The Pepper Bough

MMA is not getting the recognition it deserves

Isaiah Garcia, Reporter

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People have always been concerned about the sport of MMA. Some see it as barbaric while others really enjoy either watching it or actually doing it. MMA started in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 20, 1980. The top styles of MMA are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Collegiate Wrestling, Judo, Muay Thai, Submission Wrestling, and Western Boxing. Nowadays there are many different organizations that bring the fans of MMA the excitement of the sport, to the top companies like UFC (ultimate fighting championship), Bellator, Strikeforce, Invicta, Pride, WEC, etc. The companies gave the fans some of the most memorable experiences. When MMA first started, Pride was the main company of the MMA world and they produced many MMA stars that are still here today. But, as the sport evolved, Strikeforce took over as the competition got stiff. Strikeforce dominated the airwaves for years until the WEC became the top company. On December 11, 2006, the UFC came onto the scene in partnership with Zuffa. The UFC held their first event November 12, 1993 in Denver Colorado.

Many people don’t realize the obstacles that MMA fighters have to go through. For example, they have a limited amount of time to train for a fight, they have to deal with injures- if they do come up, they have to cut weight for the fight and in some cases it could be fatal, they have to deal with the media throughout fight week, and still perform the day of the fight.  Some fighters can get injuries that could keep them out of competition for months or even years. This can affect their career and their regular life because if they don’t fight, then they can’t get paid and will therefore be unable to pay their bills. But, like boxing, MMA has become more evolved as the time went on. Back then, no one wanted to be apart of that fight scene because of how barbarice it used to be. UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, was thinking about why MMA should be in the Olympics and I agree with him. He brought up a good point that if MMA was in the Olympics people all over can see how these fighters start off and be recognized for their skills. Many fighters agree with these claims for the reason that they work hard every year, win or lose, and most won’t get the attention they deserve.

 

But some people are concerned that MMA doesn’t take skill and doesn’t fit the Olympic level standard. In 2016, New York was the last state to legalize MMA. The sport is not what it once was when it first started. They have implemented a set of rules that keep the fighters from taking any unmessy damage. So if MMA has all these rules and is legal, why would some people still oppose it? People say that MMA doesn’t give you the right self-defense you need and is just a lawless sport. But times have changed since when it first started; MMA has rules now and not only is it legal all over America but it’s also continuing to grow fast across the world. One reason why people don’t want MMA to be on a higher level is because they might not know much about it so they are ignorant. They only view it as entertainment instead of an actual sport.

 

Many say MMA is no different from Gladiators where we can see which one kills their opponent first. They say that MMA is a brutal sport that tends to give a negative effect on the youth and society and doesn’t show you self defense but only to hurt other people. But the point is, no matter how brutal or negative they think it is, they believe you can’t take away the fact that these fighters go through the same things as boxers do, or even more. These fighters go through many obstacles in a year so you can’t really deny the fact that MMA shouldn’t be in the Olympics. MMA brings people from all races, religion, and culture together. These fighters put their bodies and life on the line to do something they enjoy and love so they can provide for their family. Even if we don’t believe it is a real sport, we should at least respect what they do because they go through a lot.

 

There are many reasons that MMA should be in the Olympics. There are many fighters that have an Olympic level background. Some of the top names such as Matt Lindland, former middleweight, won a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Also, Mark Coleman, former heavyweight, placed 7th in NCA freestyle wrestling in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Ben Askren is a current Welterweight champion and he competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was unable to make it to the medal round. Hector Lombard fights in the middleweight division; he was part of the Cuban Judo team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Dan Henderson is a former middleweight fighter who took part in the 1992 and the 1996 Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling where he came tenth and 12th. Daniel Cormier is the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion where he competed in the 2004 olympics in Athens but lost in the bronze medal match. Ronda Rousey is a former champion; she was in the 2008 Beijing olympics where she won a bronze medal for Judo. Sara Mcmann fought in the bantamweight class in the 2004 Athens Olympics; she won a silver medal in women’s freestyle wrestling. Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero is in the middleweight division and got silver in freestyle wrestling in the 2008 Olympics. Lastly there is Henry Cejudo, who is in the flyweight class, won a Gold medal in freestyle wrestling and was the youngest olympics’ champion in US history.

 

The history of MMA has been a long, crazy, and bumpy road to get to where it’s at today. Everyone has their opinion on how they view the world of MMA but we cannot deny the fact, brutal or not, that these fighters go through years of training to learn specific techniques. Even some of these fighters who were in the olympics don’t make it to championship level because of how competitive the sport is. Through all the months of training for might and years of training camps most people couldn’t have a life as a fighter. Therefore, I believe that MMA should be in the Olympics. It takes years to be where MMA champions are at because there is so many different fighting styles that the sport has to have rules to keep the fighters safe. For example there is commissions, commentators, refs, and doctors; there is everything that is legal and professional for the sport. MMA always brings young new fighters that are willing to show the world what kind of skills they can bring to the table. It is an art and a lifestyle, and a hard one too; so we shouldn’t give these fighters less respect than they deserve. Some of them have been dreaming to be in the position they are in since they were kids. This is to bring the sport to higher levels and show those who don’t know anything about it or who think it’s not a sport that you have to be very skilled in order to succeed in the MMA lifestyle.

 

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MMA is not getting the recognition it deserves