Wednesday, January 28, 2015

MMA for the non-MMA fan. It's time to start watching!

I’ve been watching professional sports now for almost my whole life. I was a fan of the NBA since I was around 7, I was a one time baseball fan, I’ve always enjoyed football, and boxing was always a top priority in my household growing up, but there is one sport that trumps them all in my book and it’s a sport that I’ve loved for several years now and will continue to do so until the day I die. That sport, ladies and gentlemen, is Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts (or MMA) has been in the public eye since the early 90’s when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debuted a tournament style format that saw fighters competing to become the last man standing. And to be brutally honest, it was terrible. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s when the UFC adopted the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts that the sport gained a legit following from sports fans due to the much needed regulations which weeded out the true athletes from the beer bellied bar brawlers of years past. Since these rules have been put into place MMA, mainly the UFC, has thrived and become a fixture on sports television with special events held on FOX, FOX Sports 1, Spike TV, Fuel, Versus, and Pay-Per-View. That success has brought some other companies into the fold such as Bellator MMA which holds live events on Spike TV, and World Series Of Fighting which currently holds events on NBC and NBC Sports. Needless to say the sport of MMA is thriving with multiple companies being showcased on television and one (UFC) bringing in massive PPV buys and selling out major arenas all over the world.
   Since becoming a fan of the sports it has become apparent to me that the athletes who compete in high level MMA are not your typical athletes. These guys do insane regiments which consist of 8-12 hours in the gym per day during all seven days of the week while they’re in camp training for a fight which is an insane amount of dedication, more dedication than anyone else in any other sport. I quickly started to see athletes for what they were, losing respect for most athletes who compete in conventional sports and dropping any recognition for the word “athlete” as it pertains to baseball players as a whole. How could these guys even come close to calling themselves athletes when their level of work is a mere fraction of someone who competes in high level MMA, mainly the UFC? Any which way athletes who train in MMA are without a doubt the greatest athletes in the world today, bar none. Guys like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, GSP, Cain Velasquez, Anthony Pettis, Benson Henderson, Edson Barboza, Anthony Johnson, Rafael Dos Anjos, Conor McGregor, and many more are the pinnacle of what this sport is all about and thats conditioning, strength, ability, and smarts, and my hat is off to these fine fighters who help making this sport what it is. My hat is also off to the legends of the octagon who have paved the way for the above fighters to make a living, especially guys like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia, Forrest Griffin, Tito Ortiz, and BJ Penn.
  Now, if you've ever thought about getting into MMA now is the time to do so. You have amazing fighters putting it all on the line in 2015 with some amazing fights already having taken place. Just earlier this month we saw Jon Jones successfully defend his World's Light-Heavyweight Championship against Daniel Cormier in a highly competitive fight and we've seen Anthony Johnson demolish Alexander Gustafsson in a #1 contenders bout for Jon's title. We've seen the sports most exciting (and outspoken) fighter, Conor McGregor, rise from obscurity to become one of the best in the world, and he'll get a chance to prove it this spring against Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo. We're about to see the return of Anderson Silva, the greatest of all-time, after suffering a broken leg in an attempt to get his World's Middleweight Championship back last winter. In February we'll get to see former champion, Vitor Belfort, try to win a title in his second weight class when he clashes with the Middleweight World's Champion, Chris Weidman. And finally we'll see the Lightweight Championship on the line later this year as well as the Heavyweight World Championship in the summer when Cain Velasquez defends against Fabricio Werdum. There is so much to look forward to in MMA during 2015 that it could really become a banner year for the sport, and with it's strong ratings, huge PPV buys, talented fighters, and smart marketing it's only going to get bigger and better.
     If you're interested in checking out some classic fights then I'd look no further than many of Chuck Liddell's offerings from 2002 onward, especially his battles with Tito Ortiz, W. Silva, and Randy Couture. I'd also seek out some fights between Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz, GSP and Matt Hughes, Couture and Tim Sylvia, Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, as well as anything with Anderson Silva or Jon Jones. Seriously, there are so many amazing fights out there to seek out that I'd probably break my keyboard typing them all out. If you've ever had a thing for classic boxing than check UFC out because you'll see a lot of fantastic boxing mixed with muay tai, ju-jitsu, wrestling, karate, judo, and other forms of fighting. It's truly an interesting mix of styles hence the name of the sport being Mixed Martial Arts. Also, if you're a classic boxing fan and are sick and tired of the sports current state of bullshit than look no further than MMA. After years and years of watching boxing and watching MMA the one thing that really shines through is that fighting within a league, such as the UFC, you're in NO position to duck other fighters. In boxing we often see boxers hiding behind their managers and their promoters as to why they can't or won't fight other fighters and they duck one another because they enjoy fighting other fighters that make them look good. I hate that more than anything. In MMA the league assigns you you're next opponent and the fighters show up and enter the cage to do their thing. No ducking, no games, no bullshit. And that's the way that professional fighting should be. Period. 

© B-Sly The Gamer Guy

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