Underground Blogger DeLeon DeMicoli recently wrote a piece contemplating the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts compared to individual fighting disciplines. While I agree with his point that the relatively new sport is less refined than a sport like boxing that has been cultivated for over a century into the elegant art that it currently is, I must argue that no fine skill is refined over-night.
Look at North American football and its gradual evolution to the extremely complex and intricate sport it has become. Sixty years ago, it was a game of not only who could hit the hardest but of who had the guts to do so—very similar to the MMA 10 years ago.
In the early days of football, passing wasn’t even a legal way to move the ball down the field. We now witness inhuman feats of athleticism every week with 70-yard touchdown passes from quarterbacks escaping sacks to receivers who aren’t even open.
As with any game or sport, the best competitors will rise to the top and raise the bar for what’s considered supreme.
All full contact sports are bound to initially be dominated by those with the most aggression or power and will inevitably be dethroned by those who use technique, intelligence and speed to outwit and out maneuver those considered best. MMA is still in the early stages of this evolution but is obviously making that transition, maybe faster than any game before it.
Perfect examples are among us, like the alleged undersized Cain Velasquez, who calmly dominated the giant Brock Lesnar in under five minutes for the Heavyweight championship in 2010. Or Jon Jones’ ability to make legends in the sport look like amateurs. How can one ignore the beauty in the seemingly superhuman performances of Anderson Silva?
DeMicoli’s points are valid, but I point out that he’s comparing this young sport to those that have been around for 100 years.
Theoretically, any game or sport can and will be refined to a science provided that there are participants invested in doing so. As the fastest growing sport in the world, it’s clear that MMA is being purified not only into a science but also an art form.
Entirely new techniques are emerging yearly from different camps around the world. “Purist” styles are the key inspiration to new strikes and even whole new approaches to combat. Something as simple as a fighter’s stance has been revolutionized by the vast possibilities that an opponent may attack with.
It’s obvious that the current state of the sport won’t be the prettiest, but the beauty of its future is apparent in its short history.