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Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting Paperback – December 1, 2008
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"The best book on the real history of MMA that I've seen. . . . This book really is so great I couldn't put it down . . . it's a thorough history dating back to the turn of the 20th century, covering the heydays in Brazil, Japan, and major UFC opposition groups over the past 15 years in North America." Wrestling Observer
"If the history of MMA was taught as a college course, Total MMA would be the official textbook used for the class." Five Ounces of Pain
"A definitive history of the sport, and it tackles just about every major figure and event in the sport's history." CBSSports.com
"I highly recommend it for yourself or for the MMA fan in your life." Inside Fights
"[Total MMA] is amazingly detailed with hundreds of footnotes as Snowden focuses on the expansion of MMA from its early beginnings to late 2008. Snowden obviously loves the business but doesn't shy away from exposing its darker sides and presenting both sides of arguments." 411Mania.com
"By far the most definitive book on mixed martial arts I've ever read . . . I can't recommend this book more highly." The Angry Marks
"A go-to resource for the figures big and small in the history of MMA . . . It is hard to imagine any book in the future matching the detail and definition provided here . . . make it the cornerstone of your MMA library." mmapayout.com
"I just tore through . . . Jonathan Snowden's excellent history of MMA. . . . If you're looking for a one volume history of Mixed Martial Arts, it would be hard to do better than this." Bloody Elbow
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This is a very comprehensive text that covers the history of MMA with heavy focus on the UFC and the Japanese MMA promotions. It is very complete. In some parts it can be dry and a bit wordy but that is a results of it being so complete. For example, some chapters I tore through fast as I could while others took a little longer to get through. Some of this depends on your interest level as well. The only other criticism I would have is that I wish all the photos had been inline with the text. At least in the Kindle version, all the photos were at the end of the book.
I enjoyed the book and thought it was excellent.
Overall I would highly recommend this book if you want to learn the history of the sport, the companies/organizations, the players, and the biggest moments throughout.
Snowden covers every aspect of modern MMA history you could think of, ranging from the USA, to Brazil, to Japan. But it's not dry like a history book. Snowden tells it all like a story, and it's very vivid. The best part though is that he doesn't shill for Zuffa. He covers how Zuffa didn't invent sanctioned MMA. He also talks about the UFC's mafia ties. This is a must read for MMA fans and anyone who wants to know about the history of the sport, as I said.
The only other exhaustive histories of MMA are older ones by Clyde Gentry that stop right as The Ultimate Fighter is about to hit the airwaves. So, yeah. This book is the bible of MMA history. Gentry's texts were the old testament, Snowden's (this + MMA Encyclopedia) are the new testament.
Snowden's book begins with a detailed history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He describes the "Gracie Challenge" and Helio Gracie's fight with Masahiko Kimura with great lucidity. All this, of course, leads to the rise of Gracie Jiu Jitsu and the birth of MMA. The book continues on with stories of Ken Shamrock, the rise of the UFC, Pride, and TUF.
Sometimes critical but always insightful, Snowden gives the reader a front row seat to the story within the history of how MMA became the sport that it is today. The key word here is story - since the book reads like a story and not like a history text. Thoroughly researched and full of original interviews, Total MMA is a must read for any true MMA fan.
Also check out these other excellent books about MMA - The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game,Brawl: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Mixed Martial Arts Competition, and No Holds Barred: Ultimate Fighting and the Martial Arts Revolution
Snowdens telling of mma's rich history leaves no stone unturned,no topic untouched. Not only does the book thoroughly cover the sport in the contemporary aspect,it also digs deep back into the roots of the mixed martial arts,retelling the glory days of Pancrase and Japans evolution from pro-wrestling to mma.
Anyone wanting to bone up on their history of no holds barred action should pick this title up.
However,that doesn't mean this book is flawless. Despite giving a fair and balanced outlook of the sport for the majority of the read,Snowden does seem to take a few low shots at the first family of the UFC. The Gracie's.
That's not saying the Gracie'ss haven't createdcontroversyy within their combat sports history,their is certainly plenty of it their,but Snowden seems at times hell bent on simply showing us the negative side without really giving theGracie'ss their due. With this in mind I recommend mixed martial arts enthusiast to pick up the book "Brawl",by Eric Krauss for a more positive outlook on the Gracie's. These two books read together will give the reader a far better balanced view of the Gracie's.
If you're familiar with all aspects of the family then your mind was probably made before you even read this title.
However,if your knowledge of the sports history is amateur at best,by all means pick up "Brawl" as well.
If for nothing else than to give yourself a second opinion on the Gracie family.
The Japan stories are telling indeed. Especially Guy Mezgers shoot on the controversy behind his infamous fight with Kazushi Sakuraba.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to all mma fans.