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Take A Shot!

What’s Your Opinion On An Issue in Combat Sports?

 Op-Ed Assignment

WRGT 101

Assignment 2: Take A Shot: What’s Your Opinion On An Issue in Combat Sports?

An Op-Ed is an article that expresses the opinion of the writer as its main focus. These are typically written by people who are experts on a topic. These articles are a persuasive argument; something created to sway the reader’s opinion to the author’s point of view.

This assignment is a chance for you to express your informed opinion on a topic relevant to combat sports. Your job is to take an opinionated stand on this issue (claim), use techniques of persuasive writing (rhetoric) to sway your reader to agree with you, and back it up with facts (evidence.)

Your argument will also engage the “other side” on the issue you are discussing. For instance, if you’re arguing that MMA is a dangerous sport and should have more head trauma regulations, then you must include the argument for why it might be considered less harmful than other sports which use pads and helmets.

You will then press your evidence and rhetoric against this opposing argument, to sway your reader back toward agreeing with your claim. You will detail your sound reasoning and use solid evidence (citable facts, quotes from experts, examples, etc.) to show your “expertise” on this subject. Your credibility as an expert will come from the research and reading you do to situate yourself in this issue.


Your essay will be 4-5 pages and express your clear opinion on a topic regarding fighting. You will include specific facts and information, but make your own thinking the star of this particular show.

Your assertions must be supported using credible evidence and a clear rhetorical strategy. Be able to answer: Who are your readers? What particular words will be effective with this audience? How will you “take down” the opposing position to yours? Is your approach emotional? Logical? Credibility-based? Some combination of the three? What do you wish to persuade your reader to conclude after reading your essay? How do you have authority in this area?

Some Things to Think About:

- Be well informed about your topic. Do plenty of research before beginning, so you know the issue well enough to put it in your own words

- Analyze your audience. To whom are you speaking? A sympathetic reader? An antagonistic one? Knowing to whom you are “talking” will ground your argument and keep it focused.

- Why should your reader believe you? How has this issue moved you or effected your life, specifically? (This is why I encourage you to choose an issue you actually care about. Let your voice speak to this not just to get a good grade, but because you care about what might happen around this issue.)

- Consider a thesis that is arguable. Who would oppose your stance? How would you win an argument with that “naysayer?”

- Consider Logos, Pathos and Ethos. How can you include these branches of rhetoric in your argument?

- Engage your readers with humor or drama or compassion – use devices to “wake them up” and get them to pay attention to your stance.


Your essay must be 4-5 pages long, typed, double-spaced and in 12-point Times New Roman.

You must include at least three different sources of evidence, but more are welcome. You may use popular sources that are vetted (Time magazine, yes; Wikipedia, no) and find at least one scholarly sources. You may use YouTube. Primary sources are also permitted. You must include an MLA formatted Works Cited page.

** Attempt a metaphor in your op-ed. This need not be an elaborate, extended metaphor, but could be the simple substitution of a word that calls up a vivid metaphorical image. Metaphor adds vigor to your writing by helping to simplify and make visual complex arguments. It lets the reader distill an abstract idea into a more easily understood concrete variation.

To Get You Started (for Thursday, March 7th):

· Write down at least three issues/conflicts that you are compelled by and write down some thoughts. Come in on Thursday with about a page of notes (bullet points and lists are fine)

Finding Your Topic:

§ Think about what we’ve been discussing through our readings, films, and class discussions? What issue in fighting has struck you? We’ve covered race, gender, class, morality, corruption, capitalism, geopolitics, the human struggle, etc.

§ After you choose your issue, write down some ideas on what you really think about it. Honesty is the best approach. Next, look for what “experts” in the field are saying about your issue. Find credible people with experience or knowledge in this issue and pull quotes from them you can respond to in your essay. You must put evidence behind whatever claims you are making.

· Find two op-eds that moved you and bring them to class. Start thinking about the rhetorical moves and choices the writers made. These do not have to deal with fighting. I am more interesting in the writing.

Publication Sources: Opinion pieces by Chuck Mindenhall, Luke Thomas, and

Jeff Wagenheim in the Washington Post -- This site compiles op-eds from major newspapers around the world. Although it does not invite freelance op-eds, it can lead you to sources where you may submit your work. As with Newslink, you’ll need to research each source’s submission guidelines. -- You can link to hundreds of newspaper and journal listings through this site. From there, you’ll need to research each source’s submission guidelines. Don’t miss the links accessing international, local and state news sources. -- This site provides basic guidelines for writing and publishing op-eds. -- Although this site is intended to mobilize support for Gaza and the Palestinian peace process, it offers contact information and basic guidelines for publishing op-eds that will help all writers. – This is an open-access site that invites any and all opinions on topics of the day. The suggested limit is 500 words. – This grassroots site seeks to become the “premier online destination for political opinions, organization and informed debate.” You can link your blog or post an individual op-ed to the site, but be sure to follow the site’s style guide, “Tips for Writing Op-eds.” – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Contact Check out HP’s “Links” (bottom right corner) for other sources. – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Use the “Feedback” link on the upper toolbar and then click on “Editorial Inquiry.”

to post your work, we'll try to let you know -- it's something we like to do.” Submit your work via the “Contacts” link. – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Contact Check out HP’s “Links” (bottom right corner) for other sources. – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Use the “Feedback” link on the upper toolbar and then click on “Editorial Inquiry.”