The Lure of Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 171: Pineda v Whiteford

The popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has increased out of sight. Competitions, such as the UFC have seen a worldwide surge in this brutal bloodsport.

Similar to the Gladiators of Rome, blood has become entertainment for the masses.

I’m not here to moralise about the rightness or wrongness of MMA.

What I’m interested in is why people (going out on a limb here, usually guys) are interested in paying money to see guys beat the snot out of each other. Is it the blood? The skill of the fighters? The domination of man over man?

Here’s what I think.

I think that we’ve become massively over-regulated and controlled. We’ve got laws and regulations that control many areas of life. Am I saying these things are bad? Of course not. I’m just saying that there seems to be a greater focus on doing the right thing, saying the right thing, even thinking the right thing.

MMA is the total opposite of modern-day society. Unlike modern sports where there are (usually) clear rules, refereeing, scoring and suchlike, MMA offers spectators a real ‘man-on-man’ sporting experience. There is very little in the way of regulation in MMA. No stoppages for blood. Almost no holds barred. It’s crazy.

In a world of ‘reality’ TV, salary caps to even out sporting teams, questionable falls (and I’m not just talking about the Italian Soccer Team) and loser-free kids sports, MMA seems to offer the viewer a real winner and a real loser. The match is determined by the best opponent on the day.

I’m interested, why do you think MMA has become so popular? Am I on the right track? Does MMA just feed an inherent love of violence? Is it just a kick to watch some guy get his face punched?

Share your thoughts with me!

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One comment

  1. Sean Smithson

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comparison to other, tamer, more regulated sports. MMA definitely seems more real. Especially when compared to the diving/theatrical antics of many football (soccer) players. And like you, I’m not just talking about the Italians… There have been some real shockers in the tournament so far!

    PS – Did you receive my email? I may have an old address.

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