The ire of the MMA world was raised with Frank Mir’s recent comments about UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, and his wish for the death of the fighter in the Octagon.
UFC president Dana White responded to the comments yesterday, and Mir himself issued an apology on Tuesday acknowledging the statement was out of line.That said one of the harshest critics of the sport, Mike Wilbon, defended Mir’s comments on “Pardon the Interruption” on Wednesday.
“It’s not out of line, I’m sorry this wouldn’t even make the top 50 awful things Mike Tyson said he was going to do to an opponent some time that week before a big match in Vegas,” Wilbon said when asked about Mir’s comments.
“This is just how you promote boxing, MMA, wrestling, this is par for the course.”
Wilbon went on to say that former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson, was the king of saying controversial things before his fights, so much so it actually frightened him at the time.
“Mike said things that when I was sitting there I got scared and wanted to leave the press conference,” Wilbon commented.
Dan LeBatard, a columnist for the Miami Herald and ESPN contributor, who has been a fan of MMA for some time, brought up the fact that the sport is still trying to battle certain perceptions.
“Dana White is fighting something with this sport when John McCain calls it “human cockfighting”, this sport is safer than boxing, because people don’t know it, they look at it, they look at it and it’s violent,” LeBatard said.”It’s safer than boxing.So when you have this thrown in it’s something that Dana White’s trying to get rid of with this sport.”
ESPN programming has been featuring more and more MMA coverage lately, and a feature spot on one of the most popular programs, “Pardon the Interruption” can only be good for the future of the sport.