Kyle Maynard. Photo by Peter Frey/University of Georgia.
If you haven’t heard about this yet, get ready to hear about it a lot this week. Kyle Maynard, a congenital amputee that was born without any elbow or knees, will be making his amateur mixed martial arts debut this weekend at a David Oblas-promoted event in Auburn, Alabama.
The reaction to Maynard’s decision to enter MMA hasn’t exactly been positive from the start. After essentially being promised to be licensed in his home state of Georgia, he was denied before being allowed to make his amateur debut two years ago. Now that Maynard will be going through with his first amateur bout in an unsanctioned state, many have slammed Oblas for putting on the match out of fear that Maynard could be setting the sport back some, win or lose.
Making matters worse is the fact that Oblas’ promotion is refusing to reveal Maynard’s opponent until the weigh-ins for the event Friday and has yet to release an official statement regarding the matter. However, Maynard has done so in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani for MMA Fanhouse:
AH: We still don’t know the identity of your opponent. Are you able to make that information public yet?
KM: Not yet. We are still keeping it under wraps until the weigh-ins.
AH: Why is that?
KM: I don’t want to take any chances that anyone is going to try to get in this kid’s ear or his family’s or whatever. I think that that would be a pretty bad thing. You know, I am honored that he would take this fight with me; I truly am. I think it’s a courageous and noteworthy thing to do and I would be the first one to tell him that.
My opinion on the matter: It’s a smart decision by Oblas and Maynard to keep his opponent’s identity a secret, to an extent. Hiding it makes things seem shady in a way, and those attending the event should have the right to know exactly who they are paying to see. I think Maynard’s story is great and have no problem with him making his amateur debut. With high school wrestling credentials and years of training under his belt, he’ll be able to protect himself just fine. Much of the worrying going on is for nothing.
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