Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Evolution of Mixed Martial Arts

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared in The Economist, on how Mixed Martial Arts has evolved over the years. The full article may be read here.

Competition in mixed martial arts

Ultimate trust-busting championship

Oct 7th 2011, 6:52 by T.M.

IN 2000 the United States Congress passed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, a law that sought to protect boxers from unscrupulous promoters and sanctioning bodies. Because boxing has no single governing organisation and its fighters are not unionised, promoters used to wield inordinate market power. As the industry’s “matchmakers”, they could refuse to arrange a fight, venue or broadcast deal unless boxers surrendered a disproportionate share of the proceeds and signed a long-term promotion agreement. The act tried to crack down on “coercive contracts” and level the field between fighters and promoters in negotiations. The law has rarely been invoked, but has occasionally provided some redress. Last month Fernando Guerrero, a rising middleweight boxer, filed suit against Prize Fight Promotions, alleging that the company failed to disclose proceeds of two of his televised bouts as the law requires.

However, the law only applied to boxing. In the decade since its passage, boxing’s primacy among combat sports in America has been challenged by the rise of mixed martial arts (MMA), formerly known as cage fighting. A Brazilian import, it incorporates a range of techniques, including boxing, jujitsu, wrestling and kickboxing, and originally had few regulations. In the 1990s its American promoters rebranded it and formalised its rules in an effort to fend off accusations of barbarity. MMA has since grown in popularity in both the United States and Europe, and has moved from fringe venues and the outer reaches of the cable television dial to snazzier sports arenas (usually attached to Las Vegas casinos) and broadcast networks.

When MMA was first brought to America, a number of promotion companies vied to organise events. But in recent years the industry has consolidated under the aegis of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which has bought up most of its rivals, including Strikeforce this March. In August UFC inked a $100m-a-year deal with the Fox network in the United States to begin broadcasting its fights in November.


Paul said...

The legitimation and popularization of MMA provides the more physically aggressive ones among us a proper and safer venue to test their skills rather than testing it in the street, like in the old Bruce Lee days in HK....:):)

Rick Matz said...

I respect the MMA guys for their willingness to test their skills, to pound and be pounded.

For most of us studying "traditional" martial arts, our practice is mostly theoretical and preparatory.

For whatever benefits we accrue through our martial arts training (and my primary motivation is a calm, clear mind), at the end of the day if you can't actually apply what you've learned, you're doing it wrong.

The Strongest Karate said...

I had no idea there was a law (no matter how seemingly ineffectual) to protect boxers, on the business side.

From what I've heard that industry could use with just a little more regulation...some of those promoters are the worst kind of sharks.

Rick Matz said...

At it's best a combative sports match (any discipline, really) is a thing of beauty to watch.

At it's worst, it's porn.

Max said...

Nice stuff..

Thanks for sharing with us..

Martial Arts Weapons

Rick Matz said...