The author of American Shaolin tells a hilarious and fascinating insider's account of mixed martial arts, the fastest growing sport in the country.
Since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993, mixed martial arts (MMA) has punched, kicked, and wrestled its way into the public's consciousness. MMA is an often brutal sport that combines any and every unarmed fighting technique with pure grit. Today, the gross yearly profits of Ultimate Fighting Championship-the sport's premier professional league-exceed that of professional wrestling, boxing, and even the Boston Red Sox. In Tapped Out, Matthew Polly gives readers his on-the ground take of training and fighting in MMA.
At the age of thirty-six, Polly was out of shape and totally unprepared for what was ahead: a grueling journey through leading MMA training facilities in Bangkok, St. Petersburg, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and Las Vegas. After being utterly beaten down and built back up, he fought his first match against a fighter nearly fifteen years younger-and not only won, but sent his opponent to the hospital. Polly intersperses his own narrative with the history and background of fighting and interviews with top UFC stars such as GSP, Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture, and Gina Carano. Evocative of George Plimpton's classic Paper Lion, Polly's honest, funny, and eye-opening account of his experiences will appeal to the millions of devoted MMA fans who are as hardcore as the sport itself.
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When Polly, a longtime MMA enthusiast and travel writer for Slate, told his editor that he wanted to write a book about mixed martial arts, he was given the go-ahead on the condition that he train and compete himself. Polly spent the next two years getting punched, kicked, and slapped by some of the best coaches in MMA, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. A gregarious and charming protagonist, Polly comes across as self-deprecating, yet his enthusiasm and passion for martial arts are unmistakable. Readers familiar with MMA will be gratified to hear how affable their heroes are and will recognize themselves in the author's shoes. Those who previously lacked knowledge of this modern craze will respect both Polly, for undertaking this odyssey, and the fighters whose grueling training regimens he followed. His story ends with a single fight an amateur bout that he wins against a man 15 years his junior proving that even an Everyman, if trained well enough, can have his glory.
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This was an excellent read. Matthew Polly take you behind the curtain and lives the life as a mma fighter. If it also a great personal journey for the author. Highly recommend.