Mixed Martial Arts has not been given the respect that it has worked so hard for and deserves.
MMA is the fastest growing sport not only in the US but the UK, but in many other countries as well. It has been held back though by the people who criticize the sport and its athletes for being barbaric and unsafe. This is actually the opposite of this sport. Mixed Martial Arts is a sport where fighters who are trained in many different kinds of martial arts (i. e.
judo, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Maui Tai, boxing wrestling, kickboxing etc. and then they are put into a ring or sometimes a cage, to test their skills against each other. Mixed martial arts competitions originated with the intention of searching for the most effective martial art form as competitors were pitted against each other with minimum safety rules, but due to the many serious injuries that occurred many additional rules have been introduced for safety reasons(Chew). Since these rules and regulations have been put into place MMA has grown incredibly fast.
Despite the public belief there are actually many rules and regulations within the sport of MMA. For example eye gouging is against the rules. So is kneeing or kicking your opponent while on the ground, shots “ below the belt”, hair pulling, blows to the back of the head, holding on to the ropes or cage, and many others. All of these rules have been put into place to keep the fighters safe. There are many more rules put into place in order to stop the fight when ever any fighter is put into any real danger of being injured.
Fights can end in many different ways, KO, TKO, submission, referee stoppage, and when the clock runs out. A knockout is when the fighter has been knocked unconscious. A TKO is a technical knockout, where a referee has to stop the fight because the fighter is not intelligently defending themselves. A submission is when a fighter is put into a head lock, arm lock, or leg lock, forcing the fighter to then tap (give up). Referees can stop the fights for multiple reasons. They will end the fight if a fighter has sustained injuries that make it impossible to defend oneself.
They will also end the fight if a fighter continues to use illegal methods throughout the fight. The final way for a fight to end is when ever the clock runs out. The fight is then scored by the judges to decide a winner. It is a common misconception for people to think that all of the fighters are just trying to hurt each other. This is not true however; fighters usually share a mutual respect for each other and are definitely trying to win by any means necessary, but they are not trying to purposefully injure one another. The fighters know what the other fighter has been through and how hard they have trained, causing a respect to be formed.
Although MMA has put all of these rules and regulations into place there are many states where MMA is still illegal. New York, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia are all the states where it is still banned. There are many people that still think that mixed martial arts is a dangerous sport and that it should be outlawed everywhere. James E. Timilty, Massachusetts state senator described MMA as “ nothing more than unregulated street fights”.
People tend to think that it is just a couple of guys being thrown into a cage and they fight until the other one is unconscious. But it is really a battle of wits, and brawn. It is an art form where everyone has their own style, and it is impossible to duplicate ones style exactly. There are other people that are just afraid that when children see MMA on TV they will try to duplicate what they see. Anyone can see where this would be dangerous.
The problem with this is that it should be the parents job to regulate what their kids watch and what they do. There are many reasons why MMA should be respected and recognized as a safe sport. It has grown over the years and is no longer the no holds barred barbaric sport that it used to be. It is just still a very young and misunderstood sport. Someday it will be legal in all places.
It is the fastest growing and most exciting sport out there. It teaches discipline and requires incredible skill. I hope that someday everyone will understand that MMA is just the newest sport trying to gain its spot amongst the greats like football, baseball, and basketball.