Is the UFC Real? | What You Should Know

The UFC is considered the most popular professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world. It sets up incredible fights to pit the best fighters against each other.

These fighters are diverse and come from a variety of martial art backgrounds and experiences; however, many are still skeptical of the UFC’s transparency. 

Is the UFC Real?

The UFC is real, and so are the fights and the fighters. The fighters go through intense physical training in order to prepare for their fights. The UFC is not scripted or rigged and so real injuries that come from fighting such as cuts and bruises often occur.

Another thing that makes the UFC real is the real-life risks that the fighters go through, including health issues from weight cutting and physical injuries from fighting.

For this reason the UFC puts systems in place such as the Octagon and professional referees to avoid any risks or harm to their fighters.

Is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Real?

Yes, MMA is real. In fact, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. You can take MMA classes to learn how to fight just like the pros do. MMA fights are not staged and the fighting and injuries are all 100% real.

To ask if the UFC is real is to ask if MMA is real as there is no UFC without MMA. The UFC is just the professional league that MMA fighters compete in.

For example, you have basketball the sport and then the NBA is the league that the players compete in.

MMA consists of the various martial art forms, most commonly Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, Wrestling, Karate, and/or Judo. A complete MMA fighter needs to be able to fight standing up as well as on the ground and so that is why MMA includes a mix of both striking and grappling martial art forms.

To prove how real some of these MMA fighters are, below are examples of prominent MMA fighters of previous professional fighting backgrounds:

  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, Jedrzejczyk was a professional Muay Thai fighter before transitioning to MMA, achieving the title of six-time world champion and four-time European champion.
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: Arguably the most dominant and best fighter in all of UFC history. Despite coming from a remote village in Russia, Khabib claimed the current UFC lightweight champion’s title and retired with a 27-0 record. Before MMA, he was a two-time combat Sambo World Champion.

As you can see, these fighters are very accomplished and have competed in more well known combat sports such as Muay Thai and Sambo. However, even with such accomplished fighters, many people still mistakenly think that the UFC is similar to the WWE.

It’s not first off, but many people get confused when they see UFC fighters who leave the UFC and join the WWE. So if the UFC is real, and the WWE is fake, then why do so many fighters transition from the UFC to WWE or visa versa?

Why UFC Fighters Transition to WWE? (Or Other Way Around)

Several UFC fighters have transitioned into joining the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after announcing their retirement from fighting. The reasons for this include:

  1. UFC Fighters can Handle the Physical Demands of the WWE
  2. Many UFC Fighters Are/Were WWE Fans
  3. They Still Will Get Paid Good Money in the WWE

Now lets jump into each of these points in greater detail below:

  • WWE is Still Physically Demanding and UFC fighters enjoy that: WWE is not much of a combat sport due to the scripted shows and fights, but WWE is still pretty physically and mentally demanding even if it is fake. One has to stay fit in order to handle many of the stunts that will be performed in the ring. For this reason, many fighters will choose to find another profession that still allows them to maintain their physique and the WWE fits this well.
  • Many Are WWE Fans: Its not a surprise that many of the UFC fighters have previously watched WWE while growing up and maybe even still watch it. For this reason, it is easy for the WWE to convince these retired fighters to make the switch. For example, Rhonda Rousey was a long-time fan of WWE before joining them as a wrestler.
  • Making Good Money: One of the reasons contributing to many UFC transitioning to WWE is the money they make. An average WWE wrestler makes around $500,000 a year, with top earners earning even more. Not to mention the money you will make from things outside of WWE such as merchandise, acting or other sponsors. These retired UFC fighters can still make good money in the WWE.

Aside from several well known UFC fighters transitioning to the WWE, such as Rhonda Rousey and Ken Shamrock, there are an equal amount, if not, more WWE stars joining the UFC (or the sport of MMA at least). This includes:

  • Brock Lesnar
  • CM Punk
  • Dave Bautista
  • Bobby Lashley
  • Shayna Baszler

Now fighters who transition from the WWE to the UFC should prepare themselves because the hits they will be taking now will be 100% real. In fact, due to how real these hits are, severe injuries can occur. Here is a list of some severe injuries that have occurred in the UFC proving just how real this sport is.

Severe Injuries from UFC Fights

If the UFC was fake, then there should not be any visible injuries suffered from the fighters right? Below are examples of fights where fighters received injuries that would probably make you want to look away:

  • Anderson Silva Vs. Chris Weidman, 2013: Into the second round of the bout, Silva threw a kick but was blocked by Weidman, resulted in a clean break of Silva’s shin, folding around Weidman’s shin in slow-motion camera.
  • Alistar Overeem Vs. Jairzhino Rozenstruik, 2019: In the final round of the fight, Rozenstruik threw a right hand, knocking Overeem down, and “exploded” Overeem’s lips. Overeem had to go through plastic surgery to reconstruct his lip.
  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk Vs. Zhang Weili, 2020: Jedrzejczyk suffered a nasty swelling above her right eye after receiving numerous strikes from Weili. Many UFC fans stated that she looked like an ‘alien’ due to the hematoma she suffered. She has since undergone plastic surgery and made a full recovery.

These are just a few examples of how real and how intense MMA fighting can be. But has anyone ever died competing in the UFC?

Has Anyone Ever Died Competing in the UFC?

Despite the UFC’s brutal nature, no fighter has died due to fighting in the UFC. In fact, UFC is often considered safer than boxing because there are for less blows to the head than boxing as fighters in the UFC use a combination of striking and grappling to subdue their opponents rather than punches only.

However, one thing that is not often mentioned, but that can severely injure a fighter is the drastic weight cuts that fighter go through in order to compete.

Weight cuts are common in the UFC. Almost every fighter cuts weight in order to compete in a certain weight class. For this reason, many fighters cut a significant amount of weight in a very short amount of time since there are no rules regulating how much a fighter can gain or lose before a fight.

Reportedly, Nurmagomedov claimed that he suffered seizures while cutting weight for his fight against McGregor. He stated, “I had seizures, and I felt very ill. But if I lost, I would not tell you about this. Because that would have been an excuse.”

Another example is Uriah Hall. Reportedly, in 2018, Uriah had to pull out of a fight after suffering from the side effects of cutting an excessive amount of weight.

Hall said that he went in and out of consciousness, suffered mini seizures, and experienced kidney issues as well. Allegedly, a doctor told him that he could have died if he continued to cut weight and fought that day.

So as you can see, nobody has died from fighting in the UFC, but weight cutting has caused health complications for some fighters and can be extremely dangerous if not done with the help of a professional.

Now another thing that has helped UFC fighters to avoid injury is the flooring that they on fight on.

How Hard is the UFC Floor?

The UFC’s flooring is primarily made out of Oriented Strand Boards (OSB) 25mm thick covered in canvas and has a 3cm (1.2 inches) floor foam padding. This flooring is not extremely thick, but it is thick enough help prevent fighters from getting hurt when being slammed to the ground.

The Octagon is the UFC’s trademark arena where fighters clash for the win of the night. Below are the features of the Octagon, including the fence and shape:

  • The Octagon’s fence is made up of metal chain-link coated with black vinyl and is a 6 ft (1.8 m) high. Unlike the standard boxing ring, the Octagon eliminates the chances of fighters falling out of the arena.
  • The shape of the Octagon eliminates the advantages of fighters who cut their opponents in the ring as a strategy like many stand-up fighters such as boxers like to do in a four-cornered ring.

The way traditional boxing rings are set up can cause fighters to fall out of the ring during a fight which sometimes results in unnecessary injuries that would ultimately stop the fight.

What the fighters undergo is incredibly hard, both mentally and physically. Not only do they suffer physical traumas to the body, but it taxes them mentally as well.

The injuries are real, and you can see them for yourselves if you watch any of their fights. And the UFC gives its own effort to increase the safety and fairness of these fighters, just as how they construct the Octagon.

However, due to the physical and mental capability one must have in becoming a fighter, its no surprise that once they retire, they stick to something as similar as WWE, just with lest risk of injuries and more rewards in pay day. 

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