Monday, June 02, 2008


The United States military has been looking for ways to increase recruitment numbers for a while. With unpopular occupations and diminished funding for safety equipment and an antiquated GI Bill waiting for them after they serve, the attraction wasn’t there. So, the military is embracing a combat sport commonly called Ultimate Fighting.

A rough and tumble bloody sport that a decade ago was called human cockfighting and largely outlawed.

Where this sport is still legal, major tournaments are held and the fan base of UFC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has grown. As the sport found its audience on channels aimed at young men, recruiters and drill sergeants started to pay attention.

It’s really a phenomenon, mixed martial arts and disciplines like jiu-jitsu, boxing and wrestling, It’s a blend of combat skills that, if confronted hand to hand, would seem a valuable asset. UFC has adopted safety measures lately that have satisfied most state regulators and is now soaring in popularity among young men.

Military officials have sought practical applications to help increase recruitment and retain troops. So, the army has a new field manual section focused specifically on mixed martial arts techniques for unarmed combat. Its It’s intent is to harness the competitive drive in young recruits since it is truly a powerful motivator.
(Sgt. Tim Kennedy pictured right)

The armed forces are using the sport not only as a way to build morale and aid in recruiting, but also as a training aid to enhance the skills of soldiers.

When I witnessed the KPAC boxing match at our Midtown Center last month, I imagined that some day, UFC or something like it could come here, but it is still not permitted in NY State.
Why the Midtown Center? Wasn’t it originally an armory? Combat at this level would seem natural in such a militarily historic building. Just a thought.

Army bases around the country now conduct mixed martial arts tournaments, sending the winners to championship fights at Fort Benning. The fourth annual championship, set for October, has been planned to incorporate rules indistinguishable from mixed martial arts.

The days of eye gouging and biting are long gone, and for good reason, so as UFC matures, the acceptance by mainstream sports aficionados will solidify. NY will eventually allow the sport here and when that happens, I suggest using this sport as another tool to help bolster our local economy.

No comments: