With face-smashing action, fistfuls of drama, and ladies walking around in hot pants, Mixed Martial Arts is putting a serious hurt on time we'd otherwise devote to paying attention to our loved ones. Here are 21 reasons we love it so. Don't try this at home! (Unless your home is an eight-sided cage.)
1. Anything Can Happen
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“There are so many ways to win and lose in MMA…knockouts, submissions, left hands, right hands, but also elbows and knees.There’s an upset on almost every card. On paper you can have a guy who looks like he has the tools to win, but one zig when you should have zagged and the fight is over. That’s the way the sport is and why it gets people so excited.”—Matt Serra, former UFC welterweight champ who TKO’d Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69 for the biggest upset in MMA history.
2. Ring Girls!
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Can’t take the gore? Then check out the eye candy outside the cage.
Pacific X-treme Combat
BAMMA, Cage Warriors
3. This Guy Can Waste You With One Arm
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Missing the bottom half of his left arm never stopped Nick Newell from kicking ass. The 25-year-old Connecticut native was born with a congenital amputation but excelled at wrestling in high school and college. Now an MMA pro, “Notorious” Nick has amassed an undefeated record (five submissions and one KO). For every limb this guy is missing, he breaks off two of his opponent’s.
4. Every Fight Is Like a New Saw Sequel
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5. We Can Legally Beat Up Our Intern
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We sent our fearless intern Ramon Diaz (in white) to the Renzo Gracie Academy to spar with MMA instructor Joe Sampieri. The assessment? “He was a bit nervous, but not gun-shy,” Sampieri says. “He wasn’t afraid to get hit, but he’s got a lot of holes in his fundamentals, starting with his footwork. He’s got the perfect MMA body, but he lacks any kind of normal fitness level.”
6. Rising Stars
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Gladiators like Jon “Bones” Jones, Junior Dos Santos, and Tony Ferguson are part of a new generation of sports stars. As MMA moves out of obscurity, fighters are now as popular as athletes from traditional sports. Time to replace your Mark Sanchez poster!
7. Diehard Fans
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Andy Dick, Anthony Bourdain, David Spade, Snoop Dogg, and Screech all cheer at the sight of a well-executed gogoplata. Now all we need is a celebrity matchup between “Weird” Al Yankovic and Carrot Top.
8. Hotties Dig It
According to the UFC, 37 percent of its viewers are female! Jessica Biel, Paris Hilton, Cindy Crawford, and Mandy Moore are all fans, so there’s no excuse for your next MMA viewing party to be lady-less (unless you look like us).
9. Being a Pussy Is Punishable
Seriously, the official rule book prohibits “timidity, including avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking injury.”
10. Gruesome Moves
Rear naked choke: Cuts off blood to the carotid arteries.
Bicep slicer: Bony limbs forced into the opponent’s bicep.
Crucifix neck crank: Deeply distresses the cervical spine.
11. It’s Impossible to Make MMA Any More Badass…Unless Jimmy Kimmel Live!’s Cousin Sal Gets His Way
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The challengers may not enter the ring until they’re declared legally intoxicated. It’s just like a real bar fight, except these thugs actually know what they’re doing. No question the competitors will get down to business a lot faster if there’s a chance they’ll be vomited on as the fight wears on.
Spectators are allowed to throw hamburger meat at competitors who are locked in the same hold for 30 seconds or more. It’s a good way to inspire more action in the cage while promoting fan participation.
Titty twisters and wet willies will not only be legal—they’ll be mandatory. One of each is required per round, and if the quota is not met Dana White comes out to deliver a giant double wedgie to both competitors.
All draws are settled with a Fear Factor–type challenge. By letting MMA commentator Joe Rogan return to what he knows best, you’re guaranteed the best overtime in sports as the exhausted competitors are forced to ingest a bowl of buffalo testicles, all while lying in a body bag covered in African cave-dwelling spiders.
Replace tapping out with crapping out. If a submitting competitor wants the hold released, he or she hereinafter will be forced to defecate in the cage. No controversial referee stoppages here. The proof is in the anal pudding. (See Sal on Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Academy Awards.)
12. The Ultimate Fighter Goes Live!
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The groundbreaking reality show has a new live-fight format. Some of our favorite moments from past seasons…
Dana White’s “Do you want to be a fucking fighter?” speech (TUF 1 ) The fighters didn’t know they’d have to get in the cage, and there was a revolt. Dana explained the situation thusly: “It’s not all about banging broads and signing autographs!”
Ken Shamrock calls Tito Ortiz a Bitch Monkey (TUF 3 ) Season 3 was the first with coaches who despised each other from the start.
John Dodson knocks Johnny Bedford clear across three time zones (TUF 14) When Bedford got up after the KO and was asked where he was, he said, “Ohio.” The fight was in Vegas.
Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on FX.
13. Cat Fights!
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More and more women are taking part in the head busting, including Amanda Lucas, daughter of Star Wars creator George Lucas.
What attracted you to MMA?
I was kind of wimpy growing up and got picked on a lot. I get a lot of self-confidence knowing I can do something a lot of people don’t want to do.
Do you train against men?
I like to mix with boys because I can go all out. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to hit girls as hard.
Is Dad a fan?
I don’t think he wants to see his daughter get hit in the face, but he loves to watch all the videos of my fights after he knows the outcome and that I’m OK. I think he said he’d rather I owned a flower shop.
14. MMA Is Always On
Wherever you go, two fighters are always beating the shit out of each other near you…
February 25: UFC 144, Tokyo
Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar faces Benson Henderson.
March 2: Bellator 60, Hammond, Indiana
Joe “Baddest Man on the Planet” Warren battles Pat Curran for the Bellator featherweight world title.
15. Great Rivalries
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There’s been Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva and Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir. Now you can see the drama unfold outside of the cage between TUF 15’s bantamweight coaches, Urijah Faber and (current champ) Dominick Cruz. “There was bad blood even before I defeated
him at the World Extreme Cagefighting Championship in 2007, just because he was being an immature punk,” says Faber. “Over the years I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth for the guy, so in terms of my team versus his team, it’s personal, and it’s gonna culminate in a great fight.” Can’t we all just get along?
16. These Fighters Are Also Tweeters
On Twitter, MMA-ists have taken their fights to cyberspace. When Strikeforce ladies’ champ Cris Cyborg posted a doctored photo of Gina Carano looking battered, fighter Ronda Rousey tweeted: “@criscyborg, you don’t just have a dick: you are a dick for posting that pic, you cheater.”
17. You Can See Porn Stars Shame-Free!
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And not just War Machine, who’s returning to the cage after a brief stint in skin flicks. You can catch adult actress Dylan Ryder supporting her sisters, the Lybarger twins, and if you hurry you may catch a glimpse of Jenna Jameson cheering on hubby Tito Ortiz, who’s announced he’ll be stepping into the Octagon for the last time this year.
18. Even an Average Joe Can Do It
Not all MMA athletes are created in top-secret laboratories. Some, like John Cholish, hold down normal jobs. When he’s not grounding and pounding, Cholish, a lightweight from Hackettstown, New Jersey, works in the commodities market. “I’m very good with time management,” says Cholish of his lifestyle. “That’s something I learned while wrestling at Cornell. You have to use your time right if you’re going to be successful at this.”
19. It Can Save Your Life
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On February 12, 2011 MMA buff Joe Lozito became a hero when he was able to take down murderer Maksim Gelman on a New York City subway car. The longtime fan, who’s been tuning in since UFC 1, teaches you how to defend yourself against a knife-wielding maniac.
“The single leg takedown actually saved my life. When Gelman cocked his right arm back to stab me, I went for his leg with this wrestling move. You grab one of your opponent’s legs at the thigh and lunge forward, similar to a football tackle. If you’re able to get him to the ground and are on top of him, you definitely have the advantage.”
20. Dana White Plans to Conquer the World
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MMA diaspora: “We’re in 175 different countries in 22 different languages in over half a billion homes worldwide. When we get into China and India, the whole world will be watching.”
Fox deal: “One of the differences between us and boxing is that boxing got greedy years ago and took all the big fights off free TV. We’ve been on free TV for six years. Now we’re going on network television. You’re going to get four pay-per-view–caliber fights a year on Fox for free.”
MMA in New York State: “My prediction is that we’ll get New York done this year. I don’t know if we’ll fight in New York, but we’ll get it done and get sanctioned in 2012.”
21. Awesome Nicknames (use magazine)
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Mark "Meat Missile" Miller
Jeff "the Snowman" Monson
Krzysztof "the Polish Experiment" Soszynski
Travis "the Praying Mantis" Doerge
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