Jerry Thomas is the owner of West Virginia Sports Promotions in Clarksburg, and has promoted local Toughman and boxing events for the past 30 years. Thomas claims he has had experience with MMA events in Ohio and is vehemently opposed to the sport. “After five of those events, I made a decision to stop promoting those events because I could see the potential for serious injury,” Thomas told West Virginia’s MetroNews on Monday. “It had several people knocked unconscious, one broke an arm. It was pretty scary.”
“Why do we need MMA? Do we want to put our fighters that are primarily competing now in some of the safest form of boxing competition in a very serious at-risk competition? The risk of neck injury and serious, long term paralysis is very high in that competition,” Thomas told an unnamed reporter in the interview. Thomas also claims that the entire commission is against the idea of MMA being sanctioned, “because they know the risk.”
Thomas went on to say that the people competing in these toughman events would be the ones fighting MMA, and that there is no proof that MMA can generate revenue. More importantly, and I think the key to his gripe, is that he believes that MMA threatens to hurt the amount of money boxing brings in. I would like to see his proof of that since a sentence ago, he said MMA brings in no money. As “Sambo” Steve Koepfer said at the Rally to Legalize MMA in New York earlier this week, it’s time to correct the record and explain why this guy is totally wrong.
If you are from West Virginia, and more importantly if you are not, head over to the MetroNews contact page and send their editorial staff a short and polite message explaining what MMA can do for the state and how it is the exact opposite of what Mr. Thomas has mentioned. If we don’t set them straight, who will? And please do not try to contact Mr. Thomas through Facebook, there are way too many people with that name to even begin finding his profile so save yourself the time and speak with the people that spread the word. Let’s hear it for getting MMA sanctioned in all 50 states!