From niche sports to major events for everyone

From niche sports to major events for everyone

Awesome punches, kicks and choking techniques. Mixed martial arts are becoming more and more popular. Reportedly “Germany’s Toughest League” at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Spectacular fight scenes in the octagonal cage at the Mercedes-Benz Arena

Spectacular fight scenes in the octagonal cage at the Mercedes-Benz ArenaN Krivoshev

While the first snowfall briefly blanketed Berlin, things weren’t exactly romantic at the Mercedes-Benz Arena at the Ostbahnhof. The 62nd “We Love MMA” event was held there on Saturday evening. There is also talk of the “toughest league in Germany”, in which 6000 spectators managed to marvel at ten fights. But what is mixed martial arts and where does success come from in this country? After all, MMA is also growing in Germany, producing dazzling personalities and evolving from a niche sport to a spectacular main event.

MMA is a full-contact sport and combines many traditional and non-traditional martial arts: boxing, kickboxing, karate, taekwondo, muay thai, classic ground fighting, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and judo. In a martial-style octagonal cage, two fighters face each other three times for five minutes each, unless the fight ends in a submission or knockout. Sometimes the referee intervenes if a fight becomes one-sided and protects the loser.

Martial arts are considered male-dominated and many women watch in the arena. “I box myself and wanted to see top class fights again,” says one visitor. In many ways, the sport of MMA is worth taking a closer look at. Spectators applaud each fighter, fighters treat each other with respect: before and after the fight they high-five, sometimes hug each other, shake hands with the opposing team of coaches. In any case, there was not a trace of mischief on this Saturday evening.

We love MMA 62 – thanks Berlin

Since the league originated in the German capital, MMA organizers should have understood the event as a kind of homage to Berlin. However, in 2010, matches continued in the much smaller Universal Hall in Moabit. In terms of the venue alone, it’s a huge step forward for the sport of MMA in twelve years.

And so the MMA fighters from the capital took center stage. The East Berlin Derby informed the evening with a fight between Jan Jentsen from the Panko Boxing Temple in Berlin and Tamio Luftner from the Trygun Martial Arts School in Köpenick. However, after 1:30 minutes, the first fight was quickly decided: the victory went to Jentsen by a choke.

From boxing, it quickly went to ground fighting.

From boxing, it quickly went to ground fighting.N Krivoshev

Closer fights each lasted less than two rounds. Maximilian Pique also won after a choke against Peruvian Sebastian Salazar, while Davlet Karataev was able to win against Til Fiedler. Ayman Saliv had to drop his fight against Nicholas Hoes before the start of the second round, but it was a great first time since. Between Ken Masters and Adnan Omar, it looked like a win for Omar. However, Masters managed to extricate himself from an almost hopeless situation with his legs and finally defeat his opponent.

The fight illustrated the complexity of MMA. A good ground or fist fight is not enough, but the combination of all these martial arts must be mastered almost flawlessly. Every second counts, especially in the higher weight classes, where there are often surprising twists and turns between fights.

Dream of a Big Hit – From McGregor to Chabib

“What’s your next step and who is it against?” the moderator asks one of the MMA athletes. Many of the fighters are only about 20 years old, with few dreams of a great career. Martial arts have created some personalities. On one side is Conor McGregor from Ireland Highest Earning Sportsperson of the world. He is rumored to be interested in buying the mighty Liverpool FC. Khabib Nurmagomedo from Dagestan is also a martial arts legend. The Russian was the undefeated world champion, wanted to improve the reputation of MMA, and openly talked about respectful cooperation between athletes.

Fair treatment was also confirmed in the second half of the Berlin fight evening. Despite the age difference, Mansur Kovrev from Russia won against Max Müller, ten years his senior. Majerbek Bajtulev used his home advantage and won against Nikolas Wilemski from Lee Gym Hannover. After Beitulev’s victory, the coach spoke highly of his apprentice. But he was more impressed by the audience that evening, which was absolutely rapturous. “This sport is for everyone,” he said, adding that he expects MMA to grow in Germany. These events have already reached the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Munich or the Olympic Park. “There is still a long way to go in the USA, Brazil and Russia, but I see huge potential for MMA in Germany,” Koch said.


6000 spectators ensured a great atmosphere at the 62nd “We Love MMA” event.N Krivoshev

At the end of the last fight night of the year, however, there were some fireworks. Aslan Badev won on points in the Berlin fight against Kevin Amature. It was the first fight of the night to go 15 minutes. In the final match as well, the winner was determined after the judges scored: Sajjad Sharifi won his “away game” against Younes Emre Jensis from the Spitfire Berlin Martial Arts School.

The “highlight”, announced by the moderator, will be available to viewers only at the end of the evening. However, the fight was decided in the first round, in which Ahmed Halimson won against Qaiser Amar Chel. A successful MMA evening for the organizers, which will surely return to Berlin. Most of the spectators were satisfied. “I’ll have to come next time,” said one friend to her companion on the way home.

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