‘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.


7 thoughts on “‘Cage Fight Left Me Blind’”

  1. As a journalist in the mainstream media (albeit online rather than print) I’ve been covering MMA for a couple of years now, and have always looked to cover the sport as just that – a legitimate sport.

    Articles like the one referred to in this story aren’t just unhelpful, they’re arguably more shameful than what they’re attempting to portray in their stories.

    Unfortunately in this country there’s an obsession with celebrity and sensationalism and the result is articles like these. Usually, if you’re reading about a sport and it’s in the news or gossip pages, it’s not going to be positive and it may well be sensationalist. Proper coverage of sport tends to appear on the sports pages. The story above would appear to be an exception.

    I’ve read stories in the gossip and news pages of mainstream outlets that are clearly ill-informed, uneducated, (mis)representations of the sport of MMA. Often the tell-tale sign to look out for is “Cage Fighting”, a term used to help push the violent angle and portray the sport as no-holds-barred brawling. It’s just a label, but “Cage Fighting” is one that does the sport damage through its portrayal in the media. Mixed martial arts is – in my eyes at least – the proper name for the sport, and I believe legitimate events should be promoted (and reported) as such. Boxing isn’t “Ring Fighting”, after all.

    Hopefully with the UKMMAF and Safe MMA joining forces the prospect of a national governing body for the sport might not be too far away. The sport in this country needs one to help establish credibility in the eyes of the general public, whose only real experience of the sport is the ill-informed articles that appear in news and gossip sections of publications and websites.

    Sadly the way elements of the media work in this country articles like this will continue to be written until people are educated about the sport – and that’s not going to happen any time soon. We can get angry about it – and justifiably so – but it’s not likely to change.

    What can be achieved is the establishment of a legitimate governing body, and promoter, event and fighter licensing. Anything held outside of the sanctioning body’s licencing would then be akin to underground boxing, and should be criticised and reported as such.

    Events should be promoted as sporting events as opposed to sensationalised brawls. And the marketing and promotion of these events should aim to appeal to the wider sporting audience rather than the lowest common denominator who just want to see two people beat the living daylights out of one another. It’s not a Saturday night town centre scrap, after all, it’s a sport.

    The sport, through its promoters, fighters, sponsors etc, need to ensure it’s promoted properly while looking to develop a national structure for the sport’s governance. It’s then for the media to report on the sport as a bona-fide, legitimate sport, which some outlets already do. The growth in popularity of the sport will hopefully eventually mean more outlets will follow suit and the sport gets the coverage it deserves. Proper coverage, by established media, will then help the public learn and understand more about the sport.

    Mixed martial arts won’t be for everyone, of course, but at least there’s a chance the sport – and those who take part – might get some genuine understanding, and hopefully some well-deserved respect.

  2. Cross posted to 5,000 plus people on Facebook. A great post and I agree with David above.

    Thanks for taking the time to expose, research, and write the reality with evidential support.

    Good work.

  3. Top work Dem. Makes my blood boil that people can write these lies. is there anything that can be done? Monica is a friend of mine so I will speak with her about this. Perhaps Simon can give us an idea as to the best way we can lobby Neil Goodwin for some answers and apologies.

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