‘Cage Fight Left Me Blind’

Over twelve months removed from the ‘Kids Cagefighting’ story which swept the UK, key figures from circles within the UK MMA community have recently made great strides towards not only enhancing the reputation of Mixed Martial Arts in the UK, but legitimizing it as sport with the formation of a medical body (Safe MMA) coinciding with the proposed governing body (UKMMAF). Contrary to what cynics may think, these initiatives were not logical reactions to ‘bad press’. Sure, they do wonders for the image of the sport, but from experience coupled with the right timing, Mixed Martial Arts is learning and acting to right it’s wrongs from within to raise the standards of the industry and it’s product. That’s not to say it will ever be perfect, but it’s taking the right steps towards cleaning up it’s act.

Unfortunately, news of progress and self governance lacks punch and isn’t worthy of mainstream attention. Neither is the culture of acceptance and equality in MMA worth covering with the announcement this week of Ronda Rousey becoming the first female MMA athlete to be signed by the worlds premier Mixed Martial Arts league, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

So what is?

Well, this..


The article from Neil Goodwin in the Sunday Sport newspaper reads:

“A MODEL cage fighter was blind in one eye for three days after having her face ‘smashed in’ during a punishing bout.

Knockout Monica Harris had a double life as a brutal Mixed Martial Arts brawler. And last week the 32C topless pin-up fought arch rival Farina West in a bruising encounter for Fightscene MMA. 

After three bone-shattering rounds – each lasting five long minutes – Monica emerged triumphant after a unanimous decision from the judges, winning thanks to a Rear Naked Choke hold.

But the victory at London’s Troxy Arena was hard-won – as Monica’s left eye was left so BRUISED and bloated she couldn’t see anything out of it for THREE DAYS.

The 32 year-old, from Newcastle, revealed: “I was thrilled to win the contest but I was in agony. Farina was no easy opponent. My face was properly smashed in and I couldn’t see anything out of my eye. I thought I’d gone BLIND until the swelling started to subside. It was terrifying. I’m fighting again in a few weeks and I’ll make sure I’m ready. It’ll take more than a black eye to floor me!” 

Bantam weight Monica who says her special move is a thunderous right hook, also trains in boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, making her one of the HARDEST girls in Britain. 

Monica, who runs her own fight promotion firm Models Fight UK, added: “Modelling and fighting don’t exactly go hand in hand – you get your face pummelled, and you need your face to earn a living! But I’d encourage any other models to give it a go.”

Some points:

  • Was not a “BRUTAL” MMA fight that lasted 15 minutes. Actually, a 5 minute BJJ grappling match.
  • Did not take place at The Troxy, East London. Fight Scene hold shows at the Clapham Grand, South London.
  • The quotes attributed to Monica, have been made up and sensationalised based on some of her tweets.
  • The picture of Monica’s bruised eye. Looks like the photo was edited. Check out the original.Image
  • To add to this, here is a picture of Monica after her BJJ match at Fight Scene. Image
  • Here is the video from Fight Scene of her BJJ match. 

Martyn Alsop, the promoter of Fight Scene had this to say:

“The only correctly stated facts within that article were the names of the girls competing. Despite such lazy sensationalistic journalism Fight Scene will continue to promote the sport in the positive and professional manner it always has.”

It’s crucial here to remember just how young Mixed Martial Arts is in the UK. MMA is like the new kid at school, trying to fit in and gain acceptance but being bullied by those bigger, older and more popular than him. The impact sensationalist stories like this have might not always be as great and widespread as ‘Kids Cagefighting’ but it only goes to solidify the negative image that’s depicted in the press. It’s time the UK press grew up and weren’t so narrow minded, instead of taking every possible opportunity to attack Mixed Martial Arts, even when they have no grounds to.

‘Journalism’ of this standard and nature should not be tolerated.


BAMMA 10 Viewing Figures on 5*

According to figures published by the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board, the Sep 15th live broadcast of BAMMA 10 on 5* received 178,000 viewers during it’s primetime run.

With 178,000 viewers, BAMMA 10 was the 10th highest viewed programme on 5* for that week. However, the gulf in viewership between BAMMA and the channels highest rated programming such as Home and Away and Celebrity Big Brother was as expected, huge.

To offer some perspective, in the same week the 30 minute weekday broadcasts of Home and Away averaged 500,000 viewers. When the channel’s audience share amongst the spectrum of television channels is factored in, you begin to understand that the gap between 178,000 and 500,000 is quite significant. In contrast to BAMMA, Home and Away is a soap, spanning months of programming with storylines that invest viewers into their development and eventual outcome. BAMMA is a live sporting event, and at the moment, a ‘one off’ to the 5* audience. The broadcasting of live Mixed Martial Arts is a new dynamic to the line up of programming on the channel. 5*’s bigger brother FIVE is more commonly known for broadcasting live sports, typically football. The addition of live Mixed Martial Arts isn’t supported by the foundations of viewers returning there for sports programming, it’s not the channel’s image. A question though; are BAMMA compromising to fit in?

As mentioned earlier, BAMMA 10 was a ‘one off’ form of programming. To make a comparison to other  forms of ‘one off’ programming on 5*, they as most entertainment channels, have a library of movies which are usually broadcasted at the primetime of 9pm on weekdays. A similar slot to that of BAMMA’s live broadcast, albeit on a different day. Although BAMMA didn’t eclipse the viewership which these movies receive, they held strong. Will Smith’s ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ recorded 182,000 viewers on a 9pm broadcast. So in some way the debut of live mixed martial arts on 5* wasn’t a run-away success nor a failure, it fitted in, like anything else.

However, it begs the question. What resources are FIVE prepared to invest in future, if for the simplicity of licensing a movie, they receive more bang for their buck.

Mixed Martial Arts Fan. Pleasure & Pain.