Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mixed Martial Arts

I have never resorted to re-runs on this blog before, but I was recently looking over some old posts and saw there there was only one post that never received a comment. I guess this would be a good one to use for an "encore presentation."

I remember seeing the first Ultimate Fighting Championship fights in the mid 90's and at first I was shocked and almost appalled at how violent and brutal they were. I remember saying to myself "It's only a matter of time until they give them weapons and they fight to the death". However; I was intrigued with the concept of having different martial artists fighting each other and demonstrating what the strengths and weaknesses of each discipline were. It was pretty cool to see sumo wrestlers, boxers, Greco roman wrestlers, submission fighters, kick boxers, street fighters, Jujitsu, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do black belts facing off against each other. During the first few years of interest I thought I was just going through a phase, but I would still have to rate mixed martial arts (UFC) as my third favorite sport behind basketball and football.

When it first started, the sport was too barbaric. The only rules were no biting or eye gauging. Besides that anything was pretty much fair game. Many of the fighters that lost got pummelled long after they were knocked out. Today the sport is well regulated, much safer, and extremely entertaining. In time it will totally replace one dimensional boring boxing matches and the stupid theatrics of the WWF which is just a soap opera with the entire cast on steroids . Mixed Martial Arts is exciting because there are so many directions a match can go. Participants can win by the judges decision, knockout, submission (tap out), or the referee or ring doctor stopping the match. Today you no longer see 175 lb. guys fighting 320 lb. guys. There are weight brackets just like wrestling and boxing and many new rules to keep the participants from being seriously injured. The fights are stopped as soon as they feel a fighter can no longer effectively defend himself or if his health is in question.

One thing that really impresses me about the sport is the respect that most fighters have for each other. There are still rivals and bad feelings between fighters, but for the most part you can watch two guys fight each other for 25 minutes, and as soon as the final horn sounds they will be hugging and complimenting each other. I have never seen so many extreme examples of good sportsmanship in any other sport, although I have noticed a decline in this area over the past few years. There are many other wanna be fight organizations, oversees groups, back alley, and underground operations which I can not vouch for, but I think the UFC rocks.

When the sport began, Royce Gracie surprised everyone by beating opponents much larger and more intimidating than him with his submission work. After years of him dominating the sport, those with better wrestling backgrounds dominated and it became obvious that you had to have good grappling skills to complete with the strikers. Today the best fighters are well rounded in kicking, striking, wrestling, and submission. UFC fighters are also some of the best conditioned and disciplined athletes I have seen in any sport. My favorite fighters to watch have been/are: Joyce Gracie, Randy Couture, Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin, and Chuck Liddel.

So this is my public service announcement for next time you hear about mixed martial arts, don't immediately dismiss it as a senseless violent sport. It is violent, but there is a lot more to it than that. Although you may be apprehensive initially as I was, you may learn to tolerate it and eventually grow to embrace it. Hmm.


Dr Zibbs said...

It is really brutal. I wonder what % of those dudes are gonna have lifelong damage?

MikkSolo said...

I think we should have a MMA tournament with those that come to Wednesday morning ball. There are a few I would love to pound.

Little Lovables said...

As a black belt, and one who hates to see 0 comments, I will tell you, I'm glad UFC has regulations and wish I was up to par to takin some of those boys down

Eric said...

I would like to have 120 thumb wrestlers square off against 2 UFC champions.

Jeanne said...

Old Dog watches WWF, and I can never figure out why.