder what he thinks of The Posts Boxing/MMA section? It\’s pretty hypocritical to knock CBS for trying to capitalize on the growing market on a website that is doing the same thing.

    Comment by Mufaka -

  57. Usually \”special to\” is an indication of freelance work. I believe Shapiro is actually the former sports editor for the Post; he may have dropped down to columnist and contributor to save the Post money and/or make way for new blood as editor and/or Peter Principle. My guess is the \”special to\” got him a separate payment for his writing a longer column and perhaps as a way to boost his income (as if he wrote a freelance article for some other publication).

    Comment by RSaunders -

  58. There is a guy by that name who is, or at least was, a sports agent. No idea if it\’s the same guy.

    Comment by Gary Collard -

  59. Bull crap. Lacrosse is easily the fastest growing sport in America. NOT MMA.

    Everything else I agree with.

    Comment by PSC -

  60. I think your comments are right on, Mark. I think MMA fighters are incredibly talented. They are well trained. They even seem to be real class acts from the interviews and articles that Ive seen/read. And yes, the sport has imposed some very wise regulations.

    And yet, I\’m still just not a fan. Its just not entertaining to me. I recognize how popular it is. But I wonder at which point MMA will reach its full potential and, subsequently, lose steam. I don\’t condemn anybody that is into it. I don\’t think that MMA is a bunch of crazy rednecks and their fan base is certainly not a \”howling mob.\” I\’m just not into it, and I think that is equally acceptable as those who love it.

    I\’ll do my part to keep the uninterested from lashing out with such ridiculous claims as Leonard Shapiro if you\’ll keep all the die-hards from telling me I\’m a pansy!

    Comment by Brian Reese -

  61. Shapiro makes some ignorant statments in his review. He also tried to reduce MMA as a non-sport by saying CBS Entertainment did the deal instead of CBS Sports. Obviously he doesn\’t understand the term sport and he doesn\’t understand the skill and athlecticism of a MMA fighter.

    However, I watch MMA on HDNet often and I can tell you there are some disturbing trends I see. If fighters are not well matched then you get the ground game of a superior fighter beating the hell out of the other fighter and that doesn\’t look so sporty and the entertainment value goes to shit. But when you see someone like Gracie work a submission, you realize you\’ve just seen pure art in sport.

    The various MMA organizations need to work hard to ensure fighters are well matched and somehow the ground game doesn\’t dominate the sport. Like in professional basketball they have the 1 on 1 rule for several reasons, mainly to keep the energy high and the entertainment value high. MMA is going to have to find their on 1on1 rule(s).

    I think for MMA to really make it in maintstream they have to be able to keep the action going without removing the skill it takes to survive and win in the ring.

    MMA isn\’t for everyone, but I really hate it when I read an article from someone filled with bias and ignorance.

    Comment by Herschel -

  62. Uh oh…somebody is gonna get banned from something because of this. No locker rooms are safe!

    Not being a huge fan of MMA myself, even I think this guy doesn\’t know what he is talking about. MMA is filling a need that boxing can no longer sustain. I just hope that MMA doesn\’t fall into the trap of 19 different leagues, champions, belts, etc. Let\’s have one champion of the world, please. Not 13.

    Comment by Dave -

  63. Peoples misconceptions about mixed martial arts continue to amaze me. The main reason for the sports enormous popularity is because of the numerous rules and regulations introduced and sought after by league ownership. They didnt run from their problems they confronted them and addressed them. Much like boxing, NASCAR or golf fans become attached to players and their pursuit of greatness. I am attracted to golf because of tradition yes but I watch it for Tiger Woods. I watch it because Tiger displays a focus and discipline which I could not duplicate. The same goes for MMA.

    Comment by Jordan Emerick -

  64. I\’m a martial artist for more than 25 years and have been a big fan of MMA since it\’s earliest days and Cuban hit this one right on the head. I\’ve read hundreds of profiles and talked to a lot of people who love the sport and I think even this lunkhead author would be impressed by the people and their backgrounds. I\’d gladly share mine – http://www.mmafightspace.com/senseijim

    Comment by Jim -

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