Dana White has spouted out a lot of craziness in his time as UFC President, but one bit of truth that he continually quotes is "Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world". Although I don't have the statistics, judging by the revenues and pay per view buys that the UFC is reporting, it's hard to argue this statement.
It's always great to see a sport that you love growing at such a rapid pace but like anything else, you have to take the bad with the good. The good part is that MMA is expanding at a huge rate and it is becoming much more widely accepted amongst the general populous and has even made its way into pop culture. The downside is what I like to call, "The UFC Fan". I'll do my best to explain this person. He bought an Affliction shirt because he noticed Georges St Pierre wore it once, and because Affliction shirt's are so darn shiny. He only drinks Natural Light and the moment the fight hits the ground, he feels the need to shout "Stand Them Up!". He loves the windmill punching style and he thinks Chuck Liddell is the greatest fighter to ever step in the Octagon. And first and foremost, if it ain't UFC, it ain't nothing.
I think one of the greatest appeals of MMA is that most people feel they could actually fight. It's not like the NBA where you need to be a certain height or the NFL where you have to be freakishly huge to really excel. Most people fall into the weight ranges of 135 to 265 and many MMA stars actually had relatively normal lifestyles prior to beginning their fighting careers. This is where "The UFC Fan" comes into play. He feels that as soon as you hand him a pair of 4 oz gloves and point him towards the cage, he will be UFC champ in no time flat. This guy is the reason I am writing this article.
In hopes of giving everyone a reality check, we will be taking a look at some the worst injuries in MMA history. Many times, people look at the glitz and glamour of some of the big stars in the sport and forget the risks involved in training day to day. This sport isn't for the faint of heart.
I remember having thoughts of MMA stardom myself, until I stumbled up a horrendous article from MiddleEasy.com. It was a list of the top ten worst staph infections in MMA. I didn't know and still don't know much about the infection itself except I NEVER want to be within 100 miles of it. If you don't know what Staph is, this picture should let tell you everything you need to know. This is what Kevin Randleman looked like during his bout with staph:
Upon finding that article, I then stumbled upon this video of Kendall Grove getting his leg cleaned out of the infection. Even more nauseating than the picture.
And if all of this wasn't enough, check out Cole Escovedo's story. This young kid nearly lost his life to a nasty staph infection.
If you get past the Staph, then you have to deal with the actual fight itself. Whether you just train BJJ or only fight MMA, competition can go sour very quickly. Check out this video of some guy refusing to tap to a toe hold during a recent jiu jitsu competition and the result of trying to power thru it. Not a good idea. (Warning: Graphic)
Now, you aren't dumb enough to get caught in a toe hold. True. But, you might just find yourself on the bottom in a BJJ match.
OK, so the luckiest guy in the world happens to catch you in a submission. But Jesus Didn't Tap and neither are you. You can escape, no problem.
So maybe you have no interest in "that ground stuff". You would rather stand and trade blows. I'm sure you're going to win every fight by knockout in the first round, but just in case you happen to take a clean elbow or shin to the face, here's what it might look like after.
Hopefully now I have your attention. Maybe you survive the staph infection and you're always on the offensive. No one is even going to have the chance to cut you open. They'd be lucky to even get a punch or kick off.
All it takes is one checked leg kick and you can go from contender to needing rehabilitation just to walk properly again. Just ask Corey Hill.
After all of this, you have still decided you're going to fight. You run off an impressive 5-0 record and now you're stepping into the cage on a big show. But one thing that big shows have is logos on their canvases. Here's what happened to one recent fighter when he went to plant his foot while standing on a sponsor's logo.
Let's not forget that these men are incredible athletes. Yes, most people can throw a punch but few men or women are willing to train there bodies the way these athletes do. Not to mention the fact that they willingly put their bodies in harm's way every day.
You need to look no further than Rashad Evan's reasoning for withdrawing from his bout with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua:
I’m very disappointed. I was at practice on Wednesday, we were drilling wrestling technique, and one partner was going at 100% and the other partner at 30% and the drill was seeing how many take downs you could get in a minute. I was being a partner and someone ran into the side of my leg – two people tried to do a take down – they took my knee and I just fell down right away. I knew right away I was done. The injury is to the medial lateral ligament. It’s a pretty bad strain, so it will be bad for 4 to six weeks, so if the fight had been another month away, then I’d at least be able to train before the fight.
Here's a guy who will soon be fighting for a belt on the biggest stage in MMA. He goes into practice, just like any other day, and in an instant his title fight dreams are crushed at no fault of his own. He was simply standing to close to training partners.
This sport is an amazing thing to watch. Let's not ruin that by trying to put these athletes on our level. Every sport has it's share of unruly fans, but for some reason MMA has attracted throngs of the wrong type of fan. These men are elite athletes and should be treated as such.
P.S. If you needed any more proof that these guys are on another level, remember that guy who tore his foot on the sponsor's logo. Well his name is Justin Salas. He was fighting Rob Emerson for the lightweight title at a Full Force Fighting event. Justin blistered his foot in the first and tore it in the second. He then went on to win a split decision with his injured foot and won the lightweight belt. Hats off to you, sir.
So what do you think... got what it takes? To read the original post, with more pictures and videos, check out our site at BJJ in MMA.