My relationship with martial arts began through being sent to study karate by my father as a way of getting me out of the house on a Saturday. Training for around two years, I managed to attain 8th Kyu (yellow belt) before moving schools and falling away from the practise. The interest hung around through a love for martial arts movies and professional wrestling. I was aware of the UFC and MMA but sadly not having access to a decent internet connection or satellite TV, combined with being more concentrated on music in my twenties my interest remained a distant one.
All that changed a few years ago when a combination of being between bands combined with getting myself tooled up for the digital age and a DVD copy of the Ultimate Fighter: Griffin vs. Rampage was handed to me. MMA immediately filled a hole which had been left by my increasing apathy for the professional wrestling product of the day and became my entertainment sport of choice.
Frankly, I fell head over heels for the sport, loving the variety, unpredictability and dichotomy between discipline & skill and the primal joy of watching people try to kick each other in the head. A carry over from my days of pro wrestling fandom was an immediate fascination for grappling, especially the submission game (I had always been a wrestling fan that appreciated a varied move-set and a wrestler who understood selling and ring psychology, such as not being able to throw suplexes with an arm that had been in a submission hold seconds before…) and this combined with a desire to get back in shape and the almost spiritual way it’s practitioners talk about it convinced me to try my hand at brazilian jiujitsu, taking my first class at the Scottish Hit Squad in Coatbridge.
I’ve always been a writer, being a regular contributor to 411mania.com and audiotavern.com for many years, usually discussing music. When MMA overtook my life, it seemed the simplest thing to transfer my forum rantings to a more disciplined format and in accord with Ross, we set Head Down Hands Up as an MMA fan/news site.
Our work there led to an offer to join the crew of Full Mount MMA and a year’s tenure there led me to understand a whole lot more about the MMA industry.
I’m a passionate fan of MMA, and would love the sport to become fully mainstream and accepted, allowing fighters better career prospects and promoting a healthy lifestyle to a wider audience. It has always been my aim to work towards this by promoting a better understanding of the Unified Rules of MMA, and being vocal in my support of Women’s MMA, wider drug testing, professional oversight and governance, promotions who operate credible booking practises and generally hammering home the message that MMA is a positive discipline and not (as I so often here) ‘no rules boxing…’
Given my sometimes direct and passionate nature, this can express itself as overt criticisms of fans who boo when the fight hits the mat, who refuse to understand the rules or scoring criteria, who are only interested in finishes or who act in a manner which only increases MMA’s negative stereotype in the view of the wider community. I’m also prone to criticise promotions who book their shows like MMA is a pro wrestling show or make any other decision I feel is harmful to the sport at large or is fundamentally short sighted.
I’m not in this for free press tickets or to get a follow from Dana White on Twitter – I’m doing this because I believe in the development of this sport and the positive impact it can have on people’s lives. If I happen to offend you when making that case, then you are exactly the sort of person who needs to be offended.
If you’re with me, the let’s do this…