By: Thomas McCulloch
One great aspect of Can of Corn Sports is the opportunity we provide our readers to contribute to the conversation and tell their own stories. Middle Relief stories are those written by guest columnists. If you would like to write something for Can of Corn or have a great idea – please tweet @can_of_corn or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“TELL ME AGAIN ABOUT THIS CAGE FIGHTING STUFF?”
So I was asked if I would write a piece about MMA. With the sport being so young I wanted to take this opportunity and write about some of the stereotypes and misconceptions about MMA that I hear a lot from the casual fight fan. Now I understand that not everyone has the same passion for the sport as I do but I feel that it is important to treat everyone’s interest respectfully. With that being said let’s jump into the first misconception of the great combat sport known as mixed martial arts.
“SO YOU DO THAT UFC STUFF?”
Anytime I am asked about MMA the first question, almost 100% of the time, is “So you do that UFC stuff?” This question, more than any other, gets under the skin of any hardcore MMA fan. Why you might ask? Simple, the sport is MMA and the league is the UFC. Think of it this way if I grabbed a baseball and asked you to go outside with me to play I would not ask you “Hey, you want to go out and play MLB?” That would be awkward and most likely you would look at me funny and think I was a moron. The same goes for a true MMA fan when they are asked about the sport. The UFC has done a great job at marketing their brand and making it synonymous with the sport, but please for the love of all that is good, next time you talk about the sport say “MMA” not “UFC”.
“YOU JUST HAVE TO BE A TOUGH GUY TO BE GOOD AT MMA”
A lot of people that look at MMA from afar see it as two people in a cage beating the crap out of each other with reckless abandonment until one falls and that is the end of the contest. This could not be farther from the truth. To be a success in MMA it takes a lot of work, the top guys in the sport spend countless hours in the gym working on strategies and techniques to win their next fight. Most fighters train two to three times a day, five days a week. They train wrestling, Brazillian jiu-jitsu, and some style of stand-up fighting discipline. As the sport continues to grow and become more popular, some of the best athletes in the World are taking their shot at becoming a mixed martial artist. Olympic athletes such as Ben Askren, freestyle wrestling; Hidehiko Yoshida, Judo, and Joe Warren, Greco Roman wrestling, are now fighting and establishing themselves in the sport. With a bigger audience, more sponsorship money, and the paychecks getting bigger, these amazing athletes are finding a way to continue in a competitive sport as a professional. With this trend continuing the sport as a whole is becoming more legitimate as true sport.
The above misconceptions are just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t want to come across as a pouting hardcore MMA fan so I won’t continue my rant! I hope this has opened your eyes to the sport of MMA if you are a casual outsider to the sport. If you love the sport as I do, you understand my frustration with these misconceptions. The next time I write I promise I will be a lot more positive.
Originally from Independence, MO, Thomas McCulloch is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO. He has been an avid fan of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for the past 16 years. He currently works as the Director of Communications for the Titan Fighting Championship and is the Co-Founder and CEO of In the Cage MMA (learn more at itcmma.net). In the past he worked as the Producer and Co-Host of the Fight Show Live on Sports Radio 810 WHB. Thomas has firsthand experience with the sport of MMA from several different sides of the sport and his longtime love of the sport combined with his professional experience grants him a unique perspective on Mixed Martial Arts. You can follow Thomas on Twitter @TitanTMAC