Herschel Walker Wins MMA Debut; Should Christians Support MMA?

I read this morning that Herschel Walker is now officially an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter. He made his professional début Saturday night in South Florida. defeating Hungarian Greg Nagy in a 3rd round TKO (technical knock out). The 47-year-old looks incredibly in shape for his age, which is not too surprising for those who have followed Walker’s career and are familiar with his famous natural workout regimen (he’s never lifted weights).

Walker, a professing Christian, is entering a brutal sport. Some would say barbaric. Is this the kind of sport a follower of Jesus Christ should get involved in?

I have a few Christian buddies who love watching MMA and routinely go in together to share the cost in watching the pay-per-view fights. Considering what a savage sport MMA is, you would think that all these fighters were riff-raff off the streets. My initial impression is that most of them are disciplined athletes, frequently educated, and usually very civil toward their opponents, the press, and the public. A good number of them are professing Christians.

So, again, the question: is this the kind of sport Christians should participate in, enjoy as a pastime, and support financially? After all, in my opinion, MMA is basically chaperoned street fighting.

What is your opinion? Are you an MMA fan? Are my impressions of the sport accurate?

Back to Herschel, his opponent was new to the sport as well, with a 1-1 record entering the fight. Some think this was a fixed fight designed to bring interest to a lesser known fighting organization than UFC. CBS’s Gregg Doyel calls Herschel’s role that of a carnival barker, simply there to bring people into the tent. I think he’s right. Doyel also suggests that Strikeforce handpicked the unknown Nagy so that Walker would win. He’s probably right on that one too.

Here’s some highlights from the fight:

7 thoughts on “Herschel Walker Wins MMA Debut; Should Christians Support MMA?”

  1. I must admit that I enjoy watching a good MMA match. I have also participated in martial arts for a few years and find it to be a very rewarding experience as my skills progress. To see Herschel Walker succeed in this highly competitive, highly athletic, and extremely grueling sport is truly a commitment that he has show to do things that are difficult.

    That being said, I wonder if this is the kind of violence to which God was responding when He flooded the Earth (Genesis 6:10-14). I know as one who has been saved by Christ and his finished work on the Cross I am not going to be a recipient of God’s wrath. A look at Psalm 11:5 is a very clear warning about God’s view on those who love violence. In Psalm 74:20 we are also told that the dark places are the habitations of the violent.

    However, the violence portrayed in these pieces of scripture seem to refer to people who use their strength, weapons, and influence to rob and murder people unexpectedly and over throw governments. This is certainly not the type of violence that is on display in the caged octagon that is common place in nationally televised MMA. The MMA competitors usually congratulate and thank each other at the end of a match. Some of them are the best of friends outside the ring while they fight each other in the ring.

    So, I think I have only muddies the conversation and not really helped. I would love to hear what others have to say. I look forward to a clear scriptural exposition how God would view our watching and/or participating in MMA.

  2. Daizzee and I have been reading through 1 Corinthians together and reading this post brings up what we read just last night.

    1 Corinthians 6:12
    “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

    To be honest, before I was a Christian I had watched every UFC event that came on TV. I followed it all. I could name every fighter, their background, the moves they were using, which techniques would be best against other techniques, etc. I continued to watch it after I became a Christian, however I noticed I began to look at things differently.

    I noticed the skimpy dressed round girls. I noticed that rarely did any of the fighters exhibit any kind of behavior that reflected the behavior of God. I noticed that those people in the crowd seemed to only be there to see someone get hurt.

    It became harder and harder for me to watch any of the fights with good conscience. Couple that with hearing that in the early church people were booted out of the church if they knew you visitted the gladiator fights in the colliseum and I was way too convicted to watch it (someone check this for me, am not sure it is true).

    Another point, let me drop the bombshell, in my opinion, on all those activities we think land in the gray area of the faith.

    1 Corinthians 10:31
    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

    If you can give glory to God by watching the UFC do so, however, the Christian life is not only in looking out for what is good for you. You must also take others into consideration.

    1 Corinthians 10:24
    Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

    Is watching the UFC going to glorify God, is watching the UFC going to edify your neighbor, is watching the UFC a good way to spend your time?

    Colossians 4:5
    Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of your time.

    Ok last passage,

    Colossians 3:1-4
    1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    Sifting our lives through these filters could change our lives forever.

    Ok, this is the last passage.

    Philippians 4:8-9

    8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

    I have a hard time believing Paul would sit down on a couch with us, bag of chips in hand, and watch the UFC, much less ever think about going to a gladiatorial game during his time.

    Ok, whaddya think?

  3. The “great book of multiple choice” can be used to support or oppose virtually any position. For every quoted verse one opinion uses, the opposite opinion can come up with an equally valid quote that supports their opinion.

    Until they come up with a reason for their beliefs other than the bible, it just doesn’t mean much. There will never be a consensus among christians because they base their entire existence on a vague book written by…well, that’s enough of a rant, I suppose. Sorry about that. I just don’t see where one christian has any higher moral ground than another until they use a bit more reasoning than “the bible says”.

  4. @ Rich R.

    You have an awesome name.

    Ok, on to the subject at hand. I just have a statement and a few questions.

    Statement: Addressing what you mentioned above, every verse in the bible can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. However, the verse only has one true meaning. Many people take verses from the bible out of context. That is why it is so important to read a passage in its context before you try to explain what you think it means. This may help you when you read the bible.

    Question 1: Are you a Christian?

    Question 2: Have you ever read the bible?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

  5. @Richard Doctor

    ” rarely did any of the fighters exhibit any kind of behavior that reflected the behavior of God”

    I don’t know what you were watching but there are LOADS of Christian fighters in MMA today. Most fighters touch gloves at the start of the 1st round, most all fighters respect their competitors and congratulate them win or lose. The ring girls are easily avoidable as you know exactly when they are going to be shown. I mean do what you feel you need to do in your walk with God, but don’t blame it on a sport that in and of itself is not sinful.

    I also want to address your thought about MMA being the type of violence that God was talking about when he flooded the earth. There is a BIG difference between VIOLENCE and VIOLENT. Violence is when someone is shot and killed in a drive by. Violent is how you might describe a collision. See the difference? Just because MMA is VIOLENT doesn’t mean that it’s spectators/competitors love VIOLENCE.

  6. Pure carnality and far from a healthy sport! Men,women and even youth,are quickly becoming enslaved to MMA. I wrestled in HS and have been trained in law enforcement defense tactics and military fighting systems. I give MMA and pro boxing double thumbs down as a true John 3:3 servant. We are in this world but called to come out from it. Intoxication with Babylon is the sad reality for many so called professing Christians!? Muay tai is another BRUTAL and violent fighting style. Addiction to getting into the ring to knock someone out is out of control and not what Christians are called to be part of!!! I sense that ugly days will soon arise again and the gladiator blood shed against Christians will be back and in full force. Live ready and get a copy of Intoxicated with Babylon by Steve Gallagher! AWESOME reality check wake up call book that ALL true Christians NEED to read!
    2Timothy 2:19 John 8:51

    1. Dwight,
      Thanks for your insightful comment, especially considering your background and experience. Thanks also for the book recommendation; I highly respect Steve Gallagher. I’ll check it out.
      – Brett

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