Military's New Recruiting Tool: Ultimate Fighting

Demographics, skills of mixed martial arts appeal to recruiters
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2008 8:09 AM CDT
Mixed martial arts requires a number of the same skills that soldiers require in today's military operations, thought the sport's focus on solo glory runs counter to the Army's teamwork focus.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – The US military is mining an unlikely new recruiting ground: the 18- to 30-year-old devotees of mixed martial arts. MMA, which John McCain once labeled human cockfighting, has surged in popularity while instituting rules to appease lawmakers. The armed forces have begun organizing ultimate fighting championships of their own, not only to appeal to the young fan base but as a training aid, reports the New York Times.

“As long as we’re all about our values and upfront about what the Army stands for, and that’s being warriors, the question is, what kind of warriors?” said an Army director. “The game of mixed martial arts is just that, it’s a game. But the game can be training for the real thing.”