It’s always interesting when a professional sports athlete or organization hosts an event to raise awareness for a charity or cause. The chief example in MMA is the UFC’s “Fight For The Troops” events, which have helped raise large sums of money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. But, and this makes me a very proud MMA fan to say this, many MMA fighters are taking it upon themselves to personally hold events to raise awareness. Take, for instance, Sam Stout, who recently gave an interview to promote his anti-bullying and anti-domestic violence campaign.
Here are some interesting quotes from Stout courtesy of our friends over at Fightline: “We’re in combat sports but we want to make it clear that it’s a sport to us and that we don’t condone violence in other settings… Violence against people who are not willing participants just isn’t right… This is a sport and it’s okay to do it inside the gym but once you leave the gym it’s only to be used for self defense and that’s it really.”
A veteran of over twenty professional fights, Sam Stout has been fighting for eight years. Stout has won four out of his last five bouts, including a recent KO victory over Yves Edwards that is a sure-fire “Knockout of the Year” contender. Stout faces fellow rising star Dennis Siver at the ridiculously-amazing (so long as no one gets injured) UFC 137 card in October.
If you’ll permit me to do so for a few minutes, I’d like to hop on the soapbox for just a quick bit.
I truly, honestly believe that it’s programs like these and fighters like Sam Stout that are leading the way for not only MMA’s global legalization, but also for its global acceptance as one of the best sports in the world.
If there’s one thing I absolutely detest, it’s ignorance. I’ve heard “violence begets violence” so many times when it comes to the reasons not to legalize MMA nation-wide that the phrase has lost all meaning to me. And still, old politicians and worried soccer-moms think that this sport isn’t the right fit for their state or home.
The truth of the matter is this: MMA is violent, but it’s a sport. The fights happen in a controlled environment, the fighters are professional athletes that work ridiculously hard to get to where they are. And to top it all off, most of them are pretty amazing people.
I really applaud Sam Stout for not only trying to raise awareness on such a wide-reaching pair of issues, but also for leading the charge and trying to set an example other MMA stars should honestly be following. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good “bad boy” MMA fighter, and in MMA we’ve got plenty of them. But, and this is something I firmly believe is integral to keep any sport both respectable and honorable, for every bad boy there needs to be at least one (preferably more) role model.
At first glance, it may sound strange to talk about role models in a sport that revolves around grown men trying to kick, punch, and choke each other unconscious. But many things, not just MMA, can end up surprising you if you’re just willing to go beyond that first glance.
In the past, I’ve had my differences with Sam Stout and where he finds himself in the UFC’s ultra-crowded Lightweight division if he manages to get past Dennis Siver. But I’ve never had a problem with Sam Stout as a person. And thanks to this interview, I now know for certain that Sam Stout is actually a pretty amazing person and even a role model.