It's not enough for Bob Reilly to spread this silly anti-MMA argument around his budget-crunched state of New York. Now Reilly is being leaned on as some sort of voice of reason worldwide. The New York Assemblyman joined The Telegraph's Gareth A. Davies in a spirited debate on BBC radio. Not surprisingly, Reilly is now shamelessly throwing the recent death of MMA rookie Michael Kirkham into his argument.
"Violence begets violence. To us, we can't imagine putting people in a cage, sometimes literally fighting to the death," said Reilly. "Because a fighter was tragically killed a week ago in South Carolina. To put two men in a cage or two women in a cage and let them fight until one is dead, is not something for a civilized society."
Davies promptly fired back pointing out that it's just the second death in the history of MMA and added that Kirkham's parents spoke recently, and the last thing they want is their son used as a pawn in Reilly's publicity stunt.
"'He was following his dream. We hope that this doesn't become an argument for trying to ban a sport that Michael loved,'" said Davies, relaying the Kirkham's message. "'He would not have wanted his name used for that purpose."
Reilly pins an uptick in violence amongst youth on the rise of MMA.
"What is omitted, by almost everyone, is that this is a brutal sport," said Reilly. "In the U.S., we are trying to combat brutality in our schools. We have a huge problem of domestic violence. We have a huge problem with inner city kids with guns and violence."
Pretty outrageous stuff. But Reilly has the ear of way too many folks in the state of New York and maybe many worldwide. It would seem to me that MMA, a sport fighting with rules and requiring strict discipline and dedication, is the least of the problems to address for folks who are trying to battle rising crime rates.
- Bob Reilly