Monday, July 20, 2009

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Beijing - The Art of War

Back in the states, once a year or so, I'd meet up with some friends and watch a fight that someone bought on pay per view. It was almost always boxing and usually a well-hyped, big-deal match. I can't say that I ever counted myself among the ranks of Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts.

To be honest, until the other day, I thought the Ultimate Fighting League went the way of the XFL, Chumbawumba and Pogs. I've been corrected. And I couldn't have been corrected in a more awesome way.

If you remember, a few weeks ago I made a quick run to Mongolia. I was supposed to make this trip with a guy I connected with on a Beijing Expat site. At the last minute he was unable to go, but we kept in touch and he hooked me up with tickets to an MMA show in Beijing called The Art of War.

Holy Crap this stuff is the real deal and pretty damned impressive too. Its called mixed martial arts for a reason. The fighters specialized in all sorts of fighting methods and the rules are tailored to avoid "point scoring" and determine a winner based on submission, unconsciousness or medical disqualification.

This was a straight up Vegas style fight - complete with multiple jumbotrons, smoke machines, american referees, round card girls and fighters from all over the world.

The fights had two rounds, the first was ten minutes, the second was five. Only two matches even made it into the second round. There was one impact knockout (within the first 30 seconds of a fight), two head lock knockouts, a whole bunch of leg, arm and neck lock submission wins, one tie and one medical disqualification (huge gash, lots of blood).

I really didn't expect to like the fights as much as I did. They were really pretty bad ass. Most of the Chinese fighters got destroyed pretty quickly - it was funny listening to the Chinese cheer at what they thought was a good move by their countryman, but was actually the beginning of the end.

The foreign fighters almost always won, with the Thais and Mongolians doing particularly well. My favorite fighters was a short squat Mongolian man that came out wearing armor and leapt around the ring for a few minutes before the fight started. He looked like a cab driver and then he completely rocked his competitor.

mongolian ultimate fighting mma
I think I'll check it out next time it comes to town.