Well, here's an unexpected champion of the plight of the professional gamer: martial arts/acting legend Jet Li.
Attending a PvP event for Age of Wushu, a martial arts MMO, Li said "If poker card games and chess both have the players sitting down and are considered sports, why not virtual gaming as well."
"There are two kinds of sports: one physical and one mental. There is no good reason to debunk virtual gaming as a sport, and I believe the participants of such virtual PvP events have the same mentality as physical athletes."
You tell 'em, Jet. And if you can't tell 'em, kick 'em in the face.
Age of Wushu – Jet Li chats about his gaming experiences [MMO Culture, via Massively]