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New York Times Profiles Shad Smith, an Openly Gay Convicted Felon MMA Fighter

In a long profile in today's New York Times Magazine, Paul Wachter tells the story of Shad Smith, a mixed martial arts fighter who is a convicted felon and, as far as I know, the only openly gay professional MMA fighter in the country. Here's a look at Smith in action:

The profile of Smith is something I'm glad to see for the simple reason that I think America's Paper of Record needs to cover the sport of MMA. As I said in a Q&A on the Times' web site, the sport is too important for the Times not to cover.

But I also think the profile does a good job, for people who aren't familiar with the sport, of explaining the distinction between legitimate, sanctioned MMA fights, and things like the phenomenon known as Felony Fights, which you can find on YouTube if you're into such things. Some people who insist on finding reasons to dislike MMA will insist that it's savagery, but if you show me a person who can't see the difference between Felony Fights and sanctioned MMA, I'll show you a person who is not very smart.

The whole profile is worth a read, as Shad Smith is a one-of-a-kind character. And, considering that many people who read the New York Times Magazine have no idea what mixed martial arts is, it's a fascinating introduction to the sport.

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