FightNoob is a recurring series on Single Blog Takedown where we help new fans and neophytes understand the sport of mixed martial arts. This is the fourth edition. Previous editions can be found right here.
Volume 4: Know Your Promotions
It was rare that the baseball season and my time in college overlapped; it only happened for a few short weeks at the beginning and end of each school year. Knowing that, I tried to get down to Durham Bulls Athletic Park as often as possible to see the local minor leaguers ply their trade. The atmosphere was fantastic, the Bulls have a proud history (thanks in part to Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins), and even though the overall level of competition wasn't major league, I got to see some guys come through the program that would go on to become stars when they contributed to the Tampa Bay Rays' improbable 2008 AL Championship run.
When I graduated, I moved to DC for the first year of the Washington Nationals' existence and now they occupy my summertime. In spite of their, uh, questionable on-field prowess, I love having a local major league baseball team. Seeing the best in the world come through our fantastic new park, being able to talk baseball at the bar with everyone in town, Ben's Chili Bowl at the game... all wonderful. But you will never catch me knocking the great times I had in the DBAP outfield.
So it is with mixed martial arts. The UFC is the clear major league of the sport, with the best roster and the biggest shows. There are a couple promotions I'd consider triple-A and a few more making strong names for themselves. There are plenty of fans who watch UFC exclusively - I certainly watch them much more than many of the other promotions. Remember, though, my minor league analogy above. Just because UFC is the biggest game in town, it does not mean they are the only game. If you're new to mixed martial arts, some of these promotions may have escaped your view, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them. On the contrary: the more MMA you watch, the more you'll learn. In addition, multiple promoters mean that the best fighters in every weight class aren't always in the same promotion.
Here are a series of capsule looks at some the MMA promotions you ought to know.