UFC barbaric? Try the NHL

Canucks fans set a car on fire and riot in the streets after the team lost to the Bruins in Game 7...

Canucks fans set a car on fire and riot in the streets after the team lost to the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver, B.C., June 15, 2011. (CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI Agency)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:08 AM ET

Did you hear? The normally peaceful city of Vancouver was invaded by a group of barbaric sports fans last week.

That’s right the UFC and it’s legions of blood-thirsty, uneducated fans were out in full force at the Rogers Arena on June 11. Something needs to be done about this brutal “sport” and its violent fans.

Coincidentally -- and now ditching all sarcasm -- I should point out a few days after UFC 131, Vancouver was practically torn apart.

But it wasn’t a large group of MMA fans that turned the city into a warzone. I didn’t see any GSP headbands worn by rioters who torched cars, destroyed public property and clashed with police.

No, the supposedly barbaric event with its “knuckle-dragging” fans came and went peacefully, while Canada’s favourite sport received a massive black eye. Same venue, same alcohol available for purchase and yet the fight fans were well-behaved, while angry hockey-goers looked like a bunch of animals.

Not since the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Sudden Death has there been so much violence surrounding Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Vancouver fans have been down this road before, rioting when the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers in 1994. Montreal Canadiens fans also know a thing or two about rampaging during the playoffs.

But here’s where I stop enjoying the guilty pleasure that only comes from MMA looking like an angel compared to a more widely-accepted sport, despite constantly being unfairly maligned by detractors.

If it were UFC fans who caused the damage, every ignorant critic would be pounding their fists on their desks, demanding MMA be outlawed.

But I’m better than that and am not here to slam hockey, even though I find it dull to watch. Nor am I writing to insult those who love all things stick and puck. People are free to enjoy whatever they want.

What happened in Vancouver is not indicative of hockey fans, especially since some involved in the riot were disguised as Canuck supporters and just there to wreak havoc. I hope these individuals get what’s coming to them.

But for those who were letting out their Cup frustrations, it’s clear the wrong combination of alcohol, anger and adrenaline can cause people to do some pretty brain-dead things, regardless of their sport of choice. They also need to pay for their actions.

I just get tired of listening to morons label MMA as wanton brutality, despite a stellar track record for fighter safety and fan attendance, while giving a free pass to the indiscretions of other sports.

Hell, I’ve been in the cheap seats for at least half a dozen Blue Jays games this season and have witnessed a fight every time. However, it’s much calmer when I shell out more money for better tickets.

There’s also a wild video on YouTube where an older man attacks a younger tennis fan after an argument at the U.S. Open and both go tumbling down a couple rows. And – in the interest of objectivity – yes, you can find footage of UFC attendees going at it.

Wednesday’s riot is no doubt a pretty rare occurrence for hockey and I wouldn’t think to point my finger at its fans. I’m also aware most sports fans thankfully lack the mind-numbing ignorance necessary to label all MMA supporters as barbarians.

If you are a rational human being and fall under this category, give yourself a big high-five and continue being awesome. You’ve earned it.

But to those who continue to make such ridiculous generalizations, take a look at the footage from Wednesday night.

UFC fans have never rioted because their favourite fighter lost. They have never caused anywhere near that level of destruction following an event.

So the next time you open your big mouth about a sport you know so little about, stop and at least try to look at things objectively for once. After all, turnabout is fair play.


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