Monday, August 15, 2016

Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts (Review)


If you live in New York, New Jersey, or Philadelphia Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts  will not only resonate with fight fans in the area, but it will now focus as a piece of history for a time when the sport was banned in the state of New York. 

I had the pleasure and honor of meeting the author, Jim Genia at the World MMA Expo in New York City last year. I was there covering the expo for Page2sports and was at the rally to lift the ban the day before. Genia was hosting a panel at the expo to help get the ban lifted so I sat down when it was scheduled to begin. 

In my brief conversation with Genia he mentioned his book and gave me a t-shirt that read "MMA for NY". I made a note to buy a copy the next day, it was the least I could since he gave me a shirt. Little did I know he and I had been in a lot of the same places familiar with martial artists in the area. The book is a trip down East Coast martial arts memory lane and if you train in the area, chances are not only will you remember the events but you might even know some of the fighters written about in the book. 

East coast martial artists that are unfamiliar with the history of martial arts in the area and the struggle MMA has gone through, this book would be a good place to start your history lesson. When the ban was lifted last March, many that cover the sport credited Genia as being the go-to man in getting the word out. He was and still is probably the most dedicated and hardcore MMA man on the street. 

If you missed any of what he was putting out, especially when Sheldon Silver was arrested, "Raw Combat" is probably the best way to understand why MMA in New York is such a big deal and get an inside look at what martial artists were willing to do to follow their passion for competition.With the sport getting the go ahead in the coming days, this book is a big piece of history and chronicles those that never got to see the level it has come to since the days of underground fighting.