MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, Cage Fighting… the sport goes by many different names. However, one thing is certain… it is here to stay. MMA has been around for some time now. However, it has really become mainstream in the past 5 to 10 years. Fans of the sport get behind their favorite fighters and love the excitement of a great KO or submission.
MMA, by definition, is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, taken from a variety of other sports. It combines elements of boxing and martial arts and offers an exhilarating and entertaining show for spectators. Though this is a great sport to watch on TV, it is incredible to see a fight card live (for those of you that may not be hip to the MMA terminology, the fight card is the schedule of fights for the event). The excitement and energy permeate through the venue and touch everyone in attendance.
One of the main promoters of MMA in Metro Detroit is Joe Donofrio of Donofrio Entertainment and the Impact Fight League (IFL). Donofrio has been promoting boxing at the Palace for over a decade, but he saw the emergence of MMA as the opportunity to do more. So, about 5 years ago he suggested adding MMA events to the schedule and the rest is history.
The IFL currently hosts 6-10 MMA events per year and has plans to increase it to 12 events in the near future. The events are held at venues such as The Palace, Meadow Brook Music Festival, The Dow Arena and The Emerald Theatre. Tickets for these events range from $15 up to $100 for VIP cage side seating. The local pool of fighters has grown substantially in the past few years. Though out of town fighters are brought in for certain bouts both for added talent and to create an even more diverse fight card.
In addition to promoting the fights, the IFL also participates in a large amount of community charity events. They do several annual fundraisers for Leader Dogs for the Blind, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Michigan Humane Society. They also donate tickets for the larger events to those who may not have the means to attend.
Though MMA has received it share of criticism over the years, it is finally being recognized for what it is; a sport that is rooted in century old techniques, that requires dedication, training and hard work. It promotes values, discipline and a sense of self worth in its students. MMA brings an element of pride both to the individuals who participate as well as the city that supports it. This is certainly true of the Detroit MMA scene.
For more information on the IFL and Donofrio MMA, please visit www.donofriomma.com.