Meryl Streep kicked the hornets nest.
Here infamous speech at the Golden Globe Awards showcased something that, despite some tremendous strides last year, still haunts mixed martial arts.
Streep’s comment about MMA not being an “art” shows that the sport is still misunderstood. Her words represent a group that still perceive it as a violent, brainless sport that pits two people in what Sen. John McCain called “human cockfighting”.
It causes alarm considering how much growth MMA has experienced in the last several years. The biggest milestone to date is the inclusion of cage fighting in New York.
A state that was once so against allowing MMA as a sanctioned sport, it changed its view last year, legalizing it and hosting UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. The historic night showed how much people care about fighting as a sport, setting a gate record with 20,457. MMA took a step up and was given its moment in the spotlight.
Both Ultimate Fighting president Dana White and Bellator president Scott Coker have taken exception to Streep’s comments. White issued a video calling Streep an “…uppity, 80-year-old women” and that he didn’t expect her to “…be a fan of mixed martial arts.”
Coker on the other hand has invited the actress to attend Bellator 170 on Jan. 21.
Does Streep’s word really hurt the sport? No. MMA will continue to experience growth spurts, competing with the likes of Major League Soccer. It might even grow higher and closer to a mainstream sport (at least one can hope).
But what does hurt with Streep’s remarks is that she is taking away the artistry of the fighters. In this sport a fighter can’t simply be a boxer or a wrestler and make it; at least not for very long. He has to master boxing along with kickboxing, and then strengthen his striking with a grappling art such as wrestling or judo or jiu-jitsu. And then there is the ground game, a world so unfamiliar to a lot of people on its mechanics, that has to be considered.
I’m sure Streep didn’t mean to cause this type of media firestorm. It’s no secret that she was addressing President-elect Donald Trump. But next time she should consider that art is what people make it out to be.
If it wasn’t so, then how would have Picasso or Van Gogh be considered artists? Or, to be fair, how could you consider 2008’s “Mamma Mia!” a form of art?