Why should you watch Mixed Martial Arts? Well, it’s the best sport in the world!!!! That should be enough for you to get your hands on the latest UFC and Dream events right now, shouldn’t it?
Still not convinced? Read on:
In the last few years, I have become more and more obsessed with this sport, branching out from following one promotion so that I’m constantly reading about and watching five or six different promotions at all times. Why is that? Because Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. If anything to do with Martial Arts, Olympic combat sports, or just fighting interests you, this is what you need in your life!
MMA has grown from what it was in the early 1990s, when a master of one style was pitted against a master of another style in an attempt to distinguish what martial art was the best in the world (the answer to that is Brazilian ju-jitsu by the way). The sport now is exactly what it sounds like: fighters, with backgrounds in multiple martial arts or fighting styles attempting to defeat an opponent of a different or similar fighting background. Ways to win are simple; submission, knockout, or judges’ decision if it goes the full three rounds or five rounds in a championship match.
Over the last few years, MMA has become one of the biggest sports in the world and it only continues to grow. It will soon pass the NHL in terms of popularity in the USA and that’s something to take notice of. (And just for all of the Americans reading this that are saying, who cares about hockey? Hockey is the 4th or 5th biggest sport in the US, depending on where you are, so, it IS something to take notice of!!!)
To people who have studied martial arts, this may seem like an abomination, doing away with the traditional style of studying one art and becoming a master in it. However, MMA doesn’t seek to replace the traditionalistic sense of what martial arts are, it combines all of them together to see who can be the best athlete when any style is permitted. Obviously there are rules, as MMA is sanctioned by governing athletic commissions and is highly regulated for safety, so the fights aren’t what you would witness outside of a bar on a Saturday night, regardless of what they might first appear to be to the uneducated viewer (meaning no one is breaking their white sunglasses in the middle of the cage while being held back by a friend).
For many people, MMA seems overly violent. It is totally legal to take a guy down, get on top of him, and hit him in the face repeatedly until the ref pulls you off. Yes, it is violent, but if you look at the stats, there are more injuries and deaths in football or boxing every year than there are in MMA. Mixed Martial Arts is essentially a complex game of chess rather than a ruleless bloodsport. Instead of pieces, bodies are used, and instead of checkmate, your opponent is rendered unconscious or unable to continue.
MMA in Japan is GIGANTIC. There are scores of events every week taking place all over Japan. So, not only has MMA become a popular worldwide sport, it is a sport that the Japanese love to embrace as part of their culture. Many fighting styles originated in Japan and because of that the Japanese fans appreciate MMA far more than the average “gaikoku” fan, at least in my opinion. That being said, fights in Japan have a different set of rules and to a fan educated in “western MMA” it may seem odd, so beware.
Even if you’re totally against fighting and violence, I suggest you at least check this out and view it with an open mind. (Even Vinnie, who couldn’t throw a punch to save his life, enjoyed it -Ed.)
These fighters train daily in a whole slew of different fighting disciplines in order to get in a ring and showcase their skills. They truly are some of the best athletes on the planet and they put on a show that is more spectacular than anything I’ve ever seen before.
For the uneducated MMA fan that doesn’t know the difference between an Americana or a Kimura (both are arm submissions, look at you learning things!) who is currently saying to themselves, “I’m not into fighting or martial arts and I’ve just wasted the last five minutes of my life reading this article, I like the sports I like and that’s that! Screw this article, I’m going to watch cricket now!”, I’m going to paraphrase Joe Rogan, a UFC commentator here. At the end of the day, what are all sports? They are human beings dominating other human beings, teams dominating other teams. When you watch football, hockey, basketball, cricket or whatever, you’re watching hoping that your team completely DOMINATES the other. And that need for domination is in our DNA (include your own sexy joke here). Imagine a field and in three corners of the field there’s a different sport being played: baseball, basketball, and soccer (footie). All of a sudden, a fight breaks out in the 4th corner. Where are the spectators of all the sports gonna go? They’re going to run to the fight. Especially if they’re in high school…you remember those days, “FIGHT!!! There’s a FIGHT!!!! Bobby Smith is going to fight Dan McLastnamerson!!!! FIGHT!!!!!!”
MMA gets rid of all of those other things that get in the way of human beings dominating other human beings that are present in every other sport. There is no basket or net or end zone that helps one group or person prove they are dominating the other…the only way to prove that in MMA is to go out and fully DOMINATE your opponent in ACTUAL combat. And that is what MMA is, within a safe environment, obviously.
Think about it.
Although the previous paragraph probably just made half of the female readership discontinue reading this (whoops!), the ladies I’ve introduced to this sport dislike the bloodiness that sometimes makes appearances, but love the technical aspect of the fights. Plus, I’m pretty sure Mo would leave me for half of the dudes in the UFC if given the chance (I’ve just been told, “George St. Pierre in a heartbeat,” see the pic at the top, blue shorts…mmmm). As well, women’s MMA is continually becoming more and more popular and it will only continue to grow as the rest of the sport has.
If you are interested, I’d recommend getting into the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) first as it is the world’s biggest promotion and houses 90% of the world’s best fighters. Watch a few of their events and you’ll be hooked. Trying to get into all the promotions right off the bat will leave you feeling confused and bewildered, as I continue to struggle to learn all the fighters’ names and their world rankings on different websites.
Japan’s leading promotions are Sengoku and Dream (Dream took the place of Pride when it was bought by the UFC). After watching for a little while, you’ll start to have favourite fighters as well as fighters you hate. Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show premieres September 16th and that gets most people hooked. Give it a shot if you need a bit of reality TV in your life along with fighting. Here are a few links to get you started.