“How should we as Baptists regard the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)? Simply put, we should hate it.”
And thus begins an article by Adam Groza, the ”vice-president of enrollment and student services at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.” (Nice picture by the way. Did they forget to say, “Cheese?”)
(for full article, see http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=33627)
To give a little background on myself, this November, I will have been a Christian for 17 years. I could go on a Paul-like rant, but I will give you the condensed version: Bible Drill for 3 years, memorized 75 verses before 7th grade, could name the books of the Bible backwards and forwards, spent 2 & a half years with Life Action Ministries as a children’s worker and Lighting Technician. I could go on about the number of verses I have memorized in my life, but that’s between me and God. Just take heart that I know what I’m talking about and where I come from.
“Psalm 11:5 says, “The LORD examines the righteous and the wicked. He hates the lover of violence.” This is a hard verse for at least two reasons. First, it does not say that God simply hates violence, but rather, that God hates those who love violence. Second, it confronts our culture’s lust for violence, a lust which many Christians indulge rather than reject.”
Ok, first of all, I have a very big problem with the phrase “God hates.” I don’t know about your god, but mine with the big “G” does not hate. Even if you were right, God would be saying “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I LOVE the UFC, and I’m pretty sure that God does not hate me. If you want a hating "god," go hang out with Fred Phelps. I hear he’s got some things to say.
Second of all, I guess you don’t watch boxing, football, basketball, baseball or hockey. Even in tennis, NASCAR and golf, athletes can lose their tempers and turn to violence. So according to your logic, if you have ever been to one of those sports, you have been just as guilty of somebody attending an MMA event.
“What exactly are people paying to see? MMA and UFC offer a simple formula. Two people are put in an enclosed or confined space, usually an octagon cage, and fight until one of them is deemed (by the referee) too injured to continue or “taps out”, meaning he just can’t take any more beating. Fighters wear minimally padded gloves which lead to more blood, and those bloody images are then used to market the sport.”
To say that UFC/MMA operates by a simple formula is like saying that basketball is a free-throw contest, or pitchers in baseball only throw fastballs or golfers only use one kind of club. It shows this fool with a plank in his eye knows nothing of the sport and is forgetting about the plank in his eye while trying to get out our speck.
“Those who pay to see the fights also pay to see “octagon girls,” scantily clad eye-candy between bouts…”
Ok, let’s talk about “The Octagon Girls.” Arianny Celeste is an insanely beautiful woman, as are Rachelle Leah and Chandella Powell. I believe Logan Stanton and Arianny were the Octagon girls for UFC 103 in Dallas and those cameras do not do those women justice. Apparently, this minister has never seen or been to a live event. The women do nothing in between bouts except drink water bottles, sit with towels on their laps and wave at the camera when the cameramen walk by. Their sole purpose is to walk around a big card to remind us what round it is. Would my mother (the school teacher) send them down to the office to get more clothes? Yes. Do they do anything provocative? Not really. There are worse jobs for women in sports. Yes, Arianny Celeste is planning on doing Playboy this year (whereupon all men are wiping their brows in pre-faint poses). Do I approve of everything Playboy does? Would I want my daughter doing that? Of course not. There’s worse jobs out there in sports.
This pastor makes it sound like these women do full body stripping in between fights. This is anything but the case. The women are well-respected and well-treated.
“They are a sinful amalgam of blood lust and female objectification that reflects our cultures growing desensitization to the inherent value of human life.”
Do you want to know where the “growing desensitization to the inherent value of human life” started? Look in the mirror. Look in the collective mirror of the body of Christ. Look at what we’ve done through the years. The Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, genoicide in the Americas, the “Christianization” of other cultures we called “being a missionary.” What about the present? I bet if you spent as much time praying for the attendees off MMA events as you did criticizing them, the world might be a different place.
“The Bible does not condemn all acts of violence. The Father sacrificing the Son is redemptive, like sacrificing oneself in defense of some innocent person or one’s country. In contrast, caged fighting is violence for the sake of violence and profit and as a vehicle for lust. In Genesis 6:13, God announces His plan to destroy all flesh “because the earth is filled with violence.” Some things, such as the love of violence, Christians simply cannot redeem.”
Watching UFC does not make me LOVE violence. I love sport. I love the concept of two guys fighting in the octagon where there must be a winner. If you want to talk about violence, why don’t we talk about the genoicide? How about the homosexual rape? How about the daughters getting their dad drunk enough that he can impregnate them? You want to embrace the Bible? Guess what? We get to embrace that too. Ecclesiates 3:8 says, “A time of war and a time of peace.”
“No doubt Christian MMA and UFC fans would argue that their sport leads to evangelistic opportunities. This same argument is made by those who drink alcohol at bars: You get the chance to witness.”
Really? This is lame. Who uses that excuse? I go to the bar so I can witness? Sweet, why don’t I go to the strip club so I can witness? And you get even more witnessing time if you do a lap dance. Let me go ask my wife how she feels about that…
As I put iodine on my black eye, the writer continues, “In section XVI of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) it says that Baptists must seek peace. Paying for entertainment violence is the opposite of seeking peace and violates the Scriptures reflected in the BF&M.”
After most, if not every fight, the fighters touch gloves and hug. Do I want my kid taking in those values? Absolutely. There’s a sponsor called “Jesus Didn’t Tap.”
Check out their site. That’s a person who understands MMA and its founding principles. I’ve been to my share of churches. I also have been to a UFC show. Between the people I’ve met at churches and MMA fights, I think I’d be more comfortable having an MMA person watch my daughter than a church person. When was the last time you heard about an MMA fighter molesting a kid? People are going to read this and say, “This guy is a Christian?” Yes, I am. But I learned a LONG time ago that I was not perfect. In the light of all eternity, whether somebody goes to an MMA event is a lot less important than where their heart is and their relationship with Jesus.
“Baptists oppose alcohol because it leads to drunkenness and because of its degenerative impact on culture: being linked to abuse and other societal ills. UFC and MMA market violent video games and UFC branded clothing to youth. Another sign of the barbaric effect on culture is that women are now fighting in UFC and MMA styled matches.”
This one really bothers me. Baptists oppose alcohol? Really? Before you speak about what I oppose, can you maybe consult me? I have a problem with alcohol that leads to drunkenness. I also have a problem with drinking that leads to you being “mastered” by it. There is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation. I’ve known people light years ahead of me spiritually that drink more than I do. Me personally, I choose not to drink. I believe that based on how I have become addicted to other things in the past, I would easily be addicted to alcohol. But if my wife drinks a margarita or my sisters-in-law have an apple martini when they go out, as long as it’s not to excess and as long as they don’t drive home, there is no Biblical sin.
You have a problem with women fighting MMA? You must not like the WNBA either or anything else that gives women equal footing.
“Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.”
1 Corinthians 13:1
Throughout this pastor’s article, all I ever heard was judgment and hate. Let’s not forget why God put us on this earth.