Mixed Martial Arts First off mixed martial arts is what it sounds like. It is a session between two opponents who have trained or cross trained in martial arts. Although mixed martial arts in not a mainstream sport, there is no reason why it should be banned in any state here in the United States. Like most, if not all sports, there are rules that one most abide by, the fights are sanctioned, so rules must apply. There are regulations and weight classes much like other sports.

Mixed martial arts is considered to be the ultimate fighting method. To be considered an accomplished fighter you have to have skills in striking, take downs, submissions, stamina, but most of all you need heart. Mixed martial arts, or MMA, started back in the United States in 1993, and over 70 year ago in other countries. "The first mixed martial arts organization in the United States was the Ultimate Fighting Champion or UFC. Japan's biggest mixed martial arts organization is Pride FC, which started back in 1997", (Doty 13). These may be the two largest mixed martial arts companies in the world.

Back then and still today mixed martial arts have been the subject of arguable political debate. The people against mixed martial arts have had many arguments against the sport in the early to mid 90's. It even convinced several states to ban the sport. This was because when mixed martial arts first started there was little to no rules.

This was a one-event night tournament, where any fighters that signed up would fight numerous matches in one night, in a single elimination style tournament until one champion was named. Two men entered an octagon arena and did whatever they had to do to knock out, or tap out their opponent. Mixed martial arts fighters could not bite, eye gouge, or fish hook, and fights could only end with a referee's stoppage, a knock out, or submission (Royce 6). Basically it was a street fight without weapons. In 2001 a major factor in the comeback of the sport, and the return of the sport to pay-per-view was the employ of a new set of rules. The unified rules of mixed martial arts combat, as drafted in New Jersey, and later adopted in Nevada 2001 were a welcome change to the sport.

"The new rules featured five weight classes, rounds, time limits, a list of over 31 fouls, and eight possible ways for the fight to end", (Walter, grapple arts. com). The unified rules of mixed martial arts combat have become the standard rules of not only the UFC, but of most major mixed martial arts promotions in the United States, such as king of the cage. MMA has now been adopted by many states, including New Jersey, Nevada, Florida, California and Louisiana. In order to understand why it was necessary for the sport to adopt the unified rules of mixed martial arts combat, it is necessary to question the exact arguments that have been leveled at the sport. The sport has been called 'barbaric' and labeled as 'human cockfighting' (Doty 64). Beginning with Calvin McCard's opposition to the holding of UFC IIX in San Juan, Puerto Rico; politicians began to take notice of the negative aspects of the sport.

Most notable among these was Arizona Senator John McCain. McCain, a devoted and lifelong boxing fan, was shocked when he was shown a tape of an early UFC. He started a letter writing campaign to prevent UFC IIX, but the event went on despite his opposition. McCain's next target was Colorado, the intended site of UFC IX, which also went on despite strong opposition, but with new rules. Following UFC IX, John McCain targeted the cable pay-per-view providers to persuade them to drop the UFC. He encouraged Neil Henry, the pay-per-view provider that was hosting the UFC's events to drop the UFC from his service.

Senator McCain also sat on the FCC commission, which had much say over Neil's business. Neil voiced many of the opinions that Senator McCain and other opponents of the UFC had been voicing up until that point. Neil and Senator McCain believed the sport was too brutal, and that to hit a man when he was down was un-American. Now in 2005 John McCain would have a field day of what is going on in media, music, television, and the internet.

Other opponents of the sport supposed that the sport had serious moral issues, in that it encouraged two-mixed martial artist to enter a cage, or ring and badly harm or injure one another. The claims not in favor of the sport that were based on the health and safety of its participants seem to be commonly based on misunderstanding. First, a sort of civilizing seems to have influenced the opponents of the sport of mixed martial arts. Unlike Japan and Brazil where mixed martial arts have a long history of popular approval, American societies only knowledge with a mainstream combat sport is boxing (Doty 33). Under the marques of Queensbury rules, boxing only permits punches thrown to the head and body, unlike mixed martial arts which allows punches and kicks to all areas of the body with the exception of the groin, neck and back of the head.

But, knees elbow strikes, take downs, throws, and submissions were permitted. Also, in boxing, the participants wear large padded gloves, where in mixed martial arts, the participants wear only lightly padded gloves. On the surface, this would make the sport of mixed martial arts seem a lot more dangerous, but in reality it is actually safer. This is because the heavily padded gloves used in boxing are working to protect the boxer's hands and not their opponents face and body. This allows the boxer to throw more punches to the head of his opponent damaging the brain.

In MMA the gloves are less padded, therefore making the head not a focal point for striking. Thus, being repeatedly beaten in the same area is minimized. This, withe the combination of technique and skill, makes the sport dramatically safer than boxing. John Rallo, professional UFC fighter, and MMA supporter, states, 'After all the goal in boxing is to punch you opponent in the head until he is unconscious. This is not the goal in our sport. There are many other ways to win.

Since 1900 there have been over 1000 documented deaths in boxing. There has been 1 in MMA in 70 years. That was in Russia at an unsanctioned event. Ironically the death was caused by strikes to the head. It is honorable to tap in our sport. If you quit in a boxing match you may not fight again.

Look at Roberto Duran after the 'no mas' match with Ray Leonard. He was looked down upon and never regained his edge after that fight. A KO is not the only means of victory. The average boxer takes several hundred blows to the head in a winning performance. In MMA I have been in fights and not even taken one punch.

If you take down your opponent and finish the fight on the ground you greatly reduce the chances of being KO " ed or even hit at all. Obviously there are injuries. This is a contact sport. But the injuries are no more severe then those suffered by collegiate wrestlers or football players,' (Hester 91).

Ironically, John McCain witnessed one such death in the sport of boxing, the 1995 death of Jimmy Garcia, as he sat ringside. Oddly, McCain remains a fan of boxing, a sport with a marked safety record, and over 1,000 recorded deaths in a little over 100 years (Walter, grapple arts. com), but he continues to be an opponent of the sport of mixed martial arts, which has not had a serious injury in the recorded history of the sport. In similar to many sports that are commonly and widely accepted in American culture, including football, soccer, hockey, boxing and basketball, mixed martial arts is quite safe. Another major argument against the sport of mixed martial arts is that it is immoral, and goes against the morals that are considered part of the American way of life.

Opponents of the sport question the sports ethics, as it requires two opponents to enter a ring or cage with the goal of hurting or injuring one another. Another moral argument against the sport is that striking a downed opponent is un-American (Walter, grapple arts. com). Supporters of the sport strongly disagree with these opinions. One such supporter and UFC referee, John McCarthy emphasizes that the fighters in mixed martial arts do not fight to cause pain on one another; rather they fight for the sake of competition. He states that all of the fighters that he has talked to about this issue say that when they fight, it is all about the sport, and that it is more an issue of dominance, like a game of chess, rather than causing pain on another human being. Mr. McCarthy says that the ethics of mixed martial arts are the same as those of other widely accepted sports, such as football or hockey, where inflicting pain on the competition is merely a part of the sport, not the ends of competing.

John Rallo states his feelings toward the intent of hurting his opponent. ' I feel respect for my opponents. They trained just as hard to beat me as I did to beat them. You can't underestimate anyone in this sport. One mistake and the fight is over. My emotional state is probably nervous...

As for getting into the ring to harm my opponent this is not true. I am getting in the ring to win the competition. Unlike boxing, I can use submissions to defeat my opponent. Since competitors can honorably tap out usually nothing more is injured then pride. If you know them well it does complicate things a bit. But it is a sport.

It is not personal. After the match is over you get up shake each other's hand and continue to be friends,' (Hester 91). At this time, mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the United States (Royce 7). Its fans and fighters can be found all over the country. They represent every race and class of people in the United States.

They are teachers, student, attorneys, truck drivers, accountants, ministers, soldiers, doctors, police officers, and family members. They are as much American as the fans and athletes involved in any other sport that is popularly and culturally accepted by the people of the United States of America. They are not savages, barbarians or criminals, or are they a collection of social deviants and miscreants as people like John McCain would have the voting public believe. They are simply people who enjoy a sport that is misunderstood and as a result, feared and hated. With this stated, MMA should be completely legalized in the United States. Work Cited Doty, Edward.

Life in The Cage. New York, NY: EZboard Inc, 1998. Hester, Todd. 'Wander lei Silva. ' Grappling May 2004 36-40, 91, 92, 97, 98.

Royce, Gracie. 'What it Takes to be a Fighter. ' Grappling. May 2004 6-7. Walter, Donald. Mixed Martial Arts: Ultimate Sport, or Ultimately Illegal?

8 Dec. 2003... 21 Apr. 2005.