The former U.S. Representative from Georgia wrote in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
In the 1985 movie "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," Mel Gibson as the film’s hero is forced to participate in a bloody, to-the-death fight in a large cage from which he is not allowed to exit. The bloody fighting was performed for the blood lust of the applauding audience. This theatrical fight seems now, 25 years later, to have been a precursor to what has become a multi-million dollar entertainment industry known as "cage fighting."
Cage fighting is also referred to as "mixed martial arts" fighting and "ultimate fighting." While the organized aspect of the "sport" does not include among its attractions fights to the death, it clearly panders to the extreme violence craved by its large and growing audience in the U.S. and other countries (its modern rendition appears to have originated in Brazil). Single matches staged in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles can net tens of millions of dollars for promoters and participants.
A recent episode in which an off-duty cage fighter murdered his training partner by cutting out his still-beating heart, has drawn attention to the violent and violence-engendering nature of cage fighting. The alleged murderer, Jarrod Wyatt, apparently had ingested hallucinogenic mushroom tea before the grisly murder of his training partner in Klamath, California.
Barr demonstrates an unapologetic lack of knowledge on the sport that he criticizes, but it's nothing new from him. It's just further evidence that we must continue to educate the general public on the sport, show them stories like Lyle Beerbohm's and introduce them to articulate athletes like Shane Carwin. There will always be the ignorant like Barr, but we must prevent the rest from getting caught in the echo chamber.