Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are some of the world’s most highly-trained athletes, at the very top of their game… scared of no-one.
But the combat sport experts, who use a triathlon of martial arts to fight opponents in a cage, faced their biggest test yet as they went face-to-face with their toughest opponent – Scotland’s hero John Smeaton.
But even The Smeatonator, who showed no fear as he challenged terrorists at Glasgow Airport in July 2007, admitted that he would think twice against squaring up to fighters who are in training for the Cage Wars Productions’ MAX Xtreme Fighting event at the Braehead Arena on March 15.
John said: “I love MMA and watch it on TV all the time. I’m really excited about going to MAX Xtreme Fighting in Glasgow next Saturday.
“Watching these guys is amazing – they are so good at what they do and very highly-trained. But just let them try and get by me with their MMA moves and I’ll show them how things happen in Glasgow.
“These guys are really tough, even the smallest of guys are in peak physical condition and could really do an awful lot of damage. I’d love to see any wannabe terrorists trying to get by this lot.”
The sport, in which specially trained fighters compete in an octagonal ring using highly-evolved techniques is now regarded as the world’s fastest growing in terms of popularity and can boast A-list fans such as George Clooney, Cindy Crawford and Paris Hilton, as well as football stars Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher.
And the Scottish event is set to attract some of he country’s favourite celebrities including radio host Dominik Diamond, beauty queen Nicola MacLean, Scottish beef hunk Chris Capaldi and Celtic players.
Since the sport was first introduced in 1992, it has soared in popularity with clubs springing up across the whole UK and more than 5000 MMA fighters in training and competing regularly at different levels. More than 2500 fans are expected to attend the 12-bout event in Glasgow.
Jonny Burrows, Cage Wars Productions spokesman, believes the Braehead Arena spectacle is a clear demonstration of the increasing appeal of MAX Xtreme Fighting.
He said: “As the popularity of Xtreme Fighting grows, people are beginning to realise that the skill levels needed to compete are incredibly high and only serious and dedicated athletes can rise to the level needed to achieve success.
“It is really exciting to have undoubtedly Scotland’s favourite hero John Smeaton keen to see what these guys are capable of.
“For anyone who has not seen an Xtreme Fighting event they should come along to the Braehead Arena and see for themselves what makes this the fastest growing sport in the world. There is nothing in combat sports that can touch Xtreme Fighting for excitement and an adrenalin-fuelled night of sports entertainment.”
MMA can trace its origins back to around 648 BC when Pankration, a form of unarmed hand-to-hand combat, was an event in the first Olympic Games.
Since then, it has been practiced in various forms in countries across the globe, culminating in the boom in popularity over the last 10-15 years into MMA as we know it today.