1. Should physical combat sports be banned?
Ans: Introduction: Combat sports have been in existence in different forms for more than 2000 years. With high risks prevailing is such sports and the nature of aggression demonstrated on the sporting arena, ethical issues have come up whether in a modern civilized society there is a place of such activities. Measures have been adopted to minimise the risks to participants yet the demonstration of skills in such thrilling fashion has been under criticism. There are both bright and dark sides of these sports but whether to eliminate them or not is the major debate.
Definition of Combat Sports: Combat sports may be defined as sports wherein two individual combatants fight each other using fighting techniques according to a set of prearranged rules.
Competitors use different techniques in different forms of Combat Sports, but the objective of any contest is to subdue the opponent. The question arises here that is it ethical to allow such a sport where the main intension is to harm your opponent.
The Dark Side of Combat Sports: The first thing that strikes into one’s mind while saying about the dark sides of such sports is morality.
1. Morality: As said earlier, is it morally correct for one human being to attempt intentionally to harm the brain of the other as in boxing. It might be true that reckless tackles are made in sports like American football, Soccer, ice hockey etc and also body line bowling prevails in cricket which sometimes result in serious injuries but one does not win the game by doing so. Where as in physical combat sports one can win only by hurting the opponent and that too so seriously that the opponent cannot continue to take part in the game anymore.
2. Impact on society: The impact of such sports on the society can be viewed in two different ways.
- Combat sports practice: Evidence of unlicensed boxing events exist where violence has reached its extremities but it may be argued that a sport, which is explicitly a stimulation of actual combat and which has clearly defined boundaries is less of a threat to the social order than such evidences.
- Another issue evolved which argued if participation in a combat sport results in increase of violence and aggression in a human being. But different researches have shown increase in social and emotional awareness among the participants.
- Viewing Combat sports: The effect of excessive media exposure of combat sports does have a positive impulse of violence in some people but for the vast majority of the population exposure to aggression and violence as a passive spectator is considered to have negligible impact on people’s social behaviour.
The Value of Combat Sports: Notwithstanding the violent nature of combat sports, “good” can be found in them just like any other sport. Any form of combat sport has the potential to improve physical health and well being. Higher physical competence and ability to defend one’s own self can be considered as the positive side of combat sports. Combat sports can also acts as a medium of self-expression and human bonding. Contrary to popular belief, winning is not the sole objective of fighting contests. Value is given to what can be learnt from the opponent, be it in victory or defeat.
Conclusion: Considering the fact that sport where the principal intent is to harm your opponent and with the high risk of fatalities and serious disabling injuries involved, the question arises both from the ethical and safety point of view as to whether or not combat sports be legally banned. In my opinion, before considering a legal ban and forcing the sport underground, each combat sport should be given the opportunity to review its rules for competition. For example, fighting within predetermined weight class, only one fight per night etc.