A Stones Throw 6-23-16

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“The lights are on but no one is home.”

How many times have we heard someone say these words – or said them ourselves? Perhaps the companion statement is “I think he got hit on the head one too many times.”

Normally both of these statements are meant to be negative descriptions of a person’s knowledge or understanding. Sometimes all it takes to earn one of these descriptions is to simply disagree with the speaker.

Many earn these descriptions due to the speaker’s lack of knowledge or lack of understanding. Or due to the speaker’s insensitiveness.

Unfortunately however, many earn these descriptions because they literally “got hit on the head one too many times.”

And thus – one of the hypocrisies of sport and of sports fans.

For many, that “hit on the head one too many times” refers to concussions suffered while playing football – or soccer – or basketball – or baseball – or wrestling.

Even cheerleading

Or any of many other sports and other activities.

Concussion, and its effect on the human brain, is now being studied by the medical profession as well as various sports and legal organizations. Many former athletes no longer remember the past. No longer remember their friends.

No longer look forward to the future.

Some no longer have a future.

As a result of the growing publicity over the long-term negative effects of concussions, many parents are saying “no” to their sons playing football – to their daughters playing soccer. Saying “no” to participating in any “potential concussion” activity.

Athletes at all levels are stepping away from the sport they love. Some because of the lingering effects of one or more concussions; others from the fear of concussions in the future.

The medical profession and athletic equipment manufacturers are working together to design protective equipment that will minimize, if not eliminate, concussions from occurring. Major sports organizations are developing “base line” concussion protocols which keep an athlete on the bench until the effects of a concussion are completely gone and the athlete’s “base line” readings return.

Rules of the game are being changed by almost every sport with the intent to reduce concussions and make their sport safer for all participants.

From little league to the major professional leagues – concussions are a concern. The safety and well-being of the athletes are a concern. The well-being and the future of the athlete is more important than the game

That is, except for the fastest growing sport in America – the sport (if you can call it that) of “Ultimate Fighting.”

Ultimate fighters don’t care about concussions – they only care about beating each other bloody to the point of either unconsciousness or “submission.”

And the money keeps rolling in.

Tens of thousands of people buy “pay per view” tickets for upwards to $90 just for the chance to see Rhonda Rousey – a female fighter with a body and a face that has appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue as well as several other magazines – destroy her opponent – even if it only takes 12 seconds – or, on the chance she is the one destroyed (which she was in her last fight).

Or they want to watch Conor McGregor – the undisputed champion – the face of ultimate fighting – destroy another challenger. (He was also bloodied and beaten in his last fight.)

Tens of thousands of fans buy “pay per view” tickets to see the various championship fights and the undercard fights. Fans want their favorites to win – they are disappointed when the challenger wins – but most importantly they want to see violence and blood. They want to see fighters carried off the mat or at least struggle to stand and stay upright.

Fans get what they want.

So do the owners of the Ultimate Fighters Championships Company (UFC). While UFC fighters are literally beating each other’s brains out, the owners of UFC are raking in the money while they wait for their own championship – which is coming soon.

The latest reports indicate that the current owners purchased the Ultimate Fighters Championships Company for two million dollars in 2001, made over 600 million dollars profit in 2015, and are currently considering selling UFC with at least two competitive bids of over 4.1 Billion dollars vying for 100% ownership.

Not bad for a company that profits from violence, blood, suffocation, broken bones, and of course concussions, while every other sport, except for boxing (the cousin to UFC), spends millions and millions of dollars in an effort to reduce, even eliminate, concussions and other injuries.

Hypocrisy at its best.

But, don’t blame this on the owners of UFC.

Don’t blame it on the UFC fighters.

Instead, blame it on the fans that have made ultimate fighting the fastest growing sport (?) in America.

Blame it on the fans who spend hours each day working to reduce the risk of concussion – who work day after day teaching young athletes how to play their game safely – or, who hope and pray that their children, their grandchildren – and those of their friends throughout the world can play their games and live their lives without injury that affects them today or tomorrow – – – and then pay to see men and women beat each other to a pulp.

These fans are the ones whose “lights are on but no one is home” today –

Blame it on the fans who don’t care about the safety or well-being of anyone not “near and dear.”

Their “lights are seldom on.”

Or, don’t blame it on anyone. Buy a “Pay per View” ticket for UFC 200 scheduled for July 9. Enjoy the blood. Enjoy the violence. Enjoy the carnage.

And, enjoy the fact that the adage “I think he/she might have been hit on the head one too many times” might be referring to those who are making the owners of UFC rich at the expense of their fighters well-being both today and tomorrow..

The concern over concussions – the growth of ultimate fighting – sports hypocrisy at its worst.

– Mike Cooney