MMA fighter with Downs unable to compete

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4107
MMA fighter with Downs unable to compete

Should an MMA fighter with Downs be barred from fighting? Is it exploitative to let him fight or discriminatory to bar him from fighting?

Fighter with Down syndrome wants to get in ring | HLNtv.com

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I can understand the worry about not exploiting someone with disabilities. MMA is certainly risky, and I don't think that anyone who is unable to understand and consent to that risk should be allowed to do it. Having said that, I don't think that having Downs automatically disqualifies you from being able to understand and consent. I'm no expert (so if someone with better knowlege than mine can comment, I am interested to hear) but my understanding is that Down's is basically a processing disorder. People with Downs are not necessarily any less capable of understanding a concept than anyone else, it just takes longer to process. If this young man is capable of understanding the risks involved and has chosen to go ahead with it, then I feel it is more respectful to honor his decision. It sounds to me like this would be an opportunity of a lifetime for both opponents, and also an opportunity for them to show the world that people who are disabled can still be awesome athletes. So, with the caveat of ensuring that he understands the risks, I say let him fight!

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4107

I think this is just wrong. There is an element of risk to any athletic event. What are they going to stop the Special Olympics? I agree with the National Down Syndrome Society on this one.

Mitch Holeve reached out to the National Down Syndrome Society for their comment on Garrett's situation, and he replied in a statement Holeve read to HLN: "The National Down Syndrome Society supports Garrett 100% in his right to compete in the sport of his choosing like any other athlete. He's been given no reason for why he can't compete. This is his life, his work, his sport, and his right and we'd like to understand why he is being blocked from competing."

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Nothing to add. Completely agree with Alissa.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

It's not "Downs," it's Down syndrome, or Ds for short. Some people with Ds *are* less capable of understanding some things, and it's not just that they need longer to think about it. I don't think you can apply a broad brush and say, "No one with Ds should be able to fight MMA," because many people with Ds are very capable of doing lots of things just fine, and I do think it's discriminatory to assume that this young man can't do something just because he carries an extra chromosome. That said, being a fighter is much different than being a sparring partner, and I'd want to make sure that he fully understands the risks of making that next step. Only his parents & doctors know him well enough to know that, and I'd say if they've signed off, then let him fight.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Sorry, is "Down's" offensive? I wasn't trying to be. And yes *some* people with Down's Syndrome are less capable of understanding things. Some people without Down's Syndrome are also less capable of understanding things. My only point is that I don't think you can assume that this young man is incapable of understanding based purely on the fact that he has Down's Syndrome; you should treat him as an individual and base it on his level of understanding rather than making a blanket ban.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4107

Thats silly. Thank you politically correct police. I have heard Downs used as short for Down's Syndrome all the time and have never once heard that it is offensive. I'm pretty sure if you put DS no one would know what you were talking about.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1530

Dh is the president of the board for our local Down syndrome advocacy group, the groups main focus is on helping the public understand that there is a HUGE array of abilities within the down syndrome community. We have a girl that is close to graduating high school and she has been in regular classes her whole school experience, and we have some that are non verbal and still in diapers. I do not believe that a blanket statement can be made on whether or not this man is able to compete. Given some of the physical limitations that can effect people with Down syndrome I would hope that this man sought medical clearance before fighting.

I dont think I have ever heard the term "Downs" as offensive?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

It's not being politically correct; it's being factually correct and gramatically correct. The condition is called Down syndrome, it's not Down's Syndrome. John Langdon Down didn't create it nor did he name it after himself, so it should not be referred to in the possessive. It's not Downs syndrome because his name is not pluralized and there was only one of him. And the only time syndrome should be capitalized is when it's part of a proper name of an established group.

At least no one's called young Mr. Holeve a "Downs kid." :rolleyes:

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Ah, I didn't get your meaning from the first post.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"Spacers" wrote:

It's not being politically correct; it's being factually correct and gramatically correct. The condition is called Down syndrome, it's not Down's Syndrome. John Langdon Down didn't create it nor did he name it after himself, so it should not be referred to in the possessive. It's not Downs syndrome because his name is not pluralized and there was only one of him. And the only time syndrome should be capitalized is when it's part of a proper name of an established group.

At least no one's called young Mr. Holeve a "Downs kid." :rolleyes:

I'm not trying to be obtuse; just confused. Lou Gehrig didn't name ALS for himself or create it. Yet ALS is frequently referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. What makes Down Syndrome different? Would it be okay then if it was referred to as John Langon Down's syndrome? (No long proper noun but a description like Lou Gehrig's disease?)

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6545

I have nothing to add to this, but I did want to say that I had to Google MMA. Smile

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

I'm not trying to be obtuse; just confused. Lou Gehrig didn't name ALS for himself or create it. Yet ALS is frequently referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. What makes Down Syndrome different? Would it be okay then if it was referred to as John Langon Down's syndrome? (No long proper noun but a description like Lou Gehrig's disease?)

I think maybe it's because amyotrophic lateral sclerosis doesn't really mean anything to anyone outside of the medical community, and nor does the shortened form of ALS. But if people remember Lou Gehrig and the disease he had maybe it's more identifiable to them. I don't know if he was even still alive when people started calling it Lou Gehrig's disease. Probably not.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3179

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I have nothing to add to this, but I did want to say that I had to Google MMA. Smile

I only found out about it recently and everybody else seemed to already know all about it. It was news to me.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

I'm not trying to be obtuse; just confused. Lou Gehrig didn't name ALS for himself or create it. Yet ALS is frequently referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. What makes Down Syndrome different? Would it be okay then if it was referred to as John Langon Down's syndrome? (No long proper noun but a description like Lou Gehrig's disease?)

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

I think maybe it's because amyotrophic lateral sclerosis doesn't really mean anything to anyone outside of the medical community, and nor does the shortened form of ALS. But if people remember Lou Gehrig and the disease he had maybe it's more identifiable to them. I don't know if he was even still alive when people started calling it Lou Gehrig's disease. Probably not.

ITA with what Lisa said. "Lou Gehrig's disease" is a colloquial term, not a medical diagnosis, so you doctor tells you that you have ALS but you might say "Lou Gehrig's disease" to your friends, kwim? Also, it seems to me that as years pass and fewer & fewer people know who Lou Gehrig was, that colloquialism is starting to fade. And finally, Lou Gehrig *had* ALS; John Langdon Down did *not* have Down syndrome, so again, grammatically speaking, it would be incorrect to call it Down's syndrome.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1530

I didnt know what MMA was until this summer. One of DD's friends is about to have a nephew that they are naming Uriah. I thought it was from the bible or from the Divergent book series, DD's friend said "No it is my BIL's favorite MMA fighter" I had to look it up

Joined: 05/13/13
Posts: 34

If he understands the risk and the sport why not let him compete? I get so frustrated reading about people who have x,y, or z not being allowed to do certain things because of some people's inability to see them as anything but their diagnosis.

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