Posted July 21, 2015 by Melanie Gale in News

“Real Sports” Takes on Domestic Violence in MMA

Domestic violence touches every segment of society. It’s not limited to one country, one culture, one socio-economic class. An abuse victim could be the person sitting next to you on the subway, the coworker you eat lunch with, your child’s teacher. It could be you. There is still a stigma attached to many domestic violence victims and survivors: why did they stay in the relationship so long? What did they do to deserve it? If you push someone’s buttons, expect to be hit, right?

Domestic violence exploded across mainstream media in the United States last year when news of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s assault against his fiancée surfaced. It intensified as surveillance videos of the attack were discovered and aired. American football is a huge sport in the United States, so it garnered a lot of airtime and ink, and debates have raged since then about how sports organizations should discipline athletes accused of domestic violence.

Now HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” explores domestic violence in professional MMA in its latest segment, “Outside of the Cage.”

In the segment, producer David Scott talks about how the almost-fatal domestic violence attack against Christy Mack by Jon Koppenhaver aka War Machine, then a welterweight for Bellator, quickly faded out of mainstream media coverage while the Ray Rice saga continued to be discussed. For the first time, Christy Mack talks about the night War Machine almost murdered her, and how she was doubly victimized by many in the MMA community after the attack, as they either blamed her for the attack or marginalized her injuries because of her profession as an adult entertainment actress.

Scott also discusses what MMA organizations have – and haven’t – done to address domestic abuse allegations and convictions by their fighters.

Jon Koppenhaver was also on TUF Season 6, and was later cut from the UFC after a matchmaking dispute and comments he made about the death of fellow fighter Evan Tanner. He remains jailed on 34 felony charges, including attempted murder, sexual assault, battery, and coercion.

WomensMMA is a well-known advocate of accountability for domestic violence in MMA, and our editor-in-chief has written a series of articles on this topic.

HBO Real Sports: Domestic Violence in Sports (Contains Adult Language)

This episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel premieres Tuesday, July 21, at 10pm ET on HBO.

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Melanie Gale