10 Things you should know about MMA

With the world of Mixed Martial Arts growing more popular by the day, there are many misconceptions about the sport.  Here’s setting the record straight.

 

10.  MMA has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks.

Around 600 BC, the Greeks started a new sport in their ancient Olympic Games.  This new sport, Pankration (meaning “all powers”) combined the elements of wrestling and boxing into one sport.  Similar to today, matches were fought in rings and were won by knocking your opponent unconscious or through submission by the opponent raising his hand.

 

9.  Many believe that fighters fast to lose weight in days before an event, but most chose to lose it in a healthy way.   Fighters often lose the weight inflatable tents through different ways.  Some use diet and exercise, while others go sweat it out in the sauna.  Seemingly, most fighters are dedicated to a healthy and natural diet all year, as to avoid the last minute weight loss.

 

8.  Some fighters say the biggest mistake you can make is not being humble.  In an interview with MMA frenzy, Cole Miller said that not being humble often leads to a humiliating loss, making a fighter want to rethink his career choice.

 

7.  MMA is a team sport– a fighter’s team, staff and trainers are the force behind the fighters.  They’re the people closest to the fighter; after spending hours a day in training, they’re often thought of as family.  Fighters and coaches often give their all to each other, which has been a winning combination in the world of MMA.

 

6.  UFC champs gets to keep the belt.  UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez supposedly tried to sell his belt on Ebay in 2008 to raise money for a local school.

 

5.  The first publicized “MMA” event was in China in 1909 between British boxer Hercules O’Brien and Chinese martial artist Huo Yuan Jia.  The fighters had a hard time agreeing to the rules of the match, but they decided that whoever could knock down the other would win. 

 

The 2006 movie Fearless, is loosely based off of this fight and focuses on Yuan Jia’s life, who is arguably one of the most famous Chinese martial artists of all times.

 

4.  Thought Cub Swanson got knocked out quickly in June 2009 by Jose Aldo?  His eight seconds before knockout is a century compared to the knockout of Lautaro Tucas by Chris Clements in three seconds back in 2006.

 

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3.  UFC continued to grow in popularity in the mid 90s, when they promoted their fights as “the bloodiest fighting you’ll ever see.”  Critics referred to it as “human cockfighting.”  Interestingly, the sport’s death rate is extremely low; its death count is currently being debated.  Some reports, for example associatedcontent.com state there are no deaths in the sport’s history, others, such as Grapplearts.com, say one death has occurred. 

 

2.  MMA is one of the most regulated sports in the world.  With numerous rules and judges, in addition to set time limits and amount of rounds, the league’s concern for the fighters’ safety is most important.  The regulation system is under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts and includes over 30 rules.  Many of these rules are similar to those used in Olympic events.

 

More precautions are taken with fighters than with many athletes from other sports.  Medical teams are present at every fight, and fighters often receive MRIs both before and after fights.

 

1.  MMA fighters have been successful collegiate athletes and Olympic athletes; the first ever being Mark Schultz, who received a gold medal in wrestling during the 1984 Olympic Games.  Schultz fought one MMA fight before returning to coach wrestling at the collegiate level.

 

Other Olympic athletes and MMA fighters include Rulon Gardner, Kevin Jackson and Kenny Monday.  Most have only fought in several matches.

 

To learn about the misconceptions of the dangers of UFC, click here.

To read more about the quickest knockouts, click here.

Crossing Over: Brock Lesnar

Everyone knows that professional wrestling is highly entertaining, the athletes are extremely skilled, and very real injuries do occur – but all the action, fake! When athletes make the transition from “professional wrestling,” into other sports, there is justifiably a large amount of skepticism about the ability of that athlete to successfully perform. Last year, Brock Lesnar, of WWE/WWF fame, made the bold transition from performer and entertainer, to prize fighter. Lesnar however, does have legitimacy for his transition.

Lesnar had a stellar amateur wrestling career. He went 33-0 his senior year of high school, and moved on to wrestle at Bismarck State College, in Bismarck, North Dakota. At Bismarck, Lesnar excelled, gaining NJCAA All American status and became the 1998 NJCAA heavy weight champion. After two years at Bismarck, he was granted a wrestling scholarship to the University of Minnesota for his junior and senior years. At Minnesota he gained NCAA All American status, and was crowned the 2000 NCAA heavy weight champion. A star was born, but his career after college was uncertain. Lesnar turned to “professional wrestling” as an outlet through which he could continue his success.

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Lesnar signed with the World Wrestling Federation, later the World Wrestling Entertainment in 2000, and began his training in what is essentially the “professional wrestling” minor leagues. He was called up in 2002 to join the roster, and his star quickly began to rise. Lesnar was set to defeat The Rock, the WWE’s biggest star at the time, and was crowned the heavy weight champion. After having reached the pinnacle of what he could accomplish in “professional wrestling,” Lesnar stayed in the wrestling game for two more years, until calling quits with hopes of going to the NFL. Lesnar was good enough to get looks from the Vikings, and was allowed to play with them in the preseason. How ever, he was cut late in the 2004 preseason, but given an invitation to be their representative in NFL Europa, which he declined.

Lesnar, with not much else to do, shifted his attention to MMA. After wrestling one year in Japan, and being defeated there, he decided to shift his sights to the UFC, which had gained much popularity since his WWE days. on February of 2008, Lesnar made his debut appearance on UFC 81 against former heavy weight champion Frank Mir. He was defeated but not deterred, and has been creating waves in the sport since. With the UFC having high expectations for his career after the Mir fight, at UFC 82 he fought Heath Herring, a veteran of MMA, and won by UD after three rounds. This was a big step for Lesnar. MMA icon, and heavy weight champion Randy Couture was to be Lesnar’s next opponent at UFC 91. To the surprise of many, Lesnar won via a technical knockout in the second round, and was crowned the new champion. The sport had its newest star, and Lesnar had achieved the success he could not find in “pro wrestling,” or football.

UFC 100, is scheduled to happen on July 11th. It is a milestone for the UFC, marking their 100th event and how far the UFC has come in only 16 years since their start in 1993. A rematch between Lesnar and Mir is scheduled to take place, and is one of the headlining fights on the card.

Lesnar’s successful transition is a rarity in sports. He is a testament to the incredible athleticism and perseverance of mixed martial artists. His star is on the rise, and he will surely find his greatest success in the UFC.

From UFC 1 to 100: Evolution of the UFC

To see athletes of different or similar fighting practices challenge each other – that has always been the goal behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

That goal has come a long way since the UFC’s conceptual development in 1991. The original concept was a single event tournament to discover the world’s best fighting style. The tournament aired in 1993, and was a mini-success, with nearly 90,000 Pay Per View buys. At the time the tournament aired, the entire concept of “mixed martial arts,” as we know it today, did not really exist. The tournament placed athletes of only one fighting art against each another, pitting boxers against Karate, and wrestlers against jiu jitsu and everything in between. Most times, fighters did not know what to do to handle the other opponent as they had never faced someone of that particular art, and the matches were often lacking in entertainment value. Another problem also existed. There were no weight classes, usually setting opponents together with huge size differentials. While this proved to be entertaining at times, this was not practical, especially if the UFC had any desire to be a legitimate organization.

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Due to its success, the UFC became a recurring tournament, but many aspects of the tournament needed to be addressed. With a tag-line that read “there are no rules!” and “fighting techniques” such as hair pulling, groin strikes and head butting allowed; the UFC had to revamp it’s entire concept if there was any hope in becoming a permanent fixture in the sporting community.

The tournament had aired five times but in 1995, it started to gain negative popularity, attracting wide press coverage from all over the nation, most of it very unfavorable. Political action was quickly taken against the UFC, and Senator John McCain led the campaign, calling the UFC “human cock fighting.” It was dropped shortly after by major cable and pay per view providers, and in 1997, 36 states had banned no-holds-barred fighting. The UFC was launched into the abyss of sports, thought by many to never be seen again.

However, in response to all the criticism, and much to the surprise of many, the UFC began to cooperate with state athletic commissions. The transformation of the UFC into a legitimate sporting event began to take place. The rules were revamped, eliminating the “dirty” aspects of the tournament like hair pulling, groin shots, and head butting, as well as putting an emphasis on the core elements of the UFC as we know it today; striking, grappling, and punching. With UFC 12 came the introduction of weight classes, UFC 14 mandatory gloves, UFC 15 the banning of strikes to the back of the head and neck, and UFC 21 the introduction of 5 minute rounds. By 1999, the UFC had evolved into a full-fledged sport, almost ready to be accepted by both politicians, and the sporting community. With UFC 28 in 2000, the final step was taken in legitimizing the UFC as an athletic organization, and the New Jersey State Athletic Commission sanctioned the event.

In 2001 the UFC was sold to Zuffa LLC and Dana White. With UFC 33 in September of that year, came it’s returned to main stream cable television and PPV. With effective advertisement and a partnership with the Spike TV network in 2005 for the development of the currently running show, The Ultimate Fighter, now in season 9, the UFC quickly gained mainstream popularity.

On July 11th, UFC 100 is scheduled to take place, and will mark a very important milestone for the UFC. Sixteen years and 100 events since its creation in 1993; from a no-holds-barred tournament with sumo wrestlers and kick boxers to what it is known as today. The card will be headlined by Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar. Ten other fights are on both combined main, and undercard, for an event that is sure to out do the last; something the UFC seems to accomplish with all their recent events.

Despite much adversity, the UFC is the quickest growing sport in American and a far cry from its early no-holds-barred days. It is no longer just a tournament but a multimillion dollar organization and mainstream sporting event. The fighters that participate in the UFC are no longer athletes of two very different fighting arts. This current generation of fighters has a very mixed array of skills, and study everything from wrestling to Jiu Jitsu. The UFC is beginning to reach global audiences, and recently held its first event, UFC 99 early this month, in mainland Europe. With good fights, smart advertising, and entertaining television, the UFC’s future is very bright.

Cage of Chaos 8: STACKED

Cage of Chaos 8: STACKED will be held at the James E. Carnes Center in St. Clairsville, Ohio, on July 3, 2009.   Tickets for this amateur MMA event range from $30 for floor seats to $50 for ringside tables.  Notable fighters in the event include Chris Goldbaugh, Kirk Main, Drew Shields, and Jon Neese.

 

Need more info?  Check out their website or contact the promoter, Dave Klick, at 724-255-3223 or dave.klick@cageofchaos.com.

Rumble on the Rivers

Ultimate Cage Fighting Championship will host Rumble on the Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA on June 27, 2009 at the Mellon Arena.  UFC veteran Rich Clementi will be headlining the event as he takes on WEC veteran Kyle Jensen.  The event kicks off at 7:30 PM.  Tickets range from $30 to $98.50 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.

WKU Warrior Challenge in the Poconos

Central Pennsylvania Warrior Challenge will host its next amateur MMA event on June 26, 2009 at the Inn at Pocono Manor.   The 18-fight event will begin at 7 PM.  General admission tickets are priced at $35 while VIP tickets are set at $55.  For more information, check out the competition’s website or contact the promoter, Mark Jovich, at 717-250-8841 or jovichm@msn.com.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Sanchez vs. Guida (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the main event of the TUF 9 finale, the matchup between Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida turned into a fantastic battle of wills, with Sanchez coming out on top by a hair and moving on to a potential title shot at 155.

Diego Sanchez won a great split over Clay Guida

Diego Sanchez won a great split over Clay Guida

Both men exploded out of the gate with punches, with Sanchez rocking Guida and throwing furious strikes until Guida finally stopped the punishment with a takedown. Sanchez switches to rubber guard and Guida stood up, but Sanchez throws a huge headkick that drops Guida. A flying knee by Sanchez connects but Guida incredibly does not go down. A short clinch leads to Sanchez getting the trip takedown, but Guida amazingly gets up as the round ends.

Guida executes a takedown at the start of round two, and Sanchez responds with elbows from bottom. A kimura attempt from bottom fails, and the crowd chants his name. Sanchez uses elbows from bottom to set up rubber guard again, but then continues to throw big elbows from guard. Guida, however, is relentless and grinds Sanchez into the ground as round two ends.

With all to fight for in round three, Guida continued to push forward and both men land punches on each other. A failed takedown by Guida leads to back control by Sanchez, but he slips off while trying to lock in an arm triangle. Guida lands on top and defends a Sanchez kimura attempt. Sanchez transitions to armbar but loses it as the round ends. At the end of the fight, the score is truly too close to call, but a split decision victory is awarded to Diego Sanchez.

Guida showed once again that he had a chin of steel, but skill-wise, Sanchez just outclassed him on this night, using his reach advantage to club Guida with strikes while delivering as much punishment with elbows from bottom as Guida did to him from top. Guida’s standup never really threatened Sanchez, however, and with Sanchez’s berserker elbows from bottom, that made all the difference.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Johnson vs. Wilks (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the welterweight finale for TUF 9, a bad-blood-barnburner turned into a ground clinc as James Wilks ran through Demarques Johnson to capture the welterweight contract and ensure a UK sweep of TUF 9.

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

Both men came out swinging early, and Wilks got the best of the early shots with a jab and a knee. Wilks continued to relentlessly pressure Johnson with knees to the body until the fight went to the ground, with Wilks on top. A heelhook attempt by Wilks is foiled by Johnson, who works his way to top position. Wilks, however, kept working on the leg with “leg compression lock” (see Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Tyson Griffin for a visual), but Johnson escaped. Wilks then failed to finish again with a triangle, but continued to throw Johnson around the cage. Wilks tried to finish with a rear nake choke, and after a long struggle, Johnson got one of his arms trapped and tapped with seconds left in the round.

Like Ross Pearson before him, Wilks executed the perfect gameplan, coming out aggressive and getting straight into Johnson’s face. Johnson never found his rhythm and could only react to what Wilks was doing, eventually leading to the submission finish.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Burns vs. Lytle (BJJ vs. Freestyle)

Vetern Chris Lytle once again proved to be no pushover, defeating Kevin Burns via an entertaining UD at the TUF 9 Finale.

Despite being a submission specialist who was knocked out by a head kick in his last fight, Burns showed no fear against Lytle and stood right in front of his opponent to strike, with Lytle throwing to KO with every swing. Burns used his size advantage to get the better of Lytle on the feet, and at the end of the round, Burns opened things up with an uppercut which felled Lytle. Burns laid it on with big strikes, but Lytle clinched against his opponent to survive the onslaught as the round ended.

Lytle threw nonstop punches against Burns

Lytle threw nonstop punches against Burns

Lytle sufficiently recovered by the time round two started and rocked Burns with a punch of his own, finally coaxing a takedown out of Burns. Lytle, no BJJ slouch in his own right, stood up again and resumed the stand-up war, forcing Burns to backpedal around the cage with relentless striking. Burns tried to low kick, but caught Lytle with groin shots more than once.

Lytle started round three by cutting Burns open with a punch, but Burns was game and continued to trade strikes with Lytle. Lytle continued to throw punches that would occasionally stagger Burns, but Burns refused to go down, and left Lytle unable to finish the fight by picking up the victory via UD.

Stylistically, Burns seemed to be suffering from “Jorge Gurgel” syndrome, where a BJJ black belt shuns both logic and submissions in favor to strike for the entire fight. Burns never tried to go to his bread-and-butter BJJ, and even though he was able to hang with Lytle, the iron-chinned striker sent Burns to his second consecutive loss.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Winner vs. Pearson (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the TUF 9 lightweight finale, Ross Pearson upset Andre Winner to win the all-UK lightweight final.

The first round was a tentative and somewhat tedious affair, as both fighters pawed at each other before clinching against the cage for most of the round. It seemed that both fighters respected each striking too much, and neither tried to throw until the final minute of the round, where a low blow time-out was followed by a brief flurry from both men, with Winner edging slightly ahead as the round ended.

Ross Pearson bested Andre Winner to capture the TUF 9 lightweight title

Ross Pearson bested Andre Winner to capture the TUF 9 lightweight title

Pearson turned up the aggression in round two, but the match then halted back into the clinch again, with Pearson still trying to push the pace. Winner, however, kept Pearson pinned against the cage until the final minute again, where Pearson was able to separate and throw some good strikes as the round ended.

The fight finally opened up in the third round, where Pearson again was able to break through Winner’s clinch and throw strikes. Winner was able to survive and throw some big hits of his own, but as the round wound down Pearson refused to stop, throwing punches and knees which had Winner on the back foot and taking the UD victory.

Pearson did exactly what he needed to take the fight away from the favorite Winner. He pushed the pace of the striking and shrugged off Winner’s attempts to control the tempo through clinching. Ultimately, Winner’s reluctance to strike with Pearson or go for a takedown led to his downfall, as the all-action Pearson outstruck him at every opportunity.

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