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Book Review: Raw Combat – The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts

Posted on 12/28/2011

Gift Card Uses for a Fight Fan: Raw Combat-The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts

By: William Holmes

With the adoption of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts by many Athletic Commissions in the United States, the sport of MMA has become more sanitized and appeasing for the regular sports viewer. However, in some states, such as New York, MMA is still not sanctioned, and considered illegal. That however, has not stopped enthusiasts of the sport in New York from competing in underground fights.

Author Jim Genia is well respected amongst the mixed martial arts community, and is an assistant editor at He was written other books on Mixed Martial Arts and was a former writer for Full Contact Fighter Magazine, and has contributed regularly to various mixed martial arts websites. To put it bluntly, Jim Genia is an expert on covering MMA, and he does a fantastic job detailing the underground scene in NY.

It’s obvious from the beginning of the book, that even though New York does not regulate MMA, martial artists will fight each other despite the consequences, and often do it just for pride or for the love of the sport. He guides you through the intricacies of the Underground Combat League, and the back stories behind many of their fighters. He vividly describes the scene in the gym as combatants are about to fight, he informs his reader in detail about the battle to get MMA regulated, and the speed bumps and opposition that effort has encountered.

It was very interesting the read about some of the regional promotions efforts to distance themselves from the underground combat scene. He gives you a glimpse into various gyms in the New York Area, and the bond and friendship that these gyms encourage amongst their fighters. You even get a glimpse into what a tryout for the UFC looks like, and what fighters have to do on regional shows in order to hope to get a shot at the big leagues of the UFC. Genia even devotes an entire chapter to the biggest street fighting legend of all time, Kimbo Slice.

MMA is a sport that has long fought for its legitimacy amongst casual sport fans and boxing fans. Not every state has sanctioned MMA, and New York is one of them. However, the Northeast of the United States has long been a hotbed for local MMA talent, two of the current UFC champions come from the Northeast, Frankie Edgar and Jon Jones. Even though the most influential state in the Northeast does not regulate MMA, it has not stopped it’s residents from training and competing in the sport they love. Jim Genia does an excellent job of showing his readers the side of Mixed Martial Arts that even most fans of MMA no little about.

Raw Combat delves into the world of real life fight clubs, and if you’re a fan of the movie, or a fan of the sport, you’ll be a fan of this book.

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