MMA exploded on to the world scene in the 1990s, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) evolved and the rest is history. In the UK, this tough and demanding full contact sport seems to have found its way into every level of the community; most towns and cities have at least one MMA gym and over the past couple of decades, the UK has produced some notable MMA fighters, Conor McGregor being a good example.
Why is MMA such a popular sport here in the UK?
Here are a few reasons.
- Self-Defence – We all know how much senseless violence there can be in a UK city; walking down the wrong street after a football match could land you in a dangerous situation and let’s not forget the lager louts that can be found everywhere. Many women take up MMA in order to be able to defend themselves and whether you are into Muay Thai in Manchester or Jiu Jitsu in Reading, there will be a gym nearby.
- Fitness – As you would expect, mixed martial arts training is gruelling and anyone who takes it up will quickly develop a good level of fitness and improved body strength. It’s a lot of fun too and training doesn’t have to be competitive; people fall into groups, those who wish to compete, those who want to be able to defend themselves and those who just desire a higher level of fitness.
- The Challenge of Competition – If you are from 12-25, you could train to actually compete in the cage, which demands 100% commitment. When your instructor feels you are ready to spar, he will put you in the cage with a suitable opponent and you are both wearing full body protection, with a headguard, shin and body pads. Much like boxing, fighters are matched according to weight and experience and gradually develop their skills over a period of several years and if you are prepared to sacrifice and handle the gruelling training, you can start on the amateur trail, which for a few, turns into a profession.
There are a few that get into MMA with a view to using it on the street in an aggressive way, yet they are quickly identified and removed, as MMA is a sport and should be treated with respect. If you would like to learn more about MMA, pop down to your local MMA gym and you are welcome to observe with no pressure to take it any further.