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Think American MMA Is Brutal? Check Japan

Mixed martial arts has a perception problem in the United States. From the guy who runs CBS saying it was a mistake to sign a deal with EliteXC to athletic commission officials saying there's more drug use in MMA than in boxing to negative stories in the Washington Post and Associated Press, a lot of casual American sports fans are left with the impression that the sport is savage and dangerous.

But the reality is that MMA in the United States is far more advanced than MMA in other countries in terms of taking the health of fighters seriously. Take this from Dave Meltzer's piece about this weekend's Dream.3 show:
Japanese MMA is still a completely different animal than the UFC, because the former has no governmental regulation. There is no steroid testing. Many of the matches are made at the last minute, and in one case, a fighter, Melvin Manhoef, was in the ring just two weeks after taking a knockout in a kickboxing match, something that would never be allowed in a major U.S. commission state.
There's a certain segment of the population, and especially of the sports media, who begin with the premise that MMA is a despicable pseudo-sport that has no place on the American sports landscape. But people who are willing to keep an open mind about MMA see that the American version of the sport shows a dedication to the safety of its participants that makes U.S. sanctioning bodies, and the UFC, worldwide leaders.