Friday, January 13, 2012

Beth Hurrle of Gal's Guide to MMA: rebuttal to NCDSV

On January 10, 2012 the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV) released a letter to the NYS Assembly urging them to "to uphold the ban on cage fighting" in New York State. The letter addresses the unfortunate behavior of Dana White, President of the UFC and several fighters contracted to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC); suggesting that these incidents "contribute to a culture of violence against women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people" and noting the effect these incidents may have on child viewers. I am very honored to have the opportunity to post a response from Beth Hurrle, co-founder of The Gal's Guide to MMA

Stephen Koepfer
Founder, Coalition to Legalize MMA in NY

I think it’s reprehensible that the Culinary Workers Union has gotten The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence involved in their personal campaign against the Fertitta brothers via UFC.  The NCDSV chooses to recycle old arguments against the UFC instead of providing any factual evidence that UFC leads to violence against women and the LGBT community.  The letter is an obvious attack against UFC, not MMA.  However, the backlash could affect everyone who participates in the sport.
I am trying to understand how a group that tries to stop violence can speak out against a sport that take active steps to help kids protect themselves against bullying.  They also completely ignore the countless women who have taken martial arts classes after being the victim of violence or to keep themselves from being victims of violence.  People who practice mixed martial arts learn respect, self control and discipline.  These are not virtues that you can associate with a man who beats and sexually assaults women.

Nowhere can I find their objections to other sports.  How can they ignore such high profile cases of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and homophobia in other sports?  Because UFC provides such unprecedented access to the fighters, they are bound to be more apt to have negative comments brought out into the spotlight.  However, following some recent high profile incidents, some fighters have shown true remorse and taken actions to increase their sensitivity to issues they may have been ignorant of.  Pretending other sports athletes don’t say or act in degrading ways towards women and the LGBT community because we haven’t heard it is ignorant and ridiculous.

Domestic and sexual violence is a worldwide concern.  The NCDSV has used it to promote the political agenda of a group of men and women who are involved in a culinary union.  They’ve cheapened their name and their cause by aligning themselves with a self-serving smear campaign against a company whose casino hiring practices they don’t agree with.  

Beth Hurrle
Co-Founder, Gal's Guide to MMA

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