JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - It was fighting to the extreme. Friday Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters competed in the Strikeforce Challengers event at the Jackson Convention Complex. Before the first punch is thrown or the sting of the first kick is felt there was already a battle in the fighter's brain.
"There's a million things running through your head. What if I do this? What if I forget to do that? But once you get in there you kind of make sense of it all and just let the fight take shape," said MMA fighter and Ridgeland native Anthony Mitchell.
It is man to man combat and not for the faint of heart. "It can be very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing or you know exactly what you're doing and just get caught," said MMA fighter Brian Albin of Madison.
"You need some athletic ability and you need that lack of a gene where you don't mind getting hit in the face," said Knock Out Fitness MMA Trainer Johnny Little. "It's just a great sport."
"It combines ancient martial arts techniques from thousands of years ago, Kung Fu, Karate, to modern martial arts," said Scot Long, Sports Physiologist at Gracie South Jui Juitsu in Flowood.
MMA fighters have to be skilled in kickboxing, wrestling, Judo and Jui Jitsu. The number of fans and students of the sport is growing fast.
"It is off the charts right now. Our school, in just the four and a half years Gracie South has been around, we've moved three times because of demand," said Long.
Professional fighters WLBT talked to called it an addiction to the fierce training and rewarding competition.
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