Buffery: Bully to you

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:52 PM ET

So, this is the word from yet another gilded egghead paraded out by a media outlet with an axe to grind — if you’re a mixed martial arts fighter or an NHL “goon” or, presumably, a pro boxer or Olympic Taekwondo champion, you have no “credibility” as a role model.

Peter Jaffe, an education professor at the University of Western Ontario and Thames Valley District School Board trustee (which means, of course, that his opinion is very important), says that Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters who helped spread the anti-bullying message to a group of school kids this week at the Rogers Centre are the “wrong messengers”. Jaffe believes that it’s hypocritical for UFC fighters to talk to kids about bullying because they’re involved in a “gruesome sport.”

Oh, and it just so happens that Toronto mayor Rob Ford is a big supporter of the UFC anti-bullying initiative but, of course, that has nothing to do with Jaffe being this week’s featured outraged intellectual.

His Haughtiness is entitled to his opinion, of course. But I wonder what that elderly couple in New Jersey thought of UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones last March when Jones chased down and tackled a robber who had just broken into their car. I wonder if they thought it hypocritical for someone involved in such a “gruesome sport” to charge to their aid.

And I wonder if the children’s cancers charities think it’s hypocritical for Jones to donate part of his earnings to their cause.

And I wonder if UFC light-heavyweight Dan Henderson was the “wrong messenger” when his company helped feed 2,000 families at Thanksgiving this year, and if it’s hypocritical for UFC middleweight Brian Stann to set up a non-profit organization to offer search and placement assistance to military veterans.

The list of UFC athletes giving back to society is substantive. The majority of these athletes are solid human beings, not salivating dunderheads. Yes, UFC fighting is brutal and sometimes bloody, so is boxing and karate and NHL hockey (and it’s not just goons who fight), and other sports. Is it inappropriate for all of these athletes to talk to kids about being good citizens and living a clean life?

New Jersey native John Cholish, who meets Edmonton’s Mitch Clarke in a lightweight bout on Saturday, is an Ivy League graduate from Cornell with a science degree who works as a commodities broker on Wall St. focussing on natural gas and crude oil options. Do you think the Prof would think that Cholish is the “wrong messenger” to teach mixed martial arts to underprivileged kids on weekends?

RADIO DUDE A PRUDE

I almost drove off the road when a dude on the radio announced this week that “nobody” will miss fighting in NHL hockey when it’s gone. “Trust me,” he said. What bleeding arrogance. My first thought was, well, I don’t trust him, because he’s not a hockey guy. He’s one of these experts who made his bones covering another sport but wades in from time to time with his all-knowing opinion that fighting in the NHL MUST be banned and that anyone who supports fighting is basically a Neanderthal.

These are the people who, in my opinion, don’t really like hockey, and won’t be happy until NHL players float around the ice like basketball players. What can’t these people just accept that, in the NHL brand of ice hockey, fighting is part of the game, and it has a place in the sport, as many (probably most) NHL general managers and players believe.

In professional contact sports — NHL hockey, boxing, football, whatever — men get hurt. But they know what they’re getting into. It’s been proven that clean hits in the NHL cause concussions. What’s next, ban all contact? Count me out.

WHILE I’M AT IT

* It’s about time MLSE took some of its millions and fixed up Ricoh Coliseum. It’s a great old barn in dire need of some major sprucing up. I mean, nice rat trap in the Marlies Alley. Yuck.

* Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul are first and fifth in NHL scoring (heading into Wednesday’s games) and Tyler Bozak is playing the best hockey of his career. Isn’t it time to give this line a nickname?

WEENIE OF THE WEEK

Former NHLer turned broadcaster Matthew Barnaby was fired by ESPN after being charged with drunk driving near his suburban Buffalo home. Barnaby was arrested after being caught in a Porsche Cayenne that was causing sparks because it was missing a front tire. Dude, never drink and drive, especially if your car has only three wheels.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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