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Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts Paperback – November 1, 2011

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Forget pay-per-view.  Forget championship belts or sanctioning bodies.  This is mixed martial arts combat in its purest, rawest form.  Follow Jim Genia into the illicit world of vale tudo (anything goes).  Locations are always changing and known only to a few, from run-down, shuttered gyms to speakeasy combat cages.  The ruthless damage exacted on the human body leaves a trail of hard-won scars.  The fighters battle for everything but a payday, risking it all for honor and pride.  In a world of conformity, these are men of action who struggle against rules, selling out, and their own demons.  Jim Genia offers on-the-mat access to a brutal arena and the men who spill their blood there.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806535040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806535043
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,982,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Genia is the author of the forthcoming nonfiction book "Raw Combat: The Underground World of Mixed Martial Arts", due out in October, 2011, from Citadel/Kensington.

He's also an assistant editor at His MMA resume includes:

*A ten-year stint at Full Contact Fighter magazine as writer, cageside reporter, editor and eager slave.

*"A Fistful of Dollars: The Uncertain, But Inevitable Return of Sanctioned MMA in New York," which was the cover story of the March 24, 2010 New York Press.

*"Bloodsport: Inside New York's Underground Fight Clubs," which was the cover story of the May 31st, 2006 New York Press.

*Print and online content for Newsday, a Long Island-based newspaper and the tenth largest newspaper in the country.

*Regular articles on such websites at,, and, among others. His work has also appeared in the UK-based magazine "Fighters Only" and the Japanese magazine "Gong".

*Color commentary for the Ring of Combat pay-per-view broadcast (working alongside NBC Sports' Bruce Beck).

*Advising on a variety of media projects and articles pertaining to New York City's underground fight scene, including a National Geographic documentary and features in the New York Times, Newsday, the New York Daily News and the New York Post.

*Consulting for promoters, matchmakers and other industry insiders.

Jim maintains a snarky and irreverent blog at, although you can follow him on Twitter ( at your peril.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sakuraba's ear on October 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you're into MMA, if you like reading, if you like pictures, if you like the untold stories of underground fighting, heck if you like anything; this book is for you. I couldn't put down this book, a page-turner from start to finish, where you glean the insiders prospective on what it takes to make a name for yourself on the unsanctioned fight scene. This book takes you on an insiders journey of the who's who, and who's next with a raw, unbiased look at what it's like give it everything you have for the sake of competition, and finding out what you're made of.

From the unknown, to the present day light weight champion in the UFC, the author gives the reader a story, the true story, of everything you won't find out in the newspaper about the Mixed Martial Arts scene in New York, and New Jersey. Who was and is behind it, and why they did/do it.

I strongly reccomend this book to anyone, it is masterfully written by one of the best reporters involved in MMA today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William C. Waggoner on January 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is the most in-depth view of NYC's MMA fight scene you can possibly get. I was a frequent attendee to these underground fight shows, and knew a lot of the fighters, promoters, and coaches involved. But even with this inside view, Jim's book revealed to me all kinds of hidden stories, background context, and insightful analysis that I'd never considered before. Jim traces the successes and failures of the extreme personalities out here on the combat sport fringe.
If you're interested in underground MMA as a grassroots movement, a legislative struggle, or the last stronghold of "real no holds barred", this book will show you the history, the highlights, and the humanity behind the (totally awesome) face punching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Polly on October 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a must-read book for every MMA fan. No journalist has more fully explored New York state's underground MMA scene or been a better advocate for the sport's legalization than Jim Genia. Everyone who covers MMA knows Jim. He is one of the deans of the sport. And finally someone in Manhattan publishing was smart enough to publish his reporting in a book.

This is a fast, cutting, funny, and insightful look into a part of the MMA world very few have had the chance to witness. Run out and buy this. Or better yet click a button. Seriously. If you love MMA, you will love this book.
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Format: Paperback
I live in NYC and didn't know of the existence of the Underground Combat League (UCL) until I happened to stumble upon this book.

On an informational level the book is really interesting, especially for someone like me who likes MMA and watches a fair amount of the major events but doesn't have the time / energy / motivation / awareness / mobility / work schedule to look for the smaller shows going on in neighboring states, pay much if any attention to the big MMA forums like sherdog where I'm sure I'd be kept more in the know of what is going on in the less visible areas of the sport or who knows very many other people who are interested (at all) in this unlikely thing that I keep getting more and more fascinated by. Except for some of the big fighters who have come out of the NYC area and that there are some top notch schools in the area, I didn't really know anything about the MMA world of New Jersey, and figured there were probably some fights going on below the radar in New York, but I had no knowledge at all about them.

My problem with the book is that it got confusing at times with the names of people. I had a hard time following who some of the people in the book were, most of the people were only given first names, which I understand because there are some difficulties that can arise for fighters who have taken part in UCL style events in New York (some promoters won't allow fighters who took part in underground fights to fight in their events). I suck at remembering names, so this is mostly my fault, but I would have liked to get little clues to help me recall who people were, especially when they hadn't been mentioned for a few chapters.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Kaplowitz on October 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Jim Genia, editor of the bible of MMA "Full Contact Fighter", has been a fixture in the MMA scene since the beginning and has seen some of the most pivotal moments in MMA history happen right in front of his eyes from cageside. In 2003, Jim found himself pulled into a side of the sport he did not know even existed - underground fighting in New York City. Soon, Jim was hooked on Peter Storm's "Underground Combat League" shows, and has become the authority on this promotion.

"At a New York City underground show, words like motley crew, varied assortment and wretched hive of scum and villainy barely scratch the surface."

This is how the author describes the kind of people that frequent the "Underground Combat League", or UCL. The UCL has been home to many fighters who made it big, like Frankie Edgar and Bryan Vetell. It is also home to local stars like James Funaro, and more dubious competitors like Lamont Tereyton Williams, who after a nyquil binge took a power saw on a subway and attempted to carve up a poor bystander. This book documents the life and times of the many combatants who have fought in closed-doors gyms and random martial arts schools with the only purse the winner takes home being pride.

Combined with the tales of UCL promoter Peter Storm and his stable of mainstay fighters, Jim also tells us about local fighters from the tri-state area whose efforts mirror the stories from the underground. A tale about twin brothers James and Joe Funaro spins off into a story about Louis Gaudinot from TSMMA fighting in a sanctioned amateur show in New Jersey. To top this off, the history of MMA in the US is also spread purposefully through the book.

The story of the UCL itself is quite impressive.
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