Always Attack: Adventures in MMA emerges from my work as editor-in-chief of a startup mixed martial arts (MMA) magazine called Fight! from late 2007 until early 2011. During this time the sport suffered from the stigma that it was little more than “human cockfighting” and what media coverage there was focused solely on the events. As I researched my new beat I determined that there was a more intriguing story happening beyond the Octagon.
As fighters and their coaches adapted their training in order to keep winning, a new uber- martial art was forming in gyms and dojos around the world. My experiences covering this story became the basis for a series of first-person articles that anchored the coverage of the magazine and helped establish its voice. I’ve adapted, updated, and where appropriate, expanded on, these articles for Always Attack: Adventures in MMA.
Because MMA is a global phenomenon my work took me around the world. I went to the birthplace of the sport in Brazil, to its current heart in Las Vegas, to most of the top gyms in the United States, and I even ventured out to its wild frontiers in China, Russia, and the Middle East.
I also charted my own development as a martial artist. I trained with tenacious up-and-comers, current and future champions, and the best coaches in the world. While certainly not championship caliber myself, I did learn the fundamental tenants of core fighting arts like Boxing, Kick Boxing, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, from the people who knew them best.
Always Attack: Adventures in MMA isn’t meant to be a comprehensive history of mixed martial arts or even a complete record of everything that happened to me while I was covering the sport. Rather, I hope you’ll get a sense of what it was like to be embedded behind the scenes when MMA began the transition to the mainstream phenomenon it is today.
Always Attack: Adventures in MMA