Bone-smashing action, brutal finishes and fighters that leave it all in the cage. Mixed Martial Arts has exploded onto the scene to become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. MMA was born with one single, bloody question: Which fighting style is the toughest? To reach the top, a fighter must master various fighting techniques--kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu and more--and blend them together: * Georges St-Pierre steamrolls through his opponents in the UFC, but in school he was mercilessly targeted by bullies, that is, until he learned karate * Most fighters respect their opponents, but they don’t have to like them; some of the greatest rivalries of all time feature bad blood (and lots of real blood on the mat, too)--Chuck Lidell vs. Tito Ortiz, Matt Hughes vs. Georges St-Pierre and Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie * Before going on to have one of the greatest careers in MMA history, Randy Couture won a gold medal at the 1991 Pan American Games in wrestling * In the early days of the UFC there were no weight classes; in one match, a karate master was 400 pounds lighter and nine inches shorter than his sumo wrestler opponent, but the karate master still won.
J. ALEXANDER POULTON is a writer, photographer and genuine sports enthusiast. He's even willing to admit he has ''called in sick'' during the broadcasts of major sports events so that he can get in as much viewing as possible. He has earned his BA in English literature and his graduate diploma in journalism.