Disabled athletes are not uncommon in sports. But have you ever seen them fight in MMA? You might, later this year in South Yorkshire. Photo by Chris Jackson via Getty Images.
(Wheeled) Warriors ... come out to play!
Disabled people want to be afforded equal rights. That includes the right to get whacked in the face with a stump, which should not come as a surprise to mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who support the stateside career of congenital amputee Kyle Maynard.
Now, a European combat sports promotion is going out on a limb for some of its talent.
That means fight fans could be privy to an upcoming event in South Yorkshire expected to feature custom-fit wheelchairs (seen often in basketball and other sports) that will allow for combat between disabled athletes, as part of a partnership with the United Kingdom's Ultimate Cage Fighting Championships (UCFC) organization.
"Wheeled Warriors" head cheese Colin Woods explains (via Fighters Only):
"The Wheeled Warriors group and the Ultimate Cage Fighting Championships have joined forces to put on a series of bouts with fighters in wheelchairs and also amputees under MMA rules. It will take place later this year in South Yorkshire. It is clear this concept is well-received and ahead of its time as very few would expect something of its kind to come to fruition so soon. To conclude, this is a great collaboration which surely will improve sports and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Both sides are gaining opportunities."
This, Maniacs, is a sensitive topic.
While the aforementioned Maynard was finally able to compete in MMA, he was forced to do so in Alabama outside the jurisdiction of a sanctioning body. The MMA community was largely split down the middle in their opinions, but Wheeled Warriors at least features the disabled vs. the disabled.
Why? That's for them to decide.
If a group of fighters, confined to wheelchairs, are strong enough and determined enough to wheel themselves into the cage and fight, then by all means, have at it. But I expect them to park in the upper deck -- just like I have to -- when we get to the arena.