Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fighting for a cause

Most, if not all, mixed martial arts events aren't held to benefit any particular cause or charity. While we're used to seeing charity basketball games, softball games and hockey games, charity MMA events seem to be a rarity so far. If it's not about fighting for titles, it's really just about who's the better man.

But that changed not too long ago in Baltimore, when area police officers and firefighters competed against each other Sept. 30 at an Xtreme Cage Wars event. A local Patch reporter covered the event and profiled a Baltimore County police officer who competed in the cage but unfortunately came up short.

At least that officer actually received an opportunity to compete. I came across an article in The Baltimore Sun that highlights a 65-year-old officer, Regis Flynn, who was scheduled to fight at the event but was pulled at the last minute. According to the article Flynn passed all the necessary physicals and tests to compete but appeared to be the victim of a last-minute rule change that prohibited him from taking part.

I understand the concern for the well-being of a 65-year-old man, who is obviously no spring chicken. But if he is in good physical health and passes all the necessary health tests to compete in rigorous physical activity, why the last-minute rule change that just smells of some kind of shady activity? If the governing body was worried about any liability concerns, they could have just had Flynn sign a waiver absolving the governing body from any legal action should anything happen to him in the cage.

Age discrimination has no place in MMA. It's a terrible cliché when used in other areas of life, but age is really just a number in MMA. It doesn't matter how old you are. It's about your level of commitment and the respect you have for the sport and your willingness to put in the time and effort to excel at it. By all accounts Flynn displayed unbelievable commitment, a tremendous amount of respect and an amazing amount of willingness to compete at the highest level.

It's unfortunate that an apparent case of political correctness or overblown concerns prevents a man from doing something he truly loves. It's even more unfortunate that it prevents him from helping his fellow brothers in law enforcement.

But speaking of Baltimore, Shogun Fights V is this Saturday at First Mariner Arena. I will be covering the event once again for U.S. Combat Sports, a website I have written for previously. I will also post my own preview of the event in the next day or so.

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