Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Nevada Fighters Have a Right to Trash Talk: New at Reason

By Reason Staff - February 06, 2019 at 04:25PM

|||Stephen Smith/Sipa USA/Newscom

Insulting one's prizefighting opponent is a tradition that reaches back to boxer Jack Johnson, was perfected by Muhammad Ali, and is now an accepted form of mental warfare in boxing and MMA fights. When Lennox Lewis called fellow black British boxer Frank Bruno an "Uncle Tom," some invisible line of civility may have been crossed, but doing so never resulted in penalties for Lewis.

But an ugly brawl sparked by racial and religious insults after an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bout has Nevada regulators wondering if the time has finally come to put controls on pre-fight speech.

"I think it's gotten to the point with certain unarmed combatants to where it's become totally unacceptable," said Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Bob Bennett. "I definitely think, unequivocally, that's something we need to take a more active role in and hold fighters accountable for their language," writes Justin Park in his latest for Reason.

View this article.

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