Mis-con-cep-tion n. A mistaken thought, idea, or notion, a misunderstanding
When the untrained ear hears the letters MMA or UFC, the misconceptions begin flowing almost immediately.
For those who really know what those acronyms represent, there is no explanation necessary. For those who do not understand, the sad fact of the matter is, they begin to picture nightmarish, sub-human, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who know nothing more than blood lust and relentless violence.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even in the darkest days of mixed martial arts, the competitors were nothing more than misunderstood athletes who desired only to prove their style of martial arts were superior to others. While that dispute was held inside a chain link Octagon and the basis of the sport was indeed violent, that was not the entire story.
That competition amongst some of the world's top martial artists became the foundation of one of the most world class and highly contested sports on the planet in less than two decades.
That evolution from karate vs. judo or boxing vs. wrestling elevated from event to event to become athlete against athlete featuring all facets of hand-to-hand combat arts in a representation of something that has become an eclectic mixture of technique, ability, heart and desire.
Those traits could never be found in bar brawls or street fights. They are not found among less than integral beings who seek nothing more than to inflict pain on another individual. Those traits can only be found among the most world class of people, the most driven and aspiring of individuals.
The evolution of MMA has seen that truth come to light, as the sport has scratched and clawed its way to acceptance among the doubters and critics. That evolution has not come just among MMA brands and the athlete. That evolution has come on all fronts, among the fans, promoters, venues, legislators, and most importantly, among the critics who have evolved to understand just exactly what this community is really all about.
This mixed martial arts community is made of much more than fighters. The fighter is indeed the heartbeat, the essence of what makes MMA what it has become. But from the fighter to the promoter to the coaches and fans, MMA is a community of people who rise above the negative misconceptions that surround their sport.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the charitable efforts found scattered throughout the MMA community. Examples range from Xtreme Couture's efforts to support the men and women of the armed services to Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships sending fighters out to work with at-risk youth in the Las Vegas community. The examples of this sport and the people who truly are MMA and how they give back to their communities are countless and priceless.
Another component of the MMA community has stepped up to further those efforts that reflect the true quality of the people found within this business. The Arizona fight community is no stranger to breeding superstars in the game of MMA.
Names like Don Frye, Dominick Cruz, Ben Askren, Ben Henderson, Ryan Bader and countless more warriors have current or former Arizona ties. So it is no surprise that such a strong fight family resides in the scorching desert. That community is pulling together for the most noble of causes this holiday season.
Fight camps, fight clothing brands, news outlets, retailers and promoters are all pooling their efforts for one common cause. At times like these, it would be hard to name many more important efforts to raise the spirits of a community, all the while changing those misconceptions of those behind this sport.
When we say times like these, what we mean is a time in our country where children are celebrating this holiday season without those who mean the most to them. With the conflicts consuming this world, there are those who never had a choice and will be missing one of, if not both of, their parents over the holidays.
It is with great pride that we celebrate our men and women of the armed services. As a nation, we cherish their sacrifices in the name of what most would agree is a duty they serve protecting that which we feel is worth fighting for.
As a community built around fighting, for the right cause, we will always support the warrior in harm's way without waiver.
Yet as their sacrifices are made, both in life and in death, there is a sea of teary eyes left behind praying for a safe return, or worst yet, a passing to a higher glory through the greatest of sacrifices. These children carry a burden that simply can never be repaid.
To have lost or to be made to miss a parent, the child deserves every bit as much gratitude for their own sacrifices in the name of a greater good. So it is with great purpose and a sense of undying gratitude that the Arizona fight community is calling on the entire MMA community.
Sitting inside of Boxing Inc. on the north side of Tucson, Arizona sits an MMA cage. With the help of the entire MMA community, the time has come to fill this cage with toys and gifts for military children who proudly offer their families into harm’s way.
It is time to show these brave young souls that while their parents may be across the globe fighting the good fight, that they indeed are not alone. That we stand with them and can all find it in our hearts to raise them up and show them our thoughts are with them. We can show them that we not only appreciate their parent's efforts, but we thank the children for their unique sacrifices during these difficult times.
Filling the cage for kids is a simple effort for you and me. We drop 10, 20, 50 bucks and sleep like a baby that night. But for the children, it will mean so much more than that. It reminds them of exactly what their parents are fighting for.
We are a nation of patriots who—right or wrong, agree or disagree—believe in the right we have to do what we know is right. What could be more right than lifting the smile of a child who will be missing a loved one through the holidays?
Let's remind them it is not their struggle to face alone, and that we indeed feel their absence or loss. And in the process, we might just go one step further to smash that misconception about who we are as a subculture.
This MMA community respects the warrior, perhaps more so than the average individual. To understand conflict, loss and victory, the heart and spirit that only a warrior can display, that leads us to sympathize with these men and women doing what it is they have to do.
Let's rise up and fill this cage, people. Forget about the cage; let’s fill that gym with toys and tell these kids what we already know. We celebrate them and their families for the challenges they meet every day so you and I can sit back on a Saturday night and watch a fight.
How much did that last pay-per-view cost you, fight fan? Please do your parts to represent this sport, help a child and support military families who could use every bit of support we can give them.
If, for nothing else, to say thank you.
Self Killers Industries has pledged 25 cents for every like of their Facebook page. UFC featherweight George Roop has offered two tickets to the next UFC on FOX event for the cause. Hurtsbad MMA will offer one lucky fan the opportunity to be a guest host on The Truth Hurts Radio show when we welcome UFC bantamweight champion and upcoming Ultimate Fighter coach Dominick Cruz.
Also, Hurtsbad MMA is donating a signed MMA glove by UFC Hall of Famer and living legend Dan "The Beast" Severn as well. Dominick Cruz has donated a pair of signed gloves also.
To enter a drawing to win either UFC tickets, a guest host opportunity to interview Dominick Cruz or a Dan Severn or Dom Cruz autographed glove simply donate to the cause, and you will automatically be entered into the drawing.
Please send unwrapped toys or donations to:
4165 W Ina Rd No. 165, Tucson, AZ 85741-2257
With questions or concerns, please ask for George Castro
This article originally featured at Hurtsbad MMA. Follow us on Twitter @hurtsbadmma.