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MMA fighting: Inside look at the brutal sport's rising popularity and danger

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   Petak, 15 Studeni 2013 00:00

Still in its infancy, MMA already has entrenched itself in popular culture. It is a success on pay-per-view and cable, and it has started to gain a foothold on network TV.
But hidden from the excitement of fight night is a jarring world few outsiders see. The training, preparation and sparring required before even stepping into the chain-link-enclosed cage is unlike anything in sports, including boxing.
Regardless, tens of thousands of men and women are flocking to gyms that are sprouting up like yogurt shops and nail salons in strip malls across the country. Inside, punches, kicks and knees are exchanged in training sessions that can turn more violent than blood-soaked fight nights. Some fighters spar three and four days a week and accept punishment beyond all conventional limits.
Daring fighters allow training partners to punch them in the face to test their chins. Smaller fighters take beatings from larger men to measure themselves. And injuries are routinely ignored or hidden.

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