Joe Brolly: 'Time to ban these violent pro sports'

The pundit has called for sports like boxing and MMA to be banned

Joe Brolly: 'Time to ban these violent pro sports'

INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty

"These violent life and death sports are fun. They bring us to somewhere primitive inside us. It is why the spectators in the Colosseum gasped and cheered as the knife was thrust home."

In the wake of the untimely death on João Carvalho following an MMA event in the National Stadium, the debate over whether the sport should be banned has intensified.

The sport has always divided opinion among those on a national scale, with the barbaric stigma proving difficult to shake off despite the success of Conor McGregor in the UFC and the growth in numbers participating in martial art gyms across Ireland. 

The latest pundit to lend his two cents on the matter is Joe Brolly, who in his weekly column with the Sunday Independent, feels it is time that violent pro sports like MMA and boxing be banned for good. 

"Is it good enough that a young man be beaten to death in a cage for our amusement? Is it good enough that as he begins the slow process of dying, lying on the canvas like a tranquillised cow in the abattoir, Conor McGregor, our most famous sportsman, is giving high fives all around, laughing, and beating his chest?"

Recounting a number of infamous and tragic incidents throughout the history of boxing, including Chris Eubank Jr leaving Nick Blackwell in a coma just a fortnight ago, Brolly says there as inherent gene within us that seeks out violence.

"Something deep in us thrills to serious violence. Up to the end of the 19th century, public executions were the premier spectator sport in England.

"There was a fine house overlooking Tyburn with large balconies, from which the Sheriffs of the City of London and Middlesex watched the executions with their invited guests.

"When Henry Fauntleroy, a gentleman fraudster, was hanged at Newgate in 1824, the crows was estimated at 100,000. 

"If a smart promoter like Barry Hearn had been alive then, he'd have hired Michael Buffer to say 'Let's get ready to haaaaaaaaaaaang...."

"These violent life and death sports are fun. They bring us to somewhere primitive inside us. It is why the spectators in the Colosseum gasped and cheered as the knife was thrust home.

"Or why the toffs on the balcony at Newgate paid big money to watch the hangman paull the lever. 

"It is why young, penniless men are queueing up to try to murder each other in cages and boxing rings.

"It's not the fighters' fault. Nor the referees'. Nor the promoters'. Nor the audiences'. The law permits it. and it shouldn't. Time to ban these violent pro sports. Sometimes, human beings have to be protected from themselves."