By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 16, 2009 at 11:18 AM

The world of mixed martial arts, strange and unusual world that it is, erupted in force last week over my little bit of a column on the pathetic bloodlust sickness of their sport.

I never, ever respond to criticism. I've got my opinion, they've got theirs. In this case, though, the response was so overwhelming that I needed to say something.

I figured that I would mount an equally-spirited defense of my position that this MMA thing is a horrible example of a world gone crazy with lust. It's the same thing that Michael Vick got convicted for and only a hair above cock-fighting because, as far as I can tell, there is no on-site gambling. But, I've had my say.

I figure the best way for me to put this whole thing to rest, is to give those who wrote a chance to see their own words in my column. Here goes:

Let's start with some of the things the lovely responders called me. Old Geezer. Stupid. Ignorant (got this one a lot). Grumpy Old Man. Narrow-minded. Chicken. A wimp who got beat up a lot. Naïve. Ill-informed. Idiot. Insane. Obnoxious. Ignorant blowhard. Ornery.

Those are just some of the names. Here is a sample of some of my favorite criticisms. In parentheses, I've got my response to what they say. And for those who aren't sure what parentheses are, they look like this (I'm kidding, people, relax).

Let's start with someone who's Talkback handle is RalphsRest. He wrote: "Are you that out of touch? You've probably been beat up your whole life and can't stand to watch a sport as great as MMA." (I've been in lots of bar fights in my life. Won most of them. Lost some. Got the scars to prove it, too.)

Next comes Alba Jaramillo, who writes: "I started reading your mmmm ... how can I put it ... text ... before I saw your picture, and yup, you really sound like you look, REALLY REALLY OLD, come on, do you consider yourself a writer? You are a shame to journalists around the globe." (Am I old? I guess that depends on your viewpoint. Somebody who's 30 probably thinks I'm old. Somebody who's 80 figures I'm young. So, it depends. Plus, I'm not so sure that journalists around the globe are tuned into my column or this dispute.)

Dominic Mancusso wrote: "I'm surprised that someone who came up with those words didn't drown while in their mother's womb. I would pay to see someone fight a lion." (I should point out that Dominic runs a company called DRIVN Industries. Here's what the company Web site says: "DRIVN Industries was founded for the sole reason of providing high quality trendy, edgy and all around stellar looking clothing and accessories to those of us who demand the best out of life. At DRIVN, we aim to position ourselves as "THE Expression of Speed" and fast living in the country, instantly recognized by anyone. By supporting and working with various industries ranging from drag racing to nightclubs, design studios to sports figures and even video game icons, we are out every day with our fingers on the pulse of what is new, entertaining and all around incredible in the world. We cater to anyone who has the balls (figuratively for the ladies) to go out and not only go for what you want, but take it by any means necessary.")

Brandon Bates called it verbal diarrhea and said he thought I could watch ballet or synchronized swimming. (I love ballet. I hate synchronized swimming).

From Birky311 comes: "... may God have mercy on your soul." (God has lots of important things to do, Birky, and reading my column or your criticism probably aren't on his list.)

From someone calling himself George Will: "Dave gets paid by the number of comments he generates -- isn't it obvious." (Just goes to show how stupid some people could be. I don't know a single columnist in this world who would take a deal like that.)

A guy named Victor Golf said that he could prove that UFC athletes aren't thugs by pointing out that one of them, "Mirko :Cro Cop" is a former member of the Croatian Parliament, law enforcement officer and a member of Croatias elite anti-terror squad. Another one is a BIOLOGIST! (Wow! Well I guess that shows me!)

Someone called Combat Corner wrote: "Revocation of this man's right to be heard is the only way to prevent the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!" (Is that really the ONLY way?)

Hckyboy00 says: "Also, since you brought up the topic of MMA leading to ancient gladiator pit fighting against lions and vipers, I'm assuming you believe gay marriage will lead to incest and bestiality." (Nope, you're wrong. I don't believe that. I support gay marriage.)

Beave54 wrote: "These Athletes train in many different styles and make each one an art form." (Art form? My guess is that the National Endowment for the Arts isn't considering MMA.)

Some guy called AroundandAround wrote: "Wow that's the type of ignorance expected from a baby boomer. Can we just lay it out and say that yours is the worst generation in our U.S. history? I'm sure when people were fighting "lions, etc." in Rome there was some genius like you saying this was a sign of the end. Our future is bright with the end of the irrational baby boomer reign beginning you have a generation coming up that is more diverse, more educated and more equipped to handle the "scary world" out there, with this "thuggish MMA, scary Sadam (sic) and his WMD, and all others" (Hmmmmm. Food for thought).

There was also a body of critics who thought I should actually go see a MMA event somewhere in Wisconsin. I'm not afraid to go. I just don't know where they are or when they have them. But whether I see one or not doesn't provide me any advantage in deciding whether I like it.

My favorite criticisms, though, came from the several concerned citizens who wrote to lodge what they called "A Formal Complaint" with management.

"A Formal Complaint?"

It was usually accompanied by about a dozen exclamation points. As in "A Formal Complaint!!!!!!!!!!" That's different, I suppose, from an informal complaint.

Even though I haven't checked with management, my guess is that they don't have "How to Handle A Formal Complaint Instead of an Informal Complaint" in the company handbook.

For all of those people who wrote lodging what they thought was "A Formal Complaint," let me deliver the bad news. There is no such thing as a formal complaint. You got a complaint? Make your complaint. They are all neither formal or informal. Saying it's a formal complaint is not going to get you any added points on the "Do I Care About These Complaints?" scale.

There we go. I hope all these people are finally happy.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.