Cage Fighting in the USA

Cage Fighting in the USA

2011, Sports  -   39 Comments
Ratings: 7.35/10 from 79 users.

It's brutal, it's violent, and yet more and more people are watching the sport that was once banned from television for being too bloody. Now cage fights are prime-time TV events, and mixed martial arts, MMA, is a billion dollar industry, but far from the spotlight of the UFC everyday Americans are stepping onto the mat. What you're going to see over the next several years is guys who were to play baseball, basketball, football will becoming involved in mixed martial arts instead.

We meet an all American guy and a female fighter with big expectations, in places you'd expect and in places you wouldn't, including church where cage fighting and the Bible go hand in hand. For some MMA offers a chance at the dream. For others those dreams have been crushed.

Savant Young is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, a 13 year veteran of the sport. If you type in his name on YouTube it only takes 15 seconds to see how he earned the fighting name "Black Superman", but now Savant now spends more time teaching other fighters than he does knocking them out.

Savant is the co-owner of Fight Academy, a gym in Pasadena, California that specializes in mixed martial arts, or MMA. Gyms like Fight Academy are springing up all over the country, and in 2010 over 2.5 million Americans trained or fought in MMA. Many trained to simply stay in shape, but everyone wants to fight.

When guys walk in fresh off the street saying they want to fight, they've got to go through all the prerequisites, go through the training, because at the end of the day it's a pretty serious consequence to being not prepared to do this sport.

MMA combines multiple combat sports like wrestling, boxing, and Jiu Jitsu. Because competitions are often held in a cage, it is also known as cage fighting. While fans of MMA love the highly technical side of the sport they also celebrate the raw brutality. Fan made knock out videos routinely go viral online.

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39 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Raul

    MMA, boxing, football, fundamentally cause brain damage. Anything that hits your head will cause head trauma.

  2. DustUp

    As is often the case, things are not always as they may seem. Some years ago a study was done regarding running shoes. The reason was that it seemed more people were getting injured. The upshot was the newer tech softened the impact to the body from running so people didn't know when to quit and the added impact took its toll, feeling little to no pain right up until something gave out, snapped, tore, etc.

    I can only figure that the informed fellow making the point about the fluffier boxing gloves being more dangerous; allowing many more punches, is similar to the "impact absorbing" running shoe. Where the reco was to get a cheaper plainer running shoe so your body would get sore and tell you when to quit.

    In football, would they hammer their heads if still using leather head covers? Only the hardest of heads. And they would know when they need to avoid any more head contact.

    Clearly mankind ...or not so kind at times, has more than one side. For this short discussion I'll limit it to 2 sides: Animal and Spiritual. I always thought the purpose of the spiritual side, as well as coaches in that arena, be it preachers, pastors, priests, gurus, monks, monkettes, etc. was about encourage at least yourself if not others to rise above your animal nature or "the natural man" and become more. More thoughtful, considerate, tolerant, patient, kind, forgiving, less judgmental, less resentful, less angry, less hateful, etc. I didn't watch this docu so I don't know how the preacher guy pulls that off but maybe he does some how.

    Barring a few exceptions, I do notice that some of the fighters are quite respectful. Much more so than siblings who pick fights to pump their ego. So there must be something to the "testing themselves" situation another commentor aptly described.

    I find the sport somewhat interesting but usually disappointing in that there are many more lousy fights compared to when two very good fighters go at it. One can learn a fair bit about tactics and risks.

    As with most any sport, their is usually someone better out there in the hinterland who actually is busy living their life with no need to prove themselves to anyone. So I am amused at such titles as "World Champion". Champion of the tiny group who didn't choose to do something else would be more appropriate.

    If one wants to look at animal nature, many males find the female fights more interesting than the male. That would be me unless the rare occasion of an actually good fight happened.

    If boxing is ok and wrestling is ok and martial arts is ok, then combining them would seem to be ok, and more challenging having more options. One thing that I would change is the gloves. Mitten style which covered all the fingers with no exposed seams, then you would see less blood.

    Chances are I will get bored with MMA/UFC and am nearly there already. If people opt to watch such things versus playing a friendly board game or such with their kids or family, then they do have some selfish, me me me, problems the world seems to be filled with today. I tend to suspect, as might be with me that it give a bit of release to the notions of how a lot of selfish self centered weasels need their butts kicked. Or that the possibility of a fair fight "may" still exist while so many other things are rigged against us.

    In that light, it would be refreshing to see many of those in govt and corporate(incl. banking) called out into the ring, square, octagon, or sphere for some well deserved comeuppance for what they have done to this country and its citizens. It would be a hoot to see an old lady with a heavy handbag and umbrella knock the stuffing out of a banker who screwed her. There are some people who will never learn to stop being a weasel or a jerk until faced with physical punishment. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Many have never made it out of child mode. The MMA fighters are far above them in nobility.

  3. miranda borjon

    Man if you guys think that cage fighting is bad it aint nothing compared to street fighting people die in street fighting okay.

  4. deathsells

    The taxpayers will pay for the healthcare of these guys for the rest of their disabled lives. Instead, let them fight to the death, much cheaper that way. Further, Mesomorphs are presumed criminals at an alarming percentage. There is an unlimited supply of them. End all wars and just have cage fighting. Which also, is a much cheaper way to get rid of them.

  5. Bruce Black

    This documentary is FILLED with "excuses" to be cage fighter in some way.
    Either just fight and shut up, or become something else. Stop talking about your so called "hard life" and Jesus and the fact you never got breast fed.

  6. Jason West

    2.5 million have trained in MMA? Nope, no freaking way.

  7. awful_truth

    After reading many of the comments below, it would seem that many people are missing the point. Most martial artists are not interesting in 'fighting for a living'. The one's who choose to do it, (unless it is out of necessity) enter the arena to test themselves, and their abilities. (to stay grounded, not delude oneself regarding their own abilities)
    Dana White is foolish to even imply that many athletes will choose MMA over other traditional sports in the future. In reality, all people should learn some basic level of self defense, and I would rather see combat in the cage where everyone who enters understands what they are getting into, as opposed to on the street where wannabe's pick on those who are not interested, or ill prepared. Since combat is the last refuge for those who can't defend themselves intellectually, (many people) it is easier to punch someone out, then to self educate to increase their confidence. (the dark side - quicker, easier, more seductive)
    For those who believe it is dangerous, one only need compare the risks to an endless number of activities that can take you down in an instant, in which case we would have to ban everything short of basket weaving.
    The awful truth is life is tough, humanity is stupid, and if we are to engage in the brutality of life, (combat) let it occur where it belongs; supervised, and regulated in the cage.
    P.S: It takes courage to confront an adversary directly, where the true coward drops bombs from 60,000 feet killing innocent people. When war for profit and greed is banned and outlawed, then I will reconsider my views regarding one on one cage fighting combat for profit, and entertainment.

  8. Ian Hollinhead

    Has anyone seen the documentary they did on Fighters that grease up and punch. Its called "when fighting gets dirty" with Brandon Bender. really good movie.

  9. Richard Neva

    Disgusting, I could not watch it!

  10. Anders

    Mentioned the word "jesus" in the first minute = NO GO

  11. Francis

    Justifying savagery and profits with Jesus. "God bless America AGAIN..."

  12. avd420

    As of right now, a simple cost-benefit analysis will show you that becoming a fighter isn't worth it if you plan on making a living at it.

    It's extremely tough and time consuming to develop the skills to be in the top 10% of fighters in a weight division. And if you are to make it that far, still, only the top 2-3 guys make enough to consider it a good living, especially after you take taxes and the trainers and partners and gym dues you have to pay, on top of that, expensive food.

    So, if you make it to the top level (and by top level I don't mean the UFC, I mean the top of your weight division) you have to stay at the top for years for it to be worth it. And let's be real, there are only a few humans that exist today that have that physical and mental ability, plus the luck, lots and lots of luck.

    If you get a bad knockout from an underachiever opponent, and then lose a decision that should have went your way, and then get injured in the gym, that literally puts you behind years as far as the money you could have made.

    If you look at the time and patience it takes to become one of the top guys, or even to try to become one, you're better off taking a skilled trade, starting a business or getting an education. With the kind of relentless work and motivation it takes, you'll be sure to come out on top.

    1. Alaskies

      Agreed. And to add to that, I'm gonna have to say you'd be better off accepting a job at one of the thousands of corporations in America as a lowest level employee. All you need is just a little bit of work ethic and a halfway positive attitude and you can move up and make more than the average person period, and much more than you would facing the odds as an up and coming UFC fighter, just stupid in general. Look at what's happened to quite a few retired NFL players, going crazy due to excessive blows to the head. Hmm, I wonder what research will show in regards to the much harder, and more direct blows to the head that UFC fighers take every fight, more times than one can count on two hands.

    2. Enzu

      I agree with both of you guys. To say to yourself after graduating from highschool or even University: "Hmmm, I´m gonna put all my energy into being a MMA fighter" is just stupid, and I think VERY few people are doing this.

      What you guys are forgetting though is that the top of the top, and even top 10-20 in UFC different wheightclasses today have grown up doing usually one combat/self defence sport since they could walk pretty much, and often being in the top of their respective country in their respective sport, and wanting to learn more and being interested in other thecniques is a natural step.

      And most important of all in my mind is that these guys being at the top ladders in their different wheightclasses "have it in their blood", they LOVE fighting to put it simple, just as some people LOVE to study insects.

      But as a "normal" middle-class guy regarding his career options, definitely not a good choice!

  13. pwndecaf

    The scarf lady is back! Mariana van Zeller...I think I'm smitten.

    1. Francis

      she's portuguese

    2. pwndecaf

      I knew that. What is your point?

  14. Plenum

    The Sport of Empire...

  15. DigiWongaDude

    I'm sure if head butting was more 'entertaining', and could last more than one round, that would be a sport too. Perhaps in time some will develop the TV rights and some will make careers for themselves as pro head butter sports people. How will Jesus be brought in to that arena? Strange things do happen.

    I'm not suggesting we ban this or anything, just call it what it is: 'entertainment', and by calling it a sport we can tentatively drop the word brutal.

    I appreciate (as much as I can) the discipline, hard work, dedication and sacrifice that these sports people go through, and I'm sure many lives are improved for it. That's why I'm not against it. I'm just not so sure about the way it is glorified, which is a totally personal viewpoint. I probably lack understanding though, so I'll keep watching. I thought the movie Warrior (2011) was epic!

  16. Ire Heather

    The words that come to mind are, frightening and twisted. As a culture this shines light on how little we have evolved, or perhaps even devolved. In school we were taught about the brutality of the Romans as they enjoyed their blood sports in the Colosseum, a sport which often pitted mighty beasts against followers of Christ. And now we have a pastor who not only embraces blood sport but encourages his followers to engage in them. And we have "girls" (interesting how we don't refer to the men as "boys") who are becoming as masculine and blood thirsty as the "guys" and more and more people marring up their bodies with tattoos and pieces of metal... I'm not a religious person but if I were the first thing that would come to my mind is how "satanic" this culture has become. Heaven help us!

    1. CountJoseph

      Thanks for offering these thoughts. I agree so sorry to all the knuckleheads that think this sport is something good. It isn't, in my opinion. It's street fighting with rules and yes, a blood sport. Mostly, from where I stand, I see many men and women with other personal issues that they can't fully deal with getting involved in this type of activity. Aggressive tendencies. And before any MMA fans tell me they are gonna come to Canada and knock my block off, just ask around...about the "other issues" thing and tell me I'm wrong. Exercise and fitness are cool...this is for dumb asses that want to kick "righteous ass" and get on TV. Drink more Red Bull and try kayaking or something.

    2. rob

      it always disappointing to me when someone so uneducted on a subject decides to voice their opinion

    3. rainmaker

      Using the term "uneducated" is at least weird for a person who made 5 mistakes in one sentence!

      CountJoseph presented his opinion perfectly - I can confirm this as an educated person (2 university degrees, years of martial arts practicing).

    4. Culture Strange

      Thanks for offering these thoughts. Unfortunately uneducated people like yourself think you understand MMA. You don't. Go and watch something else if you prefer. In my opinion skilled, trained athletes deserve their art - and it is an art - to be appreciated by a wider audience that has an interest in it. I've no interest in coming to Canada to "knock your block off" maybe you should drink a nice cup of tea and try knitting or something

    5. DigiWongaDude

      Relatively speaking we haven't really come very far have we? Count the ways we think of ourselves as being civilised, and cross them out one by one with the reality of each.

      I'm not so much against this as it's better to truly embrace ourselves for what we are and use that to move forward honestly. I'm not at all surprised to find a pastor warrior tending a flock, you'd find no less of the same in prisons. Wherever there is despair, you'll find the sellers of hope.

      Sure, plenty of professional sports men and women here, no doubt, but I'm not sure this pastor would have such a needy flock in the world of badminton.

    6. avd420

      Actually, for some perspective, compare the injuries of the people in MMA to that of cheerleaders. You may be surprised what's more "frightening and twisted."

  17. I AM POP SLAG.

    Jesus the cage fighter? Did he just say Jesus the cage fighter? seriously? cage fighting? jesus? are you serious?

    beggars belief...Vlatko where do you find this s*it?
    I am a fan of martial arts as self a self defence as self empowerment thing but this?
    Its just brutality for its own sake- one of the sickest symptoms of the western world- its kind of as bad as stoning- going to watch a guy have a seizure or be disfigured for fun...sick.
    Bruce Lee really would not have approved- climbing into a cage to "intercept fists" wasnt really what he had in mind when he invented the ultimate SELF DEFENCE system.

    Its good for a giggle this one if you have a sick sense of humour and a tolerance for pure buttery, unfettered, creamy irony.

    Turn the other che....BAM Too late!

    1. JezusVanNazareth

      You are completely ignorant, and it shows.

      MMA is the SAFEST combat sport in the world. Boxing has claimed hundreds of lives, and we see boxers suffer terrible brain damage. This is because the most dangerous thing in combat sports, is getting hit in the head.

      In MMA, we use small gloves, which means that when you get hit clean, you go to sleep, plain and simple. In a boxing match (12 rounds) you can get hit in the head many hundreds of times, in an MMA fight (3 rounds) that number is significantly lower.

      Serious injuries in MMA are very rare. You might break your nose, or your hand, but the same can be said about skateboarding.

      Fighting is the oldest sport in the world, and it's sad that we live in a society that is made up of weak minded people, who can't seperate their own fear of voilence from others who faced their fears and live their dream.

      It's a chess match, and anyone who can't see that is an outsider, and fails to comprehend the beauty of the game. That in itself is fine, but don't you dare insult something and make judgements on something that you know very little about.

    2. wald0

      Dude, just say- "Hey, I'm into so..." You know? Coming off like this will not change any minds, just saying. If you insult people that disagree with you, it will never change. I can tell you love the sport, love your sport, win the people man. Look at it like a challenge just like fighting, are you good enough to do it? Can you change peoples minds while remaining honest and ethical in your approach? Let the religion stuff go (boo!!!) and concentrate on the sport. Just my two cents. Good luck.

    3. docoman

      G'day wald0, how's it going mate? I heard somewhere recently the "you can catch more flies with honey then with vinegar" quote, to which was replied, "but you'll get the most with manure" :)
      I probably should try that advice more often myself, good post mate.

    4. dewflirt

      Don't often see a boxing match go twelve rounds.

    5. JezusVanNazareth

      You must not be familliar with the Klitchko's

    6. docoman

      G'day JVN,
      don't get me wrong mate, I'm partial to watching and enjoying some MMA and boxing from time to time, I can see and appreciate the skills involved, but I can't see how MMA is THE safest combat sport. Kendo, judo/wrestling, even fencing come to mind as safer contact sports. I could be wrong, correct me if I am mate.

      I think you're missing the point with the small gloves.. yes it's less hits usually, but they're still blows to the head that cause loss of consciousness, often with more power transferred, hence the faster knockouts. Not a good thing to do to the brain regularly though. I do agree that all sports contain their risks, skydiving for example, and if someone is aware and prepared they can make their own choice if they want to play.

      I say if someone doesn't like the sport then don't watch, but don't stop others participating or watching if they wish to. But it should also be acknowledged any risks involved, to enable an informed decision.

    7. jackmax

      G'day Mate

      First I should say I enjoy watching the sport and under other circumstances I would have had a go at it.

      Mate could you please supply the reference you got your figures from, and has the age of the two sports been taken into account? Finally, are your figures of death during or as a result of competition only, or have the training "accidents" been included?

    8. rainmaker

      "SAFEST combat sport in the world"?!

      Do you know any other combat sport except MMA and boxing?

      The fact that you can hit in the head with fists and that MMA gloves are less "head-and face-friendly" than boxing gloves already makes it highly dangerous. And don't call me ignorant or unknowledgeable - I've done my share of combat sports in my younger years (judo, kung-fu, full-contact karate), with practicing full-contact karate Kyokushin for years. Even in full-contact karate, you are not allowed to hit with hands in the head. I've never seen any less unsafe and more brutal combat sport than MMA. In some cases MMA fighters completely ignoring referee's commands (in any other official sport you'd be disqualified for this!!) and acting like mad uncontrolled animals - even because of this MMA has to be banned. And it is.

      In your post you twisted everything you could, presenting MMA as the only way to express the human desire to fight, and even making a statement that boxing gloves are more dangerous than MMA gloves! Or even comparing bone breaking in skateboarding and MMA. I beg your pardon, but in which universe do you live?!

      The whole point of MMA, if you still haven't gotten it, is efficiency and brutality in combat, with a very little actual technique a normal combat sport has. Therefore, it is banned, not recognized as an official sport and never will.

    9. Mitch170

      Last night I accompanied a guy to hospital who had collapsed outside my house, he had terrible injuries from a cage fight and had lost a kidney in a previous fight, he had bust ribs, broken nose and head injuries, he was an ex soldier who had lost mates in Afghanistan and had got into fighting as a way to earn money and keep busy as he had flashbacks.
      He had won 3500 quid for getting smashed up this time, but while I waited in hospital with him to have a brain scan, he told me he had had enough and wanted out of it, he just didn't know what else to do.
      I suggested he ll energy, looks into some kind of manual basic job where he expends lots of physical energy like a personal trainer or gardener, I was thinking on my feet here!
      Do not tell me this is a dignified way for people to be encouraged to treat one another, all the organisers do is feed off these peoples inability to find themselves other forms of making money. It is the human version of dogfighting or bear baiting.
      What is dignified or skilful about smashing someone up? Your brain can only tolerate so many jolts, however "skilfully" they are done, it causes damage.
      I hope he was ok anyway, it was disturbing and upsetting to see a human being in such a state. P.s. Don't try and get religion into this, it is wrong regardless of any belief system to hurt or cause pain to another. End of.

    10. Bruce Black

      And you seriously think you make sense right now?
      Read it again, knowing youre not a docter or have any knowledge of the medical field.

  18. dewflirt

    duck or grouse ;)

  19. Flood

    The MMA pastor looks like Tom Hanks :)