MMA is an amazing sport but it can also be violent at times. This leads to the question, can you do it as a Christian or are you committing a sin?
Can a Christian do MMA?
Yes, Christians can practice MMA. In fact, there are many Christians who practice MMA across the world. MMA, just like football or basketball, is a sport and as long as you treat MMA as a sport and not as a way to harm others then it is not a sin.
However, it’s important to look at the physical and spiritual implications of doing MMA.
Can Christians Do Combat Sports In General?
Christianity and combat sports don’t seem to go together, but it is possible to engage in MMA without sinning. However, this will depend on many factors as well as how you use the skills you learn in combat sports and use them in your daily life. Take a look at Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and tremblingPhilippians 2:12
This verse is saying everyone practices their Christian faith in different ways and in the end, God is the final judge.
There are many high profile Christian MMA fighters such as Jon Jones, Yoel Romero, and Ben Henderson.
There are websites like the fellowship of Christian fighters (see the link here) where they explain what it’s like to be a Christian fighter. Their website is full of Bible verses.
Also, you have a Christian themed MMA clothing line (Jesus Didn’t Tap) by the former MMA fighter and social media personality Jason David Frank.
In 2014 the American documentary, “Fight Church”, looks at the rich subculture of Christianity and MMA and includes the previously mentioned fighters.
The documentary shows the lives of certain Church pastors that see MMA as being an important part of their Christian faith. The documentary mentions that there is an estimated 700 plus Churches in the US that have added martial arts into their ministries.
This number has likely grown since 2014 as the sport itself has grown. You can see the trailer for Fight Church down below.
Is MMA Too Violent For A Christian?
As a Christian, deciding whether or not MMA is too violent is a decision that needs to be made between an individual and God. Like the Bible says, only God can judge you and so the best thing you can do is pray and decide yourself.
MMA can be violent, but if you are doing it more as a hobby, for fitness or for self-defense then MMA is fine. It isn’t any more brutal than Boxing for example. The potential violence is nothing compared to what you would see in the old testament for example.
I think that sin comes in if you are taking the skills you learn in MMA and then using those skills to bully or harm those around you.
Many scriptures speak out against violence such has Matt 26:52, although when Jesus spoke out against the soldiers he did not say combat was morally wrong (Matt. 8:5-13). He even told his disciples to take a defensive sword with them when he knew his arrest was going to happen (Luke 22:36).
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.Matt 26:52
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.Luke 22:36
These verses give evidence to the numerous Christians around the world who practice MMA because the bible does not condemn self-defense. You must look into yourself and your Christian faith and decide if MMA is right for you as a Christian.
Do Christians Have Spiritual Implications Doing Combat Sports?
Any spiritual implications from doing MMA will depend on the person you are since our relationship with God is a personal one. The issue is that MMA can fuel aggression which can contradict with Matthew 10:16.
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.Matthew 10:16
Many may interpret that last part, “innocent as doves”, to mean don’t harm anyone and they are right; however, like was already touched on, MMA is a sport like football or basketball.
Any sport that you play you can hurt someone. As long as it is not done intentionally, it is not a sin.
Many Christians may also worry that practicing MMA may lead to an abundance of pride. And like it says in Luke 14:11:
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 14:11
So if you practice MMA, be sure to always remain humble and to not become too prideful in your fighting abilities.
Lastly, you must resist the temptation to start fights with your MMA skills, and doing MMA should not take away from your Christian duties (like helping the Church (Heb. 10:25)
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:25
Look inside yourself and your relationship with God and ask yourself, what are my motives for doing MMA? Ensure it’s not non-Christian motives but moreso based on a desire to learn and explore the skill itself.
Good luck out there my friends.
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