“Seeing those men leaving all behind to have a chance to reach their goals was so intense. That was when I fell in love with this sport”.
These are the words used by almost all MMA fighters when they describe how their dream was born.
Twenty years ago they were pioneers testing themselves in gyms, or in a garage. Now they are athletes of an established, worldwide entity.
MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is considered the most extreme combat sport, as it uses several techniques from other fighting sports and martial arts: boxe, Graeco-Roman wrestling, Judo, Taekwondo, Brasilian JuJitsu, Thai Boxing. Kicks, punches, elbows, throws, articular levers and strangulation techniques are allowed. A fighter can win by points, knock-out or submission. For those not well-versed it’s pure violence, but an expert can see professional athletes, instead, forged by a cast-iron discipline, committed to be the best they can be at their job: fighting. To reach this goal they must be fit, strong, fast, flexible and master fields and disciplines quite different.
The fight in the cage it’s just the final act of a long, tough journey, a metaphor for existence. Life is filled with obstacles, challenges, dangers. A sport like this may help to resist – and to exist. It can teach to hold on during difficult times, to handle victories and defeats with a sane, personal attitude. To find your own opportunity, like the men who arrived in Italy illegally, made the gym their home and MMA their lifestyle.
MMA’s signatures are blood, fury, delirious audiences: perspectives that don’t tell the whole story. Infact, there’s a “before” and an “after” the fight, something made of workouts, tattoos, sweat. Trains and beers shared together. Women and families waiting. And of course a great sense of drama in the gestures, scenic smoke, lights.
And when the ring is fully lit, the dream comes true.