A majority of sports are played in teams. I feel that sports were forged thousands of years ago out of our desire to survive and flourish in numbers and cooperation. Somewhere along the line, this base survival instinct transitioned into organized sports. There was always that fellowship of men, in sports, who worked together to achieve a common goal, but alongside them, were the individuals who only relied on themselves. These are people who engaged in individual sports, such as tennis, swimming, and of course fighting. Whether you play a team sport or an individual sport, the goal is the same: success. The only difference is that the individual sport player has no one but himself to rely on.
I find much interest in the hardships fighters have to endure. Not the physical hardships of broken bones and bruised flesh, but the mental hardships of loneliness. Fighting is a lonely sport; there are hundreds of other fighters who can relate to the fights you have, but they’re never physically with you in those fights, ever.
Former NFL defensive end, Marcellus Wiley shares this sentiment. In an interview with Spencer Lazara, of MMA Interviews .TV, Wiley shared his thoughts on MMA and what makes it so difficult.
The interview was taken shortly after Wiley saw his friend and former football player, Demian “Fatback” Marzett fight in his pro MMA debut. During the interview, Wiley commented on why MMA is such a hard sport.
“This is more difficult than football. At least I can rely on teammates; you’re in there by yourself.”
Wiley also said that MMA was based more in skill, than raw athletic power.
“In this sport (MMA), like a few other sports I won’t mention, the level of athleticism is not there, but the level of skill is. So if you can take an athlete from a different sport, because let’s face it; if you’re a football player, basketball player, you run track, you’re probably a supreme athlete. If you can translate that athleticism to a different sport like this, you’ll be a better player.”
I believe the best MMA fighters, whether there from UFC, Bellator or XFC, are some of the greatest athletes in the world. I suppose what Wiley means is if you can take superior athletic ability and adapt it to fighting skill, you will make for a great fighter, which I have to agree with. But MMA fighters are already world class athletes, who also possess specific skills that it takes to be a fighter.