An Introduction to the World of Mixed Martial Arts

Tony WilliamsContributor IDecember 23, 2007


If you’re not familiar with MMA, you should be. 


MMA stands for "Mixed Martial Arts," and in 2007, the brightness of MMA shined over the darkness of boxing. 


For years, the argument has been: "who's better, a boxer, a martial artist, or a wrestler?" 


The answer is now clear: all of the above. 


The next generation of top level practitioners is starting to emerge, as the sport of MMA sweeps the world.  If you’re a fight fan, you’re going to love the action, athleticism, and blood (don’t forget the ring girls!) of MMA. 


Today’s MMA fighters recognize that being one dimensional is simply not enough.  It’s the area you’re weakest in that lends to your downfall.


If you’re a great boxer, you still need to get inside the reach of the more powerful leg kicks and sweeps of a martial artist.  Being as it is that most fights eventually end up on the ground, the questions becomes: how’s your ground game and take down defense? 


Wrestling is a great plus to have in your arsenal, though Jujitsu gives you the edge when it comes to grappling locks and chokes.  A top notch MMA fighter will adapt any technique he feels will be useful to him.  These fighters are more than just scrappers who are looking for a place to vent their anger—fighting is their passion.  Former UFC World and UFC World Champions Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin, Chuck Liddell, and 44 year old Randy Couture have all received a college degree.


Tito Ortiz’s mixed martial arts debut was at UFC 13 in 1997.  Still in college at Cal State Bakersfield, Ortiz competed as an amateur for no prize money or contracts.  Thus in order to not violate his amateur status, he beat a seasoned pro, Wes Albittron. 


All the forementioned fighters know that physical conditioning, strength, intellect, and a complete understanding of all fighting styles are what make a complete warrior.  Today’s MMA fighters are intelligent, dedicated, well rounded athletes.


The most exciting fact of MMA is the sport is now getting its well deserved spotlight.  The money is becoming more attractive, allowing younger fighters to train full time in all styles and dimensions of the fight game. 


If you want to jump on the band wagon, there are several venues to educate yourself to the sport.  The most popular is the UFC, which airs on Spike TV, along with Pride, IFL, WCL Bodog, and the WEC.  You can now even find MMA fight results on ESPN. 


My personal opinion as to why MMA is becoming so popular is due to the real life application of these techniques learned in schools and gyms around the world.  The argument of which style is best no longer applies. 


What’s next for the MMA world—the Olympics?  One thing's for sure: you don’t want to be left out in the cold when the topic is bantered around bars, water coolers, and other social scenes. 


As for me, I’m hooked.  Some of us are warriors—it’s just how we’re wired, and the cage of the octagon is where you’ll find us.