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In The Arena Blog

MMA Facts You Probably Did Not Know

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Just three decades ago, few people had ever heard of mixed martial arts, but since the first UFC back in the early 1990s, this sport has definitely gained a massive following. MMA fans know that the sport combines elements of everything from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to boxing to wrestling and Muay Thai, but there are some obscure facts of which fans might not be aware.

In general, statistics show that only about 28% of Americans have graduated from college. Among MMA fighters, more than 80% of UFC have a college degree. This is not only far higher than the national average; it is higher than many other pro sports. Keep in mind that while football players and basketball players attend and graduate from college in high numbers, this is because they were on scholarship and college was similar to minor league training. For MMA athletes, there are few scholarships, and going to college was more of an academic decision than a sports-related one.

Did you ever wonder why UFC fighters battle it out in The Octagon? If not, skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, consider the following ideas. There is definitely a school of thought that a non-circular type of ring provides a better staging area for multiple styles of fighting. In addition, it might also be related to a quirky Chuck Norris film, “The Octagon.” While it certainly wasn’t an Oscar-winner, Norris plays his usual role as a tormented, but skilled martial art fighter, defeating some type of enemy. In the case of this circa 1980 film, he is defeating a crime organization of ninjas which has called itself The Octagon.

Since the dawn of time, little boys have settled disputes with rough and tumble fights. Some boys grow up and still settle disputes in a similar fashion. For instance, the largest amount of the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, LLC, is owned by the Fertitta brothers who decided that if they cannot settle a dispute over the management of the company, they will settle it with a jiu-jitsu contest. By the way, if you aren’t convinced that the Fertitta’s are fight fans, their company is named for an Italian word that means scuffle.

MMA fighters come from a variety of occupations, including dozens of fighters that have served in the Armed Forces, as well as firefighters and police officer. While that’s hardly a surprise, a few fighters have more unique former careers or side careers. For example, Mauricio Rua was a runway model in Brazil before hitting the Octagon, and Georges St-Pierre worked as a garbage collector. Chael Sonnen was a real estate agent at one point, but fighting has certainly worked out better for him, as he was targeted for taking part in a money laundering scheme.

We all know the MMA is a tough sport and injuries are common and often serious, but time and time again, MMA is called a deadly sport or the most dangerous sport. In fact, that just isn’t the case. Since the first sanctioned events, there have been three deaths, and while these are certainly tragic, statistically during the same approximate 20-year period, many other sports are far deadlier. NASCAR, for example, has seen many horrific accidents, and eight drivers have died since 1992.


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