Let us decide what we want to watch
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is a tough sport. It's like a combination of boxing and wrestling and judo and taekwondo, and it's held in a cage.
Did I mention it's tough?
It began as a brutal, no-holds-barred experiment. But mixed martial arts (MMA), as the sport is formally known, has come a long way. A very long way. MMA is the world's fastest-growing sport.
UFC events are now televised in more than 150 countries and viewed by around one billion people. They are being held in major cities around the world.
The sport has evolved. The brutality has been scaled back to suit a mainstream audience.
That move has obviously been incredibly successful.
But no one loves this sport as much as Australians. We are the most receptive audience in the world. A 2010 UFC event held in Sydney sold out in 20 minutes - the quickest sell-out in UFC history.
However, don't expect to see the UFC in Melbourne anytime soon.
It has been effectively banned by a Victorian Government that has assumed the position of a parent, overzealously protecting us from a sport it thinks we can't handle.
In 2008, a parliamentary debate saw MPs conclude that "cage boxing" should be illegal in Victoria, mainly because it was seen as being in bad taste.
One MP remarked that he found "absolutely no joy whatsoever from watching" a UFC event. But since when did we decide what sports should be legal based on what members of Parliament personally enjoyed watching?
There are probably a lot of things in our personal lives that politicians would not enjoy watching, but happily remain legal. There's no question UFC is not a sport for everyone. But every athlete who competes and every spectator who attends does so voluntarily.
No one is forcing them to participate. But a paternalistic State Government is preventing them from doing it safely.
The Victorian Government does not ban MMA outright. It instead bans the UFC's preferred arena, known as the octagon. MMA events have been occurring in Victoria for many years. But because of the octagon ban they have been taking place in a boxing ring.
This makes the competitors much less safe. The octagon is pivotal in providing safety to the athletes. The rubber-coated fence prevents competitors from falling or being thrown into the surrounding area, something that occurs often when bouts take place in a boxing ring. The Government's ban on the octagon has the perverse consequence of making the sport much more dangerous.
And that is why the ban on the octagon is not supported by the head of the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board, the government body that regulates MMA in Victoria. The board was not consulted when the decision was made, despite chairman Bernie Balmer having previously advised the minister that the octagon represented "a safer environment".
By continuing to maintain this reasoning the Government is putting amateur MMA athletes at risk of serious injury. By not allowing the UFC to come to Melbourne, we are simply handing over a major sporting event to other capital cities.
This behaviour is in complete contrast to the way we have jealously guarded our other major sporting events - a practice that has seen our city become renowned as a global sporting capital. This has had huge economic advantages, bringing almost a quarter of a million people to the city each year, and adding $1.4 billion to the state's economy.
With Victoria's major events chiefs currently considering paying $4 million to bring the Red Bull Air Race to the city, turning away an event that will cost nothing and provide even bigger advantages, shows just how misplaced the Government's priorities have become.
Yet, despite all of the benefits of turning away from this illogical position, a small group of Victorian ministers doesn't feel we should be able to make our own decision on what we can and can't watch.