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Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting

Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting

4.6 5
by Jonathan Snowden

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?Since the beginning of time, men have engaged in hand-to-hand combat. In Ancient Greece, they called it Pankration, a no-holds-barred battle. Over time, one complete combat system was replaced by a variety of limited ones like karate, boxing, and wrestling. In the modern age this created an eternal question: who was tougher? Could a boxer beat a wrestler?


?Since the beginning of time, men have engaged in hand-to-hand combat. In Ancient Greece, they called it Pankration, a no-holds-barred battle. Over time, one complete combat system was replaced by a variety of limited ones like karate, boxing, and wrestling. In the modern age this created an eternal question: who was tougher? Could a boxer beat a wrestler? Could a kung fu artist dispose of a jiu jitsu man? The Ultimate Fighting Championship answered those questions emphatically in 1993 — and Mixed Martial Arts was born. Early stars like Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie propelled this new sport into the North American public’s consciousness while pro wrestlers Nobuhiko Takada and Masakatsu Funaki led a parallel evolution in Japan, where cultural forces led to fighters becoming mainstream celebrities. With no television contract and little publicity budget to speak of, the UFC was forced to adopt an aggressive marketing scheme to get public attention. The potential for carnage and blood was played up and a predictable media outcry soon followed. Politicians, led by Arizona Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain, were able to ban the sport in most states and even managed to suspend pay-per-view broadcasts. While the popularity of MMA was at an all-time-high in Japan, MMA failed to thrive in America until Spike TV finally took a chance on the controversial sport and The Ultimate Fighter thrust mixed martial arts back into the mainstream, creating new mega-stars like Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, and breathing new life into old favourites. For the first time, Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting arms you with all the history and information you need to know to understand the contemporary world of Mixed Martial Arts, where the backroom deal-making is as fierce as the fighting.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The best book on the real history of MMA that I've seen. . . . This book really is so great I couldn't put it down . . . it's a thorough history dating back to the turn of the 20th century, covering the heydays in Brazil, Japan, and major UFC opposition groups over the past 15 years in North America."  —Wrestling Observer

"If the history of MMA was taught as a college course, Total MMA would be the official textbook used for the class."  —Five Ounces of Pain

"A definitive history of the sport, and it tackles just about every major figure and event in the sport's history."  —CBSSports.com

"I highly recommend it for yourself or for the MMA fan in your life."  —Inside Fights

"[Total MMA] is amazingly detailed with hundreds of footnotes as Snowden focuses on the expansion of MMA from its early beginnings to late 2008. Snowden obviously loves the business but doesn't shy away from exposing its darker sides and presenting both sides of arguments."  —411Mania.com

"By far the most definitive book on mixed martial arts I've ever read . . . I can't recommend this book more highly."  —The Angry Marks

"A go-to resource for the figures big and small in the history of MMA . . . It is hard to imagine any book in the future matching the detail and definition provided here . . . make it the cornerstone of your MMA library."  —mmapayout.com

"I just tore through . . . Jonathan Snowden's excellent history of MMA. . . . If you're looking for a one volume history of Mixed Martial Arts, it would be hard to do better than this."  —Bloody Elbow

OK Judo Player
The standard against which any and all future such works will be measured. The bar has been set high.
Inside Fights
I highly recommend it for yourself or for the MMA fan in your life.
Five Ounces of Pain
If the history of MMA was taught as a college course, Total MMA would be the official textbook used for the class.
A definitive history of the sport, and it tackles just about every major figure and event in the sport's history.
Scientific Wrestling
I have been thoroughly impressed with the scholarship. Snowden really got the history of MMA right. Highly recommended.
Bloody Elbow
I just tore through . . . Jonathan Snowden's excellent history of MMA. . . . If you're looking for a one volume history of Mixed Martial Arts it would be hard to do better than this.

Product Details

ECW Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Three days after Christmas 2007, thousands of fans were at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, to see the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top star, “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell, square off with the fearsome “Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva. The crowd was loud and boisterous as the competitors stripped down and got on a scale. That’s right. These fans weren’t there for the fight; they were there for the weigh–ins. It was a clear signal of just how far the sport had come.

Just ten years earlier, the UFC was lucky to draw a few thousand fans to backwater locations like Alabama and Mississippi. To make matters worse, it was banned from pay–per–view television nationwide. Even after the mega–rich Fertitta brothers bought the company in 2001, the UFC had come close to going under. A fortuitous cable television show called The Ultimate Fighter had given the promotion a new lease on life.

Now the fledgling sport of MMA was being hailed as the next big thing. Almost every news medium that mattered covered the story of the sport’s rise like a phoenix from extinction with various degrees of accuracy. The most important point was clear. MMA was hot and UFC 79 was proof positive. Not only did the UFC sell out the arena and draw a gate of almost $5 million, they sold more than a thousand additional tickets to see the fight on closed–circuit television.

“I can’t tell you the last time I was this excited for a fight,” UFC President Dana White said. It was a fight he had traveled around the globe to set up in 2003, entering Liddell in the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, only to be bitterly disappointed when “The Iceman” fell to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson before getting a shot at Silva. Wanderlei had demolished Jackson in the finals, rankling White because it showed hard–core fans that the Japanese promotion, and not the UFC, had the toughest fighters in the world. White had been obsessed with putting the fight together ever since, even promoting it on UFC broadcasts before it had been signed.

Pride had been reluctant to allow Silva to appear in the UFC’s famous Octagon. White settled that issue by buying the Japanese group. Now he could finally book his personal dream match. It didn’t matter to fans or White that both fighters were coming off losses. This was more than just Liddell versus Silva. This was UFC versus Pride personified. “Silva was definitely the face of that organization [Pride] and one of the most exciting fighters in the world,” he said. “He and Chuck have the exact same fighting style. Both are aggressive knockout artists, both come forward, and both try to finish fights with knockouts. I’ve been trying to put this fight together for six years. Finally, here we are. I can’t tell you how much this fight means to me. Seriously, I’m shaking right now.”

White may have been shaking, but Liddell wasn’t fazed in the least. At the weigh–in, Liddell had made Silva wait for the customary stare–down while he slowly put his clothes back on. The sponsors’ logos so garishly displayed on that clothing, after all, helped pay his bills and would want to be in the money shot, sure to be broadcast nationwide on ESPN. The fiery Brazilian Silva didn’t appreciate the delay (or Liddell’s press conference promise to knock him out). He pulled his shirt off, and as the two stared into each other’s eyes, he faked a head butt. Liddell didn’t flinch, calmly taking a step back and flipping Silva the bird. “The Axe Murderer” lost control and went after Liddell. It looked like a professional wrestling pantomime, but it was completely real. In a moment, it demonstrated the UFC’s appeal to the young male market. MMA combined the flash and bombast of professional wrestling with the gravitas and excitement of a real sporting event. In the WWE, that kind of tomfoolery would have been in the script. In the UFC, it just added intensity to what was already a much anticipated fight.

“He got stupid at the weigh–in and any time someone does that, it just fires Chuck up even more,” Liddell’s trainer John Hackleman said. “As soon as he did that, we went in the back and I was ten times more confident than I had been. You do that to Chuck, you’re going to fire him up a lot more.”

The fight was everything the hype had promised. It was years in the making, and fans got exactly what they expected: two powerful strikers exchanging punch after punch. After a slow start, the two began throwing bombs. For once, it was Liddell with the straighter punches, using his reach to land blows when the Brazilian’s looping punches were coming up short. “Two warriors who love to bang and knock people out went toe–to–toe and showed tons of heart,” White said. “It was one of the best fights I’ve ever seen.”

Although Silva landed plenty of counter shots when Liddell uncharacteristically came forward, Liddell punished him with precision punching. Silva was in trouble in every round, back to the cage and swinging wildly just to get some room to breathe. Liddell was known for his knockout power, but Silva took punches flush on the chin and survived where others might have fallen.

“He did a great job to keep fighting. He didn’t want to give up,” Liddell said. “There were a couple of times he could have covered up in the corner and the ref probably would have stopped it. But he came out slugging. It was a fun fight.”

Liddell’s unanimous–decision win capped off an amazing year for the UFC. The company had turned the corner. Once banned from pay–per–view, this show would bring in more than 600,000 households paying $39.95 for the pleasure of watching Liddell get back on track. The sport was a regular feature on local and cable news, and made the cover of Sports Illustrated, the ultimate sign of mainstream sports acceptance. It had come a long way since a skinny young Brazilian, too frail to actually participate, watched a Japanese judo master teach his brothers the basics of ground fighting.

Meet the Author

Jonathan Snowden is a former lawyer, radio DJ, and television producer. He has worked for the U.S. Army and the White House Communications Agency, is trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the Army Combatives Program, and currently works for the Department of Defense. He lives in Vienna, Virginia.

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Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
SurDragon More than 1 year ago
Being a mixed martial arts fighter and life longer martial arts enthusiast I was excited to finally find a book that showcased an unbiased history of the sport I love. The author gives you interesting and little known information on everything MMA from the propaganda machine of the Gracie family to the Mobster origins of ZUFFA. I couldn't put it down. It's a must read for any diehard MMA fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most informative and detailed information on the true history of MMA that I have ever seen. I could not put it down. A completely unbiased look at the whole story of MMA from the very beginning. I thought I knew a lot about the history of MMA/UFC until I read this book. It put my knowledge to shame. Highly recommended reading for the avid MMA fan or anyone interested in the sports development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I, like many have a biased againsted fighters. They are violent and aggressive meatheads, right? I began to read this book out of curiosity and within the first chapter I was hooked. There is a shady history behind MMA, the current following has made it huge. Snownden describes each fight and each fighter to the point where I think that there is a boxing ring in front of me. I soon discovered each professionally trained fighter had alot more brains and passion then I ever expected. The respect that fighters have for themselves, their opponents and the art of fighting is emmense. I never really thought of fighting as anything but a spectator sport, but now I know that there is much, much more behind it. Since completing Total MMA, I have taken boxing classes and I have a whole lot more respect for the trainers and the fighters because it is a lot of hard work. I would recommend this book to all those who know nothing about MMA, or fighting in general, because chances are this will change viewpoints.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I. The best thing Mauricio "Shogun" Rua has going for him in his first fight back after a long injury layoff? Practice. He already found out the hard way what happens when you try to push it too far, too fast after surgery. He barely had enough gas in the tank to put away an aged Mark Coleman, who showed up to the fight with his own tank already on E. If Rua makes the same mistake again, and against a much better fighter in Jones, he deserves to wake up without the title on Sunday morning. II. Let's hope Urijah Faber is taking Eddie Wineland seriously, because oddsmakers sure aren't. At the time of this writing, Faber is as high as a 5-1 favorite against a guy who's won four straight, the last of which was about as brutal a slam KO as you'll ever see. I agree Faber is more well-rounded, but if he goes into this expecting an easy night - or, perhaps more likely, looking past Wineland all the way to Dominick Cruz - he's just asking for an upset. III. It's win or go home for Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. Or at least it ought to be. In a recent interview Filipovic reportedly said that if he can't beat Brendan Schaub at UFC 128, "it would not be fair to continue." Regardless of whether he means fair to the fans, his legacy, or his body, he's right. Filipovic is 36 years old and his stay in the UFC has been unremarkable, to say the least. His last truly significant, unqualified win was over Josh Barnett in the Pride Grand Prix back in 2006. Since then he's scraped by with wins in the easy fights and losses in most of the tough ones (the Pat Barry fight being the lone exception). If Schaub hands him his second straight loss - and that seems very likely - the smart thing would be to call it quits. Then again, few pro fighters possess the kind of wisdom that allows them to walk away when it's time. IV. Mike Pyle beats one of the UFC's undefeated up-and-comers at UFC 120, and his reward is a Facebook prelim fight with Ricardo Almeida? I guess a Facebook stream is better than no stream at all, but still. One hates to think what would have happened if he'd lost the fight with John Hathaway. V. Nate Marquardt's test will be more mental than physical. On paper, Nate the Great ought to overpower and overwhelm Dan Miller, which probably explains why he's a 3-1 favorite. But after he had trouble pulling the trigger against Yushin Okami in a fight he (and he alone) still seems to think he won, you have to wonder whether he's in the right state of mind to get back into middleweight title contention. He told me earlier this week that he's having fun again as a fighter for the first time in years, but we have to wait and see whether he still feels that way on fight night. If he opens up like he did against Wilson Gouveia, Miller could be in trouble. If he hangs back as he did against Okami, the trouble will be all Marquardt's. VI. Can we lighten up on all the tired parallels between Jon Jones in 2011 and "Shogun" Rua in 2005? I get it: Rua was 23 when he won the Pride Grand Prix, just like Jones is 23 now. That's called a coincidence. They're still completely different fighters with completely different backgrounds and their big respective breaks have come in completely different situations. I know how much we all love the whole 'old lion vs. young lion' storyline in this sport, but this is not one of those fights. And you know what else? It doesn't need to be. You've got a 29-year-old champ coming off an injury la