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Jamie Taber and Kat Longshore

As mixed martial arts (MMA) has become a more popular and technical sport ( Downey, 2007 ), it has also begun to receive more attention from sport psychologists. Elite fighters in past studies demonstrated the extreme mental stress inherent to the sport and indicated a need for improved skills to

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Peter Jensen, Jorge Roman, Barrett Shaft and Craig Wrisberg

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a relatively new and rapidly growing sport within contemporary athletics yet, to date, it has received relatively little attention in the sport psychology literature. To shed more light on the sport, the aim of the current study was to examine the experiences of MMA fighters during sanctioned competitions. Audio-recorded phenomenological interviews were conducted with seven participants and the transcripts were qualitatively analyzed to identify emerging themes. The findings revealed that the most important aspect of fighters’ experience was the chaotic nature of MMA fights, which participants characterized as “cage reality.” The results also suggested that fighters’ arousal regulation skills are at least as important as their technical skills for performance success. Taken together, the present findings extend previous research on MMA and suggest several implications for sport psychology consultants interested in working with fighters.

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Carla A. Santos, Scott Tainsky, K. Alexander Schmidt and Changsup Shim

To date, scholarly attention to mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has been limited. This study sought to address this gap in literature by focusing on the news media’s framing of public officials’ discourse concerning MMA. In so doing, the study addressed the entanglement of news media, sport, and contemporary political maneuvering. Overall, findings suggest two dominant media frames: leveraging of sociopolitical capital to protect societal values and leveraging of sociopolitical capital to advocate for legislation. Specifically, the authors propose that news media have framed and reframed MMA as a succession of moral threats and reassurances that are given voice by public officials in the name of protecting the citizenry.

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Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland and B. Christine Green

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.

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Joseph John Matthews and Ceri Nicholas

There is a lack of research documenting the weight-making practices of mixed-martial-arts (MMA) competitors. The purpose of the investigation was to quantify the magnitude and identify the methods of rapid weight loss (RWL) and rapid weight gain (RWG) in MMA athletes preparing for competition. Seven athletes (mean ± SD, age 24.6 ± 3.5 yrs, body mass 69.9 ± 5.7 kg, competitive experience 3.1 ± 2.2 yrs) participated in a repeated-measures design. Measures of dietary intake, urinary hydration status, and body mass were recorded in the week preceding competition. Body mass decreased significantly (p < .0005) from baseline by 5.6 ± 1.4 kg (8 ± 1.8%). During the RWG period (32 ± 1 hr) body mass increased significantly (p < .001) by 7.4 ± 2.8 kg (11.7 ± 4.7%), exceeding RWL. Mean energy and carbohydrate intake were 3176 ± 482 kcal・day-1 and 471 ± 124 g・day-1, respectively. At the official weigh-in 57% of athletes were dehydrated (1033 ± 19 mOsmol・kg-1) and the remaining 43% were severely dehydrated (1267 ± 47 mOsmol・kg-1). Athletes reported using harmful dehydration-based RWL strategies, including sauna (43%) and training in plastic suits (43%). Results demonstrated RWG greater than RWL, this is a novel finding and may be attributable to the 32 hr duration from weigh-in till competition. The observed magnitude of RWL and strategies used are comparable to those which have previously resulted in fatalities. Rule changes which make RWL impractical should be implemented with immediate effect to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of competitors.

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Terry Eddy, Lamar Reams and Stephen Dittmore

As online business models have evolved, learning what drives users’ consumptive behaviors has gained increasing interest to sport researchers and sport properties. An increasing number of sport properties are expanding, and deriving revenues from, their presence on digital-media platforms (e.g., MLB, NBA, NFL, UFC, WWE, etc.). Of the sport properties mentioned, none are more reliant on digital-media activity than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations and related consumption habits of users of non-subscription-based (i.e., free-to-use) online message boards. Findings suggest that message-board users find value in the opportunities for interactivity and that heavy online mixed-martial-arts users watch more events and purchase more merchandise than those who spend less time online.

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Oliver R. Barley, Dale W. Chapman and Chris R. Abbiss

been observed in many combat sports, such as mixed martial arts (MMA), boxing, taekwondo (TKD), karate, wrestling, judo, and kickboxing. 3 – 7 There is a large range of methods employed by combat sports athletes to lose weight, though the most common methods are body fluid manipulation and food

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Mathew Hillier, Louise Sutton, Lewis James, Dara Mojtahedi, Nicola Keay and Karen Hind

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport, with bouts defined by weight divisions ( Reale et al., 2017 ) with the aim of endorsing balanced and stimulating matches while reducing potential injuries that may result from substitutional differences in weight ( Mendes et al., 2013 ). For the athlete

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Markus Herrmann, Rima Obeid, Juergen Scharhag, Wilfried Kindermann and Wolfgang Herrmann

This study aimed to compare the vitamin B12 and folate status of recreational endurance athletes and inactive controls by modern biomarkers. In 72 athletes (38 ± 7 y) and 46 inactive controls (38 ± 9 y) serum levels of vitamin B12, methylmalonic acid (MMA), holotranscobalamin II (holoTC), folate, and homocysteine (Hcy) were measured. Vitamin B12 and folate levels of both groups were comparable, but athletes had higher median (25.−75. percentile) MMA [242 (196 to 324) versus 175 (141 to 266) nmol/L] and holoTC concentrations [67 (52 to 93) versus 55 (45 to 70) pmol/L] than controls. Hcy was slightly lower in athletes [9.2 (7.2 to 12.6) versus 10.8 (8.9 to 12.9) nmol/L]. In controls, we found the following correlations: vitamin B12 and MMA (r = −0.38), vitamin B12 and holoTC (r = 0.51), MMA and holoTC (r = −0.36). In athletes, MMA did not correlate with vitamin B12 and holoTC. Our data suggests an altered vitamin B12 metabolism in recreational athletes that needs further investigation.

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Evan L. Frederick, Galen E. Clavio, Lauren M. Burch and Matthew H. Zimmerman

For this case study, an Internet-based survey was posted on a popular mixed-martial- arts (MMA) blog to ascertain its users’ demographics and usage trends. Data analysis revealed that users were predominantly White men between the ages of 23 and 39, with some college education and an annual income of $40,000–59,999. An exploratory factor analysis revealed 6 dimensions of gratification: evaluation, community, information gathering, knowledge demonstration, argumentation, and diversion. The most salient motivation statements were related to the speed of information access, the depth of information and coverage, and the availability of information not typically found through traditional media outlets. Most users spent 1–5 hr/wk watching MMA programming and 1–10 hr/wk on MMA blogs, making 1–20 comments per week. Findings indicated that users used this particular blog for both interactive and information-gathering purposes.