In recent years, MMA core has gained the status of a well-recognized sport. That was not always the case. Mixed Martial Arts Core, also known as cage fighting, starting as an underdog sport with no definite set of rules or specific equipment or sportswear. But now, the sport has gone international with millions in investments.
What is MMA Core?
MMA is a full combat sport. It combines fighting techniques ranging from kicking, punching to grappling and pinning. MMA combines the fighting styles of kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, karate, boxing, taekwondo, muay Thai, judo, and even wrestling. The oldest fighting style, which is the ancestor of modern MMA Core is Vale Tudo. It is combat with minimum to no rules that required opponents to pin each other down. Today, MMA has evolved a soul of its own by the amalgamation of various fighting styles.
The UFC was founded by the Gracie family to promote Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In the early years, there were no rules in the fights, therefore different fighters brought their own styles of martial arts and gave birth to the modern sport of MMA. In the later years, a set of rules was introduced for the protection of the fighters.
Rules & Role of MMA Core
Even though there is not a unified rulebook for MMA Core head guards importance and more, several states of the UK & U.S have come together to try and create “Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts”. This set of rules is followed in all the championships. Even if a championship doesn’t strictly confine to the rulebook, it would use a close variation of the rules. The rules also include a comprehensive list of weight classes. The fighters are split into these classes for the fights.
The fighters wear minimum equipment (padded gloves), as demanded by the nature of the sport. The ring is about 20 feet. No joint-locks are allowed. The fight consists of 3 rounds, the winner of the round gets 10 points, and the loser gets 9 points. In the end, the points sum up, and the winner is declared. An MMA fight can end in several ways including knockout, TKO (technical knockout), submission by one of the fighters, forfeit, or decision (if the match lasts all three rounds). The participants cannot compete outside of their weight category.
The rules of the MMA include several prohibited attacks for example; biting, attacking orifices or eyes, hitting the head, head butts, throwing a fighter outside of the cage, and many more. The fighters are also required to listen to the referee at all times and follow his instructions.
MMA fighter Training
It is no brainer that MMA fighters are some of the most multi-dimensional athletes in the world. Sports similar to MMA require training in many different fighting techniques. In addition to that, the players follow strict workout routines and diets. The MMA fighters have a wide range of abilities including; agility, endurance, and strength.
All MMA fighters train in a different kind of martial arts or a combination of two or more martial arts. An average MMA fighter trains for about 5-6 hours every day. These intense training sessions do not just focus on one thing. The training consists of different sessions focusing on developing strength, endurance, skills, and techniques. The endurance is the ultimate priority of an MMA fighter. The art of using minimum energy with maximum impact is of utmost importance. MMA fights are hard on the human body, and to make it through all three rounds, the fighters need to conserve their energy as much as possible. The strength training comprises of sequences that simulate the environment players face during their matches. They spar, kick-box, and fight in the ring for increasing their strength.
In addition to training, nutrition is also very crucial. MMA fighters core usually have diets that include all major food groups like carbs, fats, proteins, and vitamins. For carbs, rice, and bread are the options of top MMA fighters. For proteins, the players choose a combination of eggs, meat, and some diary-products. Keeping a steady diet is very important for the fighter because any fluctuation can result in their disqualification from the desired weight class.
Difference between MMA fighters and Core athletes
MMA fighters are very different from our everyday athletes. In terms of training, we have seen that MMA fighters train with fighting hoodies in so many different ways. However, a standard athlete may train in one or two disciplines. For example, a runner will only have increased speed and stamina as their top priority. MMA fighters face graver injuries in the ring as compared to other athletes. For example, lacerations, fractures, and even shoulder dislocation. The gloves used in MMA are also fingerless. It leads to accidental eye-pokes.
MMA Core involves pinning down the opponent on the ground. Therefore, the fighters employ different head-locks and joint-locks to stop the mobility of their opponent. These locks can lead to fatal injuries. Hyperextension of joints is one of those injuries. Knees and elbows are the most vulnerable joints in MMA, and although, a referee can stop the fight before anything serious happens, the time it takes for the opponent to tap out is enough to cause damage.
Hence, MMA fighters are at a higher risk of injury than any other athletes. In addition to that, most MMA fights are arranged unofficially and may not follow all the rules, resulting in unforeseen injuries and damage. Apart from the top listed champions, most MMA fighters do not have health insurances to cover their hospital costs. All these things make MMA fighters very different from other athletes.
Lack of professional health support
MMA is still a growing sport. There is not a lot of focus on professional health support for the fighters. The MMA fights are organized by independent companies therefore, there is no centralized database for all the fighters. It leads to complications. For example, a fighter can be on a suspension from one ring but can fight in a different ring before the ban is over. The desire to be noticed by the UFC is also a driving factor behind fighters taking up more fights than they can endure in a single year.
Due to the lack of professional therapists, nutritionists and doctors, the MMA fighters remain in the dark. They take advice from fellow fighters, their instructors, and coaches. These fighters also do not have an offseason to cool off. The constant fight to climb up the ranks as a competitor keeps them taking up more and more fights.
Unsafe medicinal use and weight cutting
Another thing that affects the modern athletes of MMA is drug abuse and hormone therapy. More and more MMA players are relying on drugs and medicines. The phenomenon of doping is becoming fairly common. Moreover, testosterone, a steroid hormone in the body, is also administered as a therapy. It results in improved stamina and muscle build. Consequently, it gives a competitive advantage over the opponent.
In addition to that, MMA is frequently becoming a victim of weight cutting. Competitions are categorized with weight ranges. To be successful in the certain weight range, a player requires to be on the upper side of the limit. Thus, to fit the range fighter often abuse diet and anabolic drugs that increase the metabolism and help with the weight loss. All of it does not come without the side effects of that can compromise the long term health and wellbeing. Moreover, the issue of illegalness also comes to play.
What is the appeal of MMA?
One of the main reasons behind all the hype and attraction to this sport is human’s primal urge to compete and witness the show of power of physical and mental competition. In other words, it carries a Roman time gladiator feel, where ancient mobs of people used to gather in the colosseum to watch the blood-shed filled combat. MMA, despite the significant differences, resembles that. Moreover, the cage that was originally set up to attract the audiences and five the street fight feel had the same driving principle.
Human nature to see who is the best? and who wins? is another force operating behind the MMA Core. Two people standing in the ring, displaying a show of power-driven, and mentally stimulating fight sequence, is a sight to behold. The rush of adrenaline and excitement for the onlookers is another reason for the increasing popularity. Same is the reason behind the popularity of games like Tekken and UFC. Moreover, the representation of fighters in media, such as movies and series also sparks curiosity and interest in the game.
MMA as a relatively newer and emerging name in the sports has several grey areas that require addressing. The impacts and effects of MMA on athletes should not go in negligence. The need of the time is studies and researches. In addition to that, safe practicing environment for the player is also a need.