Meltzer Won’t Comment on Absence of Head Gear for 8-Year-Old Cage Grapplers in UK

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Last week I touched on the controversy in Britain over an exhibition of 8-year-olds grappling inside a cage at a professional mixed martial arts event. See “Wrestling Observer’s Meltzer Defends Against a Straw Man But Remains Silent on the Indefensible,”

Since then, Dave Meltzer, who writes thoroughly and well about combat sports for his own newsletter and Yahoo Sports, went on a tirade about the story on his subscriber-only website radio show. I asked Meltzer for permission to post the audio but he didn’t respond.

Meltzer continues to cling to the listener-pandering fiction that merely ridiculing gaps in critics’ understanding of MMA substitutes for responsible commentary.

At one point he complained, “Last night I went to a high school football game – and I go to high school football every Friday night – and I saw four guys hurt, they’re teenage guys, messed up knees. The week before three guys hurt, carried out or rolled out on a gurney. I mean, it’s a frigging brutal sport and these are kids and I hate watching that aspect of it. I hate watching people get hurt and that’s the deal. This is frigging grappling….”

Below is what I emailed Meltzer. I’ll take Dave’s answer either on or off the air.

The more I study this, the more I think you’ve done a poor job of educating your audience on the UK incident. Your whole take is reduced to a rant, full of irrelevant asides (what does when Floyd Mayweather’s dad started training him have to do with anything?). Your assertion, by fiat, that a cage is safer than a roped ring doesn’t pass the smell test. (A kid could get slammed hard against the cage, and spotters could help prevent him from falling off the apron of an uncaged ring.)

Finally — and please respond to this even if you choose to ignore the rest — what about the absence in the UK video of the mandatory head gear found in amateur wrestling?

It just doesn’t cut it to say that the incident got sensationalized by ignorant people. Tell me something new. The whole marketing of combat sports is based on sensationalizing for ignorant people. How that is done is what you write about for a living.


Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick