This archived article was written by: Devin Latu
Walk into any neighborhood and if they are playing football on one corner, basketball on the next, baseball on the third, and if a fight broke out on the fourth corner, everybody is going to run to watch the fight. Fighting is strangely intriguing to people.
These days, you can watch that street corner from the comfort of your own home. Millions are being drawn to a new kind of fighting called “Mixed Marshal Arts” (MMA)
Years ago, MMA was banned because it was “too vicious for a decent society.” But the sport came back swinging and is now the fastest growing sport in the world.
Pat Miletich one of the greatest coaches of the sport, and Renzo Gracie, who helped invent it, are amoung the pioneers of MMA in America.
The name Gracie is to MMA as Ford is to cars. In Brazil in the 1920s, the Gracie family invented this new form of jiu-jitsu, and brought these new techniques to the United States in the 1990s.
“You cannot hide who you are once you step on the ring. If you are a coward, they will show it.” Gracie once said “you can’t hide. It doesn’t matter how much money you’re getting paid. The moment the bell rings, you forget about everything else. You think about surviving and you think about beating up the other guy.”
In an interview by 60 Minutes, reporter Scott Pelley asks Gracie, “What do you say to people who watch an MMA fight and say it’s barbaric?”
“For them to understand my sport,” Gracie replied.
“What’s to understand? You are pounding a guy and choking him into submission,” Pelley remarks.
“It goes far beyond that. The first impression is, hit him, knock him out, hurt him, believe it, it goes far beyond that.” Gracie explained. “There is so much technique involved, that I, to be honest, I think when I see a good fight, I think it makes a Russian ballet look like uncoordinated body movements.”
In another interview by ESPN, Gracie admitted MMA can sometimes be bloody. “Blood is the source of the whole thing. Believe- it’s not blood that’s coming out, it’s a little bit of pride that you are putting out.”
Gracie said, “Everything is fighting. Doesn’t matter what it is. You wake up in the morning, to get outta bed is a fight, believe it. So fighting is actually the best thing a man can have in his soul.”