MMA and UFC News

MMA Could Be One Disaster Away From Getting Tapped Out For Good

It has been a long 17 years since the Gracie family decide to put on the most successful infomercial the world has ever seen. For many, the early UFCs were inspiration for new endeavors, business ventures, and opportunities. This is especially true for collegiate wrestlers that did not have a league to go to after their collegiate career was over. It started out as a small show and was billed as a “blood sport.” Senator and later Presidential candidate John McCain called it “human cockfighting.” In some aspects, he may have even been correct. After that first UFC hit Colorado like a brick in the face, cages and bar room MMA events popped up all over the country. It took a lot of work and visionaries like Dana White and the Fertita brothers to bring the sport to where it is today.

The first event that I myself competed in was promoted by a very well known MMA fighter who shall remain nameless. It was an awesome evening for me as I was young, confident, and ready to hop in the cage and test my skills. As incredible an evening as it was for me, I realize now just how shady the entire situation and evening was. There was no sanctioning body, no one checking the hand taping jobs, no one inspecting the gloves that were being used, and most importantly, no medical staff on hand. Back then I did not give a second thought about any of these things because I was young and eager. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that what I was doing was really stupid. As stupid as it may have been, I was one of the many that would show up at a hotel, pizza place, or bar, hop on a scale and go to war. Dumb as it was, people like myself helped pave the way for where the sport was heading. Many of us had dreams of how big this thing called MMA could get, but were never really sure if it would reach that point. Think back to the first UFC event that you watched. Did you ever think that it would be where it is today?

MMA today is a huge global enterprise. Ticket sales are at an all time high and pay-per-view numbers are through the roof. There are more MMA websites than are men drooling over Arianny Celeste.  ESPN has a show devoted to MMA and Roger Huerta has even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated.  MMA apparel and gear is a whole new frontier. It has afforded many people new careers and brought a whole new market to the global economy. It seems as though everyone who can make a dime off of the sport is doing so. The question remains, is this a good thing? Is the growth and explosion just setting the sport up for failure and a trip back to the obscure? It is dangerous territory that we are now in and we as consumers, fans, competitors and people on the inside should tread very carefully before we become the reason behind a downfall.

The sport of MMA and its community of supporters have come a long way in the past two decades but there is still a lot of work to be done. We have not reached our destination, we have actually only begun to fill up the tank to begin the journey. In some states the sport is still illegal. In others it is legal but they have no governing body. Each state that has legalized the sport and has a governing body is allowed to make their own rules and guidelines. This has led to uncertainty and confusion. I will be the first to step up and say that things have to change! Amateur fighters are not required to submit to blood testing. This is dangerous and should be illegal in itself. The risk of being cut by an elbow, a knee, or a glancing blow is way too high to not test every competitor for communicable diseases. There needs to be a nationwide or even worldwide governing body that can institute a standard set of rules and guidelines and enforce them! There should be a group to say who can host and promote MMA events. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry that thinks he can make a buck in this industry are putting up cages and promoting events at the fighters’ expense. This is not a game, there are people’s lives at stake and it is time we started respecting that fact.

The year is 2010 here in Louisville, KY. Things are not a lot different than they were when I first competed in my first MMA event. There is now a governing body (The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority) and pro fighters must adhere to blood testing regulations, there is more organization and that is where the improvements stop for the most part. Amateur fighters still do not have to submit to blood testing, no one checks the tape jobs, no one inspects gloves and you don’t have to be licensed to work as a cut man. You don’t even have to be licensed to be a referee. Promoters put fighters in the cage and risk their lives and limbs with referees who in some cases have no experience and then give the fighters a medal that looks like it came out of a gumball machine. There have to be proving grounds for amateur fighters and I realize this but there needs to be new parameters set. There should be an established feeder system set up to keep these shady promoters from preying on untrained fighters. At some point we as fans and competitors of this sport must realize that we are in the infancy stages of this sport and need to make these changes now before everything implodes around us. This is not bungee jumping. This is not something you do for fun on vacation. This is a serious, legitimate sport with serious, legitimate athletes and we need to start treating it that way.

The sport has come a long way and the sky is the limit as long as WE don’t put a roof on it. Fighters need to recognize that they have the power. Without shady promoters, there will still be fights but without fighters there will be no shady promoters. All of the hard work and dedication that has been put into this sport could be easily undone. We are one tragedy and disaster away from being relegated to underground shows in bars, pizza places, and back alleys like the old days. Make the changes while we have a chance and before it is too late. There is a saying that goes, “Crisis precipitates changes.” Don’t let a death, debilitating injury, or spread of disease be the downfall of our beloved sport. If you are a fan, congressman, promoter, or fighter use some common sense and wake up before MMA gets tapped out for good.

-Chris Bowman

About the author:

Chris “The Buzz-Saw”Bowman is a mixed martial arts competitor, school owner, and judge with over 15 years of combative experience.

He owns and operates Louisville Elite Combat in Louisville, KY.  He holds a Yudansha rank in the Japanese art of Bushi Jutsu Ryu and can be contacted at:



  1. Kristyn

    February 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I wish more people would realize that MMA is not some brutal, human cockfight, but an actual SPORT that takes actual TALENT. The author makes some good points when he talks about the necessity of more regulations for small MMA promotions. I hope some of these small-town promoters take better precautions so that we can enjoy MMA for a long time…instead of worrying that one fight might end it all!

  2. grant

    February 25, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Another great article by Mr. Bowman. I got o a lot of smaller MMA shows and see some of the bad stuff that goes on. Guys with little or no training that hav no busines being in the cage that hop in and try You have to amire the heart but hope someone doesn’t get hurt. I love how he said that this is not bungee jumping. that was awesome. I am too old to compete myself but love watching and hope that disaster don’t come very soon. Great article and keep up the good fight.

  3. blake

    February 25, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    there should be trained people in the ring to stop a fight or know when to stop a fight. On top of that like chris had said its about mma to kind of test ur skills in a way. pro or amatuer fight should have to have test just as well.

  4. C. Hicks

    February 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Mr. Bowman is very accurate with hid discription on the state of affairs in smaller MMA promotions. It should not take a infection or serious incident to open people’s eyes…taking the necessary steps now makes sense to me (or ANYONE with an average IQ!) I am also disturbed with the number of ‘independent’ fighters who are allowed to compete. I feel that allowing people who train once a week in a garage or backyard will not only stain the integrity of the sport, but open the possibility of serious injuries…especially in amature bouts. Hopefully, enough people who care will prevent this catastrophe from occuring. Excellent article, Mr. Bowman.

  5. Cory

    February 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    It was a great article. Llove the picture of Art Jimmerson!!!!!!

  6. josh dominguez

    March 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    i think this was something that needs to be said. people do treat this sport like a fad not knowing the risk that can result. Something like blood testing should absolutly be a standerd. There are to many blood diseases out there and that is not what i want to have to think about when im in a fight. however as much as i would advise people to get some real training before steping in the cage, i think thats up to them, in time they will learn.. trust.

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