I was having an interesting discussion on the issue of disabled people taking part in MMA and boxing the other day. As you may be aware there are plans to have wheelchair bound fighters compete in both disciplines.
The Wheeled Warriors organisation wants to bring the concept to both the cage and ring next year. But it has met with opposition in some areas. Some people are more than a little uncomfortable that two guys in wheelchairs will be slugging it out in front of cheering crowds.
Yes, I can see that it might make some feel uncomfortable, some squeamish and some think it’s immoral...
When the Paralympics were first muted there was great opposition to the whole concept of disabled athletes. It was deemed to be a “freakshow”.
Yet look at the Paralympics today – across the world the athletes are respected and cheered for their sheer guts and athleticism.
It’s not up to others to say what a person can do with their own body. Nor is it up to others to say “you cannot do that because you are disabled!”
It makes you uncomfortable? Well that’s YOUR problem not the disabled fighters. You feel it’s a “freakshow”? Well doesn’t that really say more about you than it does the fighters?
Many, but not all, of these fighters are former MMA fighters who were injured fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan serving in both the US and UK armies. They are true warriors who simply want to challenge themselves, get fit and test themselves.
So what is wrong with that? Why shouldn’t a person who is disabled take part in martial arts? Why shouldn’t they compete if they want to? Who are you to say they cannot?
For further information on DFM visit: www.dfmmartialarts.co.uk or e-mail Phil Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org