Most people recognize the obvious physical damage mixed martial artists encounter on the job.
Getting punched in the face isn't for everybody.
But what about the mental aspects?
These fighters are alpha dogs. A loss in MMA is unlike a loss in any other sport and vastly different than any of the major team sports.
The loss is all on you and it usually means you got your butt handed to you, literally not figuratively.
You can't blame your offensivle line for not blocking hard enough or point to the pitcher as the reason you lost in the ninth inning despite you going 0-4 at the plate.
No, if you lose in MMA that "L" goes squarely next to your name on a Wikipedia page.
Not to mention everytime you look at the person that beat you, you have to concede that he/she can beat you in a fight.
Think back to any situation you've ever had with a co-worker, friend, family member or road raging driver on a highway and you will probably recall, at some point, a moment where you thought to yourself that it would feel great to put a whooping on that person.
Now imagine that fight actually happened and you were on the receiving end of said whooping.
Think about the helpless feeling of inadequacy that would surely ensue everytime that person walked by you and you knew that no matter how mad at them you got, you couldn't fall back on a hypothetical physical altercation proving your manhood to them because you knew for a fact, it wouldn't play out that way.
These guys then get right back to work. They don't take punches to the face, lose and then fade into retirement. Most of them begin training ASAP and pine for a rematch.
Most people would avoid future confrontations of any kind at all costs for the foreseeable future.
These guys seek them out as quickly as possible to get the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouths.
These guys, are insane.
That resolve, however, is what makes a mixed martial artist a representative of the truest form of competition in sports today.