While mixed martial arts in the U.S. is profiting from widespread exposure, ignorance of the sport’s nuances continues to plague the British landscape. Not only do critics fail to grasp MMA’s virtues, but an element of those who follow the sport do so only because they revel in the violence.
Bloodlust is an unfortunate but unsurprising by-product of the sport’s fierce nature, and some promoters seem to purposely market their product to appeal to such a crowd. Though MMA and its associated risks should not be sugar-coated in any way to appease detractors, crass and short-sighted presentation of the sport could impair the chances of long-term prosperity for British MMA and its athletes.
TUF 8 veteran and UK native Wesley Murch is fully cognizant of the role fighters have to play in shifting opinion and believes a general lack of awareness of the technicalities involved with the ground game must be addressed if MMA is to rid itself of its unsavory reputation.
“The British have a lager lout attitude,” he admits. “They’re like ‘smash his face in!’I’ve been practicing in someone’s guard before, and as I’m working to technically pass the guard someone’s shouted ‘bite his ear off!’ That’s what we need to get away from, but the only way you can get away from that is to educate people.
“Everyone who’s drunk in a pub really thinks they can cage fight. They think ‘yeah, I’ll get in there and have a go’. People don’t recognize the preparation and training that goes into it,” Murch explains.