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Blood in the Cage: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC Hardcover – January 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618982612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618982615
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In his latest page-turning sports tour, Sports Illustrated senior writer Wertheim (Running the Table, Venus Envy) tackles mixed martial arts (MMA), a one-on-one bare-fist brawl that combines kickboxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and basically any other fighting technique an athlete chooses (minimal rules include no kidney-kicking and no sticking fingers in orifices or wounds). Chronicling the life of MMA legend Pat Miletich (the sport’s Abner Doubleday), Wertheim also traces the history of the ultraviolent contest, dissects the league that dominates it (Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Champion) and examines the appeal (and the stigma) that’s taken it from Internet subculture to pay-per-view king to $500 million commercial powerhouse. Miletich entered the sport in the early 1990s, when it was a no-holds-barred free-for-all (referred to by Sen. John McCain as “human cockfighting”), and wound up a five-time UFC champion; now, he operates an MMA training facility in Bettendorf, Iowa that draws athletes from around the world. A winning writer, Wertheim introduces a colorful, mostly likable cast of fighters, promoters, trainers and executives, brings an unflinching eye to fight scenes (the opening beat-down will certainly grab readers’ attention) and defends the sport just as well as he questions its less-savory operating tactics. (Jan.) —Publishers Weekly
 
“A seamless combination of sport, entertainment . . . Wertheim has pierced the veil to create an edifying book for die-hard MMA fans and curious bystanders alike. “ —Sam Sheridan, author of A Fighter’s Heart
 
Blood in the Cage is not only factually accurate, but also a joy to read. Jon Wertheim poignantly writes about the less than glorious rise to the top of MMA legend Pat Miletich while taking you for a ride down the historical trail blazed by some of MMA’s biggest stars . . . this book is a must read.”
Big John McCarthy, legendary UFC referee and founder of Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy
 
“In a book as bracing and forthright as an open-handed slap, Jon Wertheim transcends easy caricature and cheap sensationalism to deliver the first honest journalism about Mixed Martial Arts that this country’s ever seen. Half hype, half hemoglobin—and from its bareknuckles beginnings to its recent arrival as a national pay-per-view pastime—the brief, brutal history of MMA has confounded even its own fans. Blood in the Cage stands above the din.” —Jeff MacGregor, special contributor, Sports Illustrated and author of Sunday Money
 
“In Blood in the Cage, L. Jon Wertheim tells the story of Pat Miletich, the consummate professional athlete turned world class trainer. Miletich is someone for whom I have considerable respect and admiration and who puts his athletes and our sport first and foremost.” —Randy Couture, UFC champion
 
“As Voltaire said, ‘That’s why they invented the squeegee.’”—David Mamet, author, playwright, and director
 

About the Author

L. JON WERTHEIM is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and the author of five books, including Blood in the Cage, a chronicle of the rise of mixed martial arts, and Running the Table, about a bipolar pool hustler named Kid Delicious, which has been optioned for film by Tom Hanks's Playtone and is currently in development. His work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing numerous times.

More About the Author

L. JON WERTHEIM is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and the author of five books, including Blood in the Cage, a chronicle of the rise of mixed martial arts, and Running the Table, about a bipolar pool hustler named Kid Delicious, which has been optioned for film by Tom Hanks's Playtone and is currently in development. His work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing numerous times.

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Customer Reviews

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Highly recommended to all sports fans!
Joseph C. Sweeney
It was engaging with a great parallel story telling of the rise of the UFC and the story of Pat Miletich.
Jeff J. Franciski
L. Jon Wertheim pulls no punches (ah heh!)
B. Lane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on January 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As one sign that MMA is now mainstream, there is a growing bookshelf dedicated to the sport and its luminaries. In 2008, we saw the autobiographies of Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. Kelly Criger's "Title Shot" is excellent in offering profiles of various elite MMA training centers around the country. That fine book has one glaring omission, though, in that it did not profile Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Author and Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim fills that void with a vivid, fascinating and entertaining "Blood in the Cage." "Blood' tracks the parallel emergence and transformation of Pat Miletich with the burgeoning sport of mixed martial arts. The fact that a writer for SI was paid to write an entire book about MMA is another sign that the sport has arrived.

Wertheim offers a flattering but not fawning portrayal of Miletich, a hardscrabble kid who went from tough guy punk to brawler to MMA champ to a trainer of the elite. Miletich and his stable of fighters mirror their Midwest location: hard working, conservative, methodical. The Croation Sensation reached his peak before the UFC hit the big time, but now Miletich trains some of the top competitors in MMA. He is the Yoda or Mr. Miyagi of MMA.

Until someone better comes along, Wertheim has written perhaps the best book yet on MMA and the rise of the UFC. Nor does he idolize the latter, noting the issue of performance enhancing drugs, the closed financial deals and the heavy-handedness of it bald F-bomb dictator, Dana White. Still, reading Wertheim you can almost feel yourself in the octagon, as the book brims with authenticity. (The only blooper I spotted was a point where Wertheim said the Miletich fighters trained with Russian kettle drums.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Kovacich VINE VOICE on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I certainly started the New Year off with the proverbial BANG, by finding this book on New Year's Day at one of my local big bookstores. I hadn't expected this book to be out for another two weeks yet, so imagine my surprise at finding it on the shelf in the martial arts section staring up at me.

Now I fully intended on buying the book, and did so about an hour later, after I had actually read the first 30+ pages while standing there in front of the shelf where I first found it. This book is simply that good.

From the very first line in the introduction, "LEMME BREAK YOUR NOSE" to the very last page, I was captivated by not only the story the author was telling, but also the way in which he told it. The writing style is quite gripping and compelling as I literally hung on every word and couldn't seem to be able to read it fast enough, to which my girlfriend can attest as she had been wandering around the store wondering where I had disappeared to for almost an hour. I had no idea that I had been standing there reading it for that long.

The author takes you on a dual journey of sorts as he details the life of Pat Miletich and the rise of the UFC, which although they started their respective lives at different times, they were destined to come together with the results being not only favorable for each, but also inevitable. Can one truly say that either one would be what they are today without the other? I don't think so.

This book, like
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craley on October 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another interesting book on MMA. Much more well written than all of the fighter autobiographies out there. Miletech went the right direction by allowing a real author to tell his story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RG69 VINE VOICE on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good and well researched book about Pat Miletich and the early days of MMA including the UFC. The book seems to evenly divide time between being a biography of Pat Miletich and a history of early MMA. Most of the MMA stuff is really information as it pertains to Pat and his involvement as a fighter and mentor. I could not find any inaccuracies in the author's information. I have closely followed all MMA since UFC 1 so I consider myself fairly well informed. The problem with the author is that he is not a long time fan and seems rather new to the sport. He writes well and puts the correct information on the paper, but not with the passion of a fan. I did enjoy the book however, though the ending felt a bit anti climatic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Taheri on June 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written book that has a lot of momentum until about 3/4 of the way through, at which point the reader needs to force himself through the finish. Still an excellent read for anyone even moderately interested in the sport.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Bardfield on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Excellent book and excellent read... Just ahead on the curve in terms of MMA's mainstream popularity, Pat Militech never got the fame or wealth he deserved. He is a true warrior and fighter.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in MMA, wrestling, jiu jitsu, high level athletes or the machine that is the UFC... Even if you have no intention of stepping into a ring and getting punched in the face, this is a well written biography and will not disappoint.

I place this book next to Sam Sheriden's A Fighter's Heart... Buy it, read it and pass it on...
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