Gladiator (Blog Post #2)
Cell phones, video games, television, speakers, freedom of speech, are all rights and inventions that are normal to Americans now a days and they don’t get their much deserved thought and praise on an every day basis… but think about someone from ancient roman times in the 1st century BC for example. What do you think they would think of such a world?
Naturally progression will occur, but in our case, it progressed in ways that no one could possibly foresee. While on the surface, this is pretty obvious. However, in some cases, it’s amazing to see how similar we are at the same time to ancient 1st century BC time periods, just in a 2016 type of way.
If anyone has seen the movie gladiator, or knows anything about what that meant during those ancient times, it was a blood bath style of fighting where two men would enter the arena, but only one would leave alive. It wasn’t strictly a two man war, sometimes there’d be multiple men, or other obstacles but the point is, their lives were on the line every time they stepped in the arena and it was battle. The crowds would be huge, and the republic was behind it. Sometimes the kings of the time would order such a fight, or try to organize one, and a result, would be the face of the fight. However, the crowd would not be showing up for the king, but rather, in a morbid way, to see something bad happen, while also appreciate the fierce bravery of such warriors. However, most of these warriors, and their families were forgotten about because some died, and they were looked at as far below the King of the republic, who of course, would never step a foot in the arena and risk his life. Needless to say the king profited greatly from such events.
Lets fast-forward to 2016… what is the most watched television broadcast of the year? Super Bowl 50. In fact, position 1 through 7 of all time television broadcasts viewership in the United States belongs to the NFL. Now what does this have to do with gladiator times? Well, the 2016 version is the NFL and the UFC. Up until last year, the NFL was a public company, which meant they had to release all salaries to the public of every executive and player. So, what did the richest NFL player make, 22 million, which is a ton of money? But want to hear an even bigger number? 44 million, which is what the commissioner of the league makes, a guy who has never played in the NFL. With the NFL being as dangerous of a sport as it is, I find that extremely unfair.
Now for the UFC, if you want you talk to about modern day gladiators, look no further than the UFC. In fact, and may he rest in peace, Joao Carvalho, a mixed martial arts fighter who competed in the UFC, recently died during a professional match in April. It saddened the world, which at least shows it’s not completely gladiator style where death would be practically celebrated.
Nevertheless, this brings me to the point that less than 2 months ago; the UFC was sold for 4 billion dollars to a talent agency WME. Now, what do you think happened to that 4 billion? No it did not go the fighters who truly put their lives on the line and have built up the sport from nothing. Obviously, the suits that did get the check founded the UFC and of course they deserve some of it, most of it in fact, but it’s not right that none of the fighters of the UFC received anything.
In the NFL and the UFC, the athletes that are competing are going to live with permanent physical damage to their brain and body. While this is occurring, they are selling tickets, and contributing to one of the most profitable aspects of American culture, however just like in gladiator times, it seems that there is a person with more power who does not compete who receives the profits that most athletes desire.