Friday, March 27, 2015

The Josh Neer Dilemma: To fight a civilian or not

Former UFC fighter and MMA veteran Josh Neer, was in the center of a controversy last month, after he posted a video on YouTube that showed him beating up a civilian in his MMA gym in Iowa.

As expected, Neer's video went viral instantly, with a number of MMA news outlets--including TMZ Sports--sharing the video on their websites. 

After the first wave of negative reactions from the MMA community, Neer posted a response on his Facebook account to defend his actions.

Neer included a screen shot of his conversation with the man on the video, identified as Patrick Martin, an aspiring MMA fighter with no professional experience.

Despite Neer's statement on his Facebook posts, his video got mixed response from the MMA community, with some people agreeing with what he did, while others who claimed that he was wrong for taking up Martin on his challenge.

The Iowa Athletic Commission, the governing body where the beating took place, also responded after seeing the video, saying that they were going to investigate what happened and Neer could face some consequences for his actions.

No repercussions for Neer was ever issued after the investigation, nor did he face any legal issues, with Martin not wanting to press charges.

It is hard to take a stance on what Neer did. As far as legalities are concerned, Neer is of the hook, being that Martin does not want to press charges. In the court of law, he did not do anything wrong, as it was a mutual agreement between the two of them to fight.

There is however the ethical side of the incident, and whether or not Neer was right for beating up Martin.

Here is a careful examination of both sides of the argument...


According to acclaimed MMA trainer and American Kickboxing Academy head coach "Crazy" Bob Cook and a number of current and former MMA fighters, the incident involving Neer happens often.

Civilians come in an MMA gym all the time challenging professional fighters to a fight. 

Some guys who have been in plenty of street fights think that because of their experience they can just step into a gym and face off with a trained professional.

It is a slap on the face to the men and women who work hard everyday  and sacrifice their lives to achieve the level that they are on, in the MMA world.

For someone to step in a gym and think that they can be at a professional's level right away because of their experience fighting on the streets is disrespectful.

If Neer was telling the truth about Martin undermining his training as a professional, then he had every right to do what he did.

To show it online for everyone to see could serve as a warning for people in the future.

A testament as to why MMA fighters get paid to do what they do, and to show that there is a difference between a professional fighter and a guy off the street.


Whether or not Martin was telling the truth does not matter. Fact of the matter is, Neer is a professional and should not have succumbed to Martin's challenges.

Simply put, you do not see Lebron James playing a game of pick up basketball against people who criticize him and call him overrated.

As a matter of fact, people would be more forgiving of James dunking over Joe Schmo on a one-on-one game, than they ever will be of Neer on top control over Martin while raining down elbows.

Fighting is a violent sport. One where even a trained professional could severely get hurt during a fight.

What Neer did paints MMA fighters in a bad light. It confirms some people's stereotype of MMA fighters as hooligans; but anyone who pays attention to mixed martial arts would know that this is the furthest from the truth.

It is also not just the fact that Neer beat up a civilian but him throwing soccer kicks after the fight was already getting broken up that puts him in the wrong in the situation.


Overall, everyone involved in what happened should take the blame.

Neer and Martin are both at fault for even agreeing to fight in the first place. 

Neer should not have fought Martin knowing that it wasn't even a fair fight. Martin, on the other hand, should have known better than to challenge a man of Neer's caliber.

The people around at the time are also to blame, for not breaking up the fight and letting it happen in the first place, especially the head coach who endorsed the fight in his gym and for recording the fight in the first place. 

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