MMA Fighters Are The Warriors Of Sports
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MMA Fighters Are The Warriors Of Sports

What sets mixed martial artists apart from other fighting athletes and wannabes?

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MMA Fighters Are The Warriors Of Sports
ESPN

I've been seeing many posts, YouTube videos and debates about MMA fighters and average people; people saying that MMA fighters are no better than average people in the streets. Some people may still wonder if it is or isn't true that MMA fighters are as 'bad ass' as they seem on tv. Having been a big fan of the sport for a long time, having experience in the sport myself, I would like to spread some knowledge that you may not know.

Mixed martial arts may be something new to you or some others, but the tradition dates back to ancient Greece. Pankration is what the original mixed martial arts competitions were called. These hand-to-hand combat specialists not only were viewed as superior fighters than anyone in the public, they also became known as heroes and/or legends.

This style of competition was spread due to Alexander The Great, because of his love for fighting athletes and their keen hand-to-hand combat abilities. After being spread to China, Pankration had become more competitive, as the Chinese were inspired to form their own styles of martial arts fighting. This repeated as Pankration spread to more and more countries all over the globe.

At whatever point in time, it was banned in the United States. MMA became a circus act here and people viewed it as dangerous, violent and disgusting to watch. To them, it only belonged in the circus because these men were looked at as animal locked in a cage, battling like barbarians. In Asian countries, like Thailand, for instance, the sport reigned and grew more and more popular.

When MMA became legal in the United States, it quickly grew a massive fan base. The rules are much like they were in ancient Greece; no biting or eye gouging, with only a few added rules. MMA became a more strategic sport but still yet, looked upon as warriors of combat. It doesn't have quite the same glory that it had in earlier times, but there's no doubt, it's much more competitive in modern days.

With an unbelievable amount of different styles of martial arts these days mixed with the insanely high level of physical fitness of fighters constantly trying to out-do each other, it's known as one of the most competitive sports of modern society. MMA fighters spend their time on intense training schedules, doing workouts that average people simply cannot do. Believe me when I say this: it takes time and much hard work to get to the fitness level of MMA fighters.

As an example of this; I officially quit training and fighting amateur MMA because I took on the job as a truck driver to make better money. I didn't so much as walk into a gym for almost five years. I started back training in the Philippines near the end of 2016 and my sparring and grappling partner had about half a year of experience in mixed martial arts. In two rounds of grappling, he tapped me out once and I couldn't force him to tap, mainly bc his fitness level so so much better. Although, I was able to keep him working hard for it, do to my years of experience. After my physical fitness improved, I tapped him out six times in a row, in two grappling sessions. Get my point? MMA fighters have insane levels of fitness, far beyond average. Even beyond participants of other sports.

You can be a track runner coming into the world of MMA and fail horribly. You can be a successful boxer, a successful Mauy Thai fighter, kickboxer, Jiu-Jitsu specialist, coming into the world of MMA and fail. It is called mixed martial arts for good reason; the fighters are trained in a wide variety of martial arts -- not just one. Many people get the idea that MMA fighters are nothing special because the often earn no belts in the arts that they practice.

Many of them do not earn belts because they train in MMA, rather than a specific martial art. Anyone who trains in one specific martial art may earn belts, but those that train in mixed martial arts do not, because MMA gyms focus on teaching every aspect of hand-to-hand combat techniques. With that said; DO NOT underestimate an MMA fighter's abilities.

I've caught many people claiming they are MMA fighters and when I ask them what all they have trained in, it's usually the same response; boxing and Jiu-Jitsu. Yet they avoid further conversation about it. Just to set this straight; watching UFC on t.v. and learning how to do a rear-naked choke and an armbar, does not make you a martial artist, let alone a mixed martial artist. I, myself, have been trained in ground and pound wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, a little Mauy Thai, much kickboxing, Judo and Aikido (recently acquired in the Philippines), and added an unorthodox Asian style of striking, of which I'm still working on and very proud of. Mind you, I'm still an amateur. Though it may change soon, as I'm about to jump back in the fight scene in the Philippines. That said- your armbar and choke hold is absolutely no match for even an amateur MMA fighter.

Aside from learning so many styles of martial arts, the workouts alone are enough to make most people give up. People view Marines as some of the toughest men and women in America, but truth be told, Marines do only about two-thirds (or less) of the workouts that MMA fighters do and they know about ninety percent less of martial arts as an MMA fighter.

Yes, Marines are known to kill with their bare hands and they are well trained to do so, but MMA fighters can kill just as quickly or quicker. We are simply not taught to kill. We are competing, not fighting for our country. I do have a massive amount of respect for all soldiers that serve our country, so do not misinterpret my words. Military personnel are trained to be deadly in many ways, but hand-to-hand combat techniques are not their strongest suit, though they also are much better than average, so to what martial arts training they actually have been part of.

MMA fighters that are working towards turning pro or making a career of the sport, are not someone to be taken for granted in the streets. As martial artists, we are taught to control our tempers and taught not to use our deadly force unless it is an act of self-defense. Though I must add, it's more likely that a mixed martial artist will simply take you down and put you out, before deciding to choose your fate. Pro fighters are encouraged to register their hands as deadly weapons, whereas a soldier may keep a gun at home and register it. It's like this because an MMA fighter's body and knowledge of hand-to-hand combat is a very lethal combination.

Even amateur MMA fighters are far more superior in a hand-to-hand combat fight against an 'average Joe.' Now, I'm not talking about some guy that shows up at a gym for half-assed training for a couple months, leaves and never comes back-I'm talking about amateurs that have given their all to training and didn't sit on their butts five days a week. With the skill level of a dedicated amateur, a low-level professional boxer (not a well-experienced boxer) couldn't handle him. Because in MMA, you're trained to use your opponent's weaknesses against them. If they are a good wrestler, bang with them. If they are a good boxer or kickboxer, take them to the ground and pound them out or submit them with Jiu-Jitsu.

Personally, since I first began training in the United States for MMA in 2009, I've fought two soldiers. One was an active Marine that had been a boxer in the military. No doubt, he was a good boxer. He could deal quick, hard combinations and pounce in and out with great speed and grace, yet, I still beat him in a sparring match. His hand-to-hand combat knowledge was less superior than mine at the time. The reason why is because I was trained in kickboxing. A kick to the face rattles the brain a lot more than a haymaker. I was very dedicated to my amateur MMA training, though. I never missed training and never allowed a lazy day to stop me from going to training. Therefore, I was in better physical conditions, versus him simply lifting weights and jogging. (MMA fighters do that and then some)

With that said, I once fought a man that was in the Navy. He was going crazy and bragging about his experience with the military to a woman, threatening her. When I approached him, was when I saw him strike her. He immediately punched me in the face before I had a chance to talk him down. As an MMA fighter, my first instinct when being tagged like that, was to shoot for the takedown. (It just so happens that my greatest skill was ground and pound wrestling) Without hesitation, I bounced back and performed a double-leg takedown.

After taking him down, he became absolutely helpless. Maybe I shouldn't have lost my temper the way I did, but in my defense, he did hit a woman. I saw those things happen to my mother all the time growing up, so I felt he didn't deserve remorse. And I gave him NONE.

After locking myself in the mount, I riddled his face with my fists and elbows and he became so desperate that he bit me. Not just 'bit' but latched onto my hand with his teeth and wouldn't let go of it. That's when I used my experience of Jiu-Jitsu to end the fight. After he came to, he showed how big of a desperate coward he really was by grabbing a kitchen knife and lunging it at me. By that time, though, our mutual friends had stepped in to take the knife from him. Afterwards, he had a huge gash above his right eye and pump-knots all over his eyes and cheeks.

You may find my past experiences irrelevant, but I say this to let you know: If you're an average Joe or even someone with only a couple months of experience in MMA training, you are not qualified to face off against someone with real MMA experience. So stop with the YouTube videos about "average Joe beats up MMA fighter" or "boxer whips MMA fighter."

It has been scientifically proven that the bodies of mixed martial artists are much tougher than other athletes in the fight game. Scientists conducted a study on the scientific outlooks of the sport of MMA. Their study subjects were well-known professional mixed martial artists like Tito Ortiz, Randy Coture and Wanderley Silva. Studies showed that the years of brutal training and fighting had caused thousands of hairline fractures in their bones, throughout the bodies of these professional MMA fighters. Those hairline fractures had been healed and cracked and healed, causing them to grow back much more strong and durable than the average person or participants of other fighting sports.

These bones are of their ribs, their feet, hands and knuckles, their faces and their legs and shins. Therefore it is a very important factor to consider when someone says "I'm an MMA fighter." Because these real mixed martial artists have truly earned their title. Their skills, keen hand-eye coordination, physical fitness and their overall toughness is not something that is simply acquired overnight.

MMA fighters are nothing less than warriors. All that trash talking you may see on tv is just for the show of the sport, to make things more intense (if that's even possible). People don't seem to see the realism behind it. Those fighters become close friends and after a long, hard battle. They sometimes go out and buy each other dinner or drinks. Martial arts teaches you to be level-headed and collected. Therefore, most of those street brawls that you see in YouTube about 'MMA fighters,' are mostly a wannabe punks that have never stepped foot in an MMA gym, let alone, an octagon cage. (They would have all that brawling out of their system, if they actually had a sparring partner and a more suitable environment for the sport) Most MMA fighters are cool and collected about fighting and they normally have tremendous respect for one another. The world of MMA is mostly a brotherhood.

So, in response to all those that say MMA fighters are no better than average Joes: You are horribly wrong! Until you know what it truly is to be an MMA fighter, you should find another title to impress your friends with. Because these men and women of the world of mixed martial arts have put in a lot of time and hard work to earn that "mixed martial artist" title. If any random punk could hack it then we'd all be famous. Yeah?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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