Kyle Maynard. Photo courtesy of CrossFit.
Now that word regarding Kyle Maynard’s amateur debut this weekend is spreading, reaction is starting to come in bunches, especially in the local Alabama news outlets, where it’s a tale of two mindsets. The local paper in Auburn, where the fight will be held, has the usual inspiring article regarding Maynard’s journey.
However Brad Zimanek of the Montgomery Advertiser has gone the “freak show” route. (Touch of gloves to Cage Writer for the find) According to him, people are purchasing tickets to the event just to see if Maynard will get injured:
Maynard is an inspirational story. The Suwanee, Ga., native was born with a congenital amputation disorder. He has no elbows and no knees yet competed in the 2004 Georgia High School wrestling championships.
He posted a 35-16 record at Collins High School and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. He won the 2004 ESPN ESPY award for the best Athlete With A Disability. He’s a motivational speaker and an author. But this is just a freak show.
Mixed martial arts events are basically no-holds barred combat. This is different than wrestling. They are selling tickets for people who want to see how badly Maynard gets beat up. This shows how far sports can go to make a buck. It’s one of those things where you hope for the best but are expecting the worst. I just can’t see anything good coming out of it.
If you’re going to write a story, one of the requirements is to gather the necessary facts regarding your subject. So why is it that so many writers who choose to bash MMA constantly get things wrong? As we all know, no-holds barred combat doesn’t exist in this country anymore. This isn’t the 90’s.
Also, have you ever been to an amateur event before, Brad? I guess not, because if you have been, you would have noticed that people aren’t there to witness the brutality of the sport, and that most spectators are friends and family of those fighting. Amateur rules are set up to limit the amount of damage one can take. The chances that Maynard gets seriously injured this Saturday are slim to none.
Thankfully, there are those out there that actually “get it”. Such as Greg Savage, who sees absolutely nothing wrong with Maynard making his amateur debut this weekend. He realizes that Maynard just wants to be treated like everyone else, and in the MMA world, will be regarding his skills:
Maybe I am in the minority. I just don’t see any problem with a guy who has trained in wrestling all his life wanting to continue to compete. Like many other wrestlers, he has chosen MMA as the next avenue.
If he proves himself at the lowest level, he will continue to advance like anyone else. Eventually he will hit a wall, whether that is before or after turning pro. We will all just have to wait and see.
Savage also brings up the fact that Maynard’s talent may actually be superior than that of many of the fighters that are just getting started these days. Even the referee that will be officiating his bout on Saturday believes that Maynard has the skills to come away victorious:
“I think Kyle’s going to win this fight,” McHargue said. “If the opponent tries to engage him, Kyle is strong enough to take him down. Kyle didn’t have an accident part way through his life; he was born like this. He hasn’t had to adjust, so he knows how to handle all the moves he needs.
“Kyle has the body and strength of a 200-pound person, and he’s fighting 135-pounders. From a strength standpoint, it’s just not fair.”
If you haven’t read the above article by Kyle Nagel regarding Maynard, you should. It’s probably the most in-depth look at the steps he has gone through up until now.
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