UFC 196: McGregor vs Diaz – It’s On
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MMA: One Championship locks deal with Temasek, Sport News & Top Stories – The Straits Times
“Are MMA fighters real athletes?” is a question which has plagued the sport for many years in the United States, ever since the UFC’s first inception. Granted, mixed martial arts has been around for much, much longer than the Ultimate Fighting Championships, but that was mainstream America’s first real taste into the sport.
Initially setup as something of an all access commercial for the legendary Gracie family’s own brand of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the UFC has since then become a highly popular, world recognized sport. But unfortunately it wasn’t always that way. In the beginning years, frequently referred to by mixed martial arts pundits as “the dark ages,” the UFC was setup to pit fighters against each other who represented one particular and specific style of fighting. The reason for this was to allegedly prove that one certain style reigned supreme over the rest.
The problem was that many people in the world, included practitioners and so called masters of their brand of fighting style, didn’t really understand how fighting worked. These so called ninja masters and karate senseis didn’t understand that a front flip spinning back kick wasn’t a viable strategy in a real fight. This gross miscalculation by a large percentage of the fighters left a bad taste in the mouth of the public eye. The backlash was so severe that John McCain once referred to the sport as, “human cockfighting,” a quote that would live along side the UFC for many years to come.
Fortunately, with the recent growth of the sport, many people are beginning to recognize the talent it takes to rise to the top ranks of this sport. Many fighters are being profiled and displayed exclusively on television specials and talk shows and are bringing light to the fact that these fighters are top tier athletes who deserve the highest amount of respect. Many professional athletes from other different sports have tried making the transition into MMA and have been blown away by the amount of training and skill necessary to compete in even the smaller leagues around the world.
Not only do you have to dedicate an outstanding portion of your life to rise through the levels of mixed martial arts, but you also have to be willing to stand in a cage and give it your all against another human being. This is an incredible test of will and pride, something many other sports don’t incorporate.
Mixed martial artists are definitely real athletes, in every sense of the word. And with the popularity the sport is gaining being at an all time high, more people throughout the world will begin to realize it and show their respect to these amazing athletes.
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