Combat Sports: An Encyclopedia of Wrestling, Fighting, and Mixed Martial Arts

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Fistic combat represents the greatest human drama in all of sport. Roman gladiators thrilled citizens and emperors alike when they entered the octagon to face an intense, life-threatening experience. Boxing, the sport of kings, also has its roots in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. Banned in 500 A.D. by the Emperor Theodoric, it resurfaced twelve centuries later in England. John Milton praised it as a noble art for building character in young men, and sports writer A.J. Leibling dubbed it the Sweet Science. Many of its major protagonists - men such as Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali - have become transcendent, near-mythic heroes. But boxing is not the only combat sport, and mixed martial arts, in all their ferocious beauty, represent the fastest growing sports genre in the world. Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) has joined boxing in paying seven figures to some of its champions, and draws millions in its pay-per-view events. This book details leading figures in boxing, sumo wrestling, kickboxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, and mixed martial arts (including organizations such as Ultimate Fighting, PRIDE, K-1, Total Combat, and SportFighting). Over 150 entries cover champions, contenders, and other famous combatants from all over the world, as well as legendary promoters, managers, trainers, and events. Also included in this encyclopedia are sidebars on controversies, highlights, brief bios, and other noteworthy events, along with a general timeline.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…fans of these sports will appreciate the complementary biographical information that Hudson provides. His guide will serve interested audiences from high school to adult."


Lawrence Looks at Books

"A Tennessee-based writer and teacher on law and sports, Hudson focuses on boxing and mixed martial arts, the two most popular and widely practiced combat sports today, but also provides information on kickboxing, savate, sambo, sumo wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling. He does not include professional wrestling, because it is not a competitive

sport. Most of the articles focus on people—boxers, mixed martial artists, promoters, and writers—but others describe organizations, great fights, and submission holds. In each case he provides brief information that could settle an argument or clarify a reference, and cites sources for readers who'd like more information."


Reference & Research Book News

"To the book's credit, each individual's professional record and list of championships, if any, are included—certainly a plus as far as statistic-crazed fans are concerned."


Library Journal

"Although there are many excellent works on boxing and wrestling, as well as some on the history and techniques of fighting and mixed martial arts, Combat Sports is the first and only mainstream reference work to encompass all of these sports. . . . The author brings considerable knowledge to this project, having served as a licensed boxing judge, a contributing writer at, and the author and coauthor of 20 books on legal and sports-related topics, including boxing. Considering the level of interest in these sports and the lack of professional reference material available at this time, Combat Sports would make a good addition to any reference collection serving the public or young adults."






"As a reference book, I believe this source would be most commonly used to find bibliographical information on individual fighters. For the aficionado of combat sports, it would no doubt make great reading from cover-to-cover. For libraries, it is recommended for reference collections that serve high school level and above, and general readers."


Reference Reviews

"Combat Sports is an excellent resource that provides a novice to the topic a starting point for learning. The introduction gives a brief account of the topic; the time line at the end of the book highlights several key events in the combat sports world. . . . this book is an excellent addition to high school and public libraries."



VOYA - Nancy Pierce
This encyclopedia provides extensive alphabetical entries on people, organizations, events, and other topics related to combat sports. A full list of entries is provided at the beginning of the book, and a guide to related topics (e.g., announcers, Cuban boxers, trainers, wrestlers) immediately follows. Each entry provides brief but excellent information. For example, the entry for Evander Holyfield includes his birth date, a summary of his life in sport, his professional record, championships, and suggestions for further reading. Within the summary, when a term is bold, it indicates that it is a separate entry in the encyclopedia. This feature of cross-referencing helps users see how athletes/events are interconnected and allows for quick reference. Combat Sports is an excellent resource that provides a novice to the topic a starting point for learning. The introduction gives a brief account of the topic; the time line at the end of the book highlights several key events in the combat sports world. A possible improvement would be expanding, and more clearly stating, some of the information provided in these sections. For example, identifying all of the combat sports at the beginning of the book would be helpful, as the subtitle doesn't cover them all. Also, a glossary describing each sport, when it emerged, its influences, and perhaps key players in each sport would help clarify important facts to readers, as this information is difficult to find in the dense introduction. Still, this book is an excellent addition to high school and public libraries. Reviewer: Nancy Pierce
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313343834
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/2009
  • Pages: 379
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID L. HUDSON, JR. is the author or co-author of 20 books many on law and sports. His works include The Rehnquist Court: Understanding Its Impact and Legacy (Praeger, 2006), The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book (2007), Women in Golf: The Players, the History, and the Future of the Sport (Praeger, 2007), and Boxings Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Champs, Chumps and Punch Drunk Palookas (2003). He serves as First Amendment Scholar for the First Amendment Center located on the Vanderbilt University campus, and teaches adjunct classes at Middle Tennessee State University, Nashville School of Law, and Vanderbilt Law School.

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