Unlocking the Cage: Exploring the Motivations of MMA Fighters by Mark Tullius


Have you ever considered what it would be like to punch or be punched, to choke or be choked? Or wondered why anyone would enter the cage at all? Get your copy of Unlocking the Cage and prepare to be intrigued by what you find.

Follow the journey of Mark Tullius, former cage fighter and boxer, as he conducts an in-depth sociological study of why men and women compete in mixed martial arts (MMA). Over the course of 3 years, Tullius traveled to 23 states and visited 100 gyms where he interviewed 340 fighters. Although it wasn’t necessary, Tullius trained with the fighters and believed that his willingness to get on the mat and demonstrate his trust in the fighters encouraged them to trust him and open up to a stranger about their fears and mistakes, dreams and accomplishments.

Unlocking the Cage takes readers into the gyms and into the minds of the fighters. It celebrates the unique qualities of each individual while highlighting themes that appear and reappear. It looks past the stigma of violence and embraces the resilience and strength that are the foundation of the fighting culture.

My Review

Why do people compete in MMA? That is the premise of the book. In the book blurb it says “Unlocking the Cage takes readers into the gyms and into the minds of the fighters” and it was that line that drew me to this book.

I have been a UFC fan for years, before it became mainstream, and now with UFC stars like GSP, Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey and of course Conor McGregor, MMA has got the world talking and tuning in to watch these fights.

If you have only just started watching or trying MMA this would be a great book for you.

And I think this book would be great for sociology students as well as it certainly gives you a great in-depth look into why people want to make

as MMA fighters, how they came to the sport and the stigma of the violence in the sport.

It is full of interviews that are interesting, some more than others but it does leave you with a slightly higher knowledge of a fighters lives and the sacrifices they make in-order to excel in this sport.

MMA fans will definitely want to read this and anyone that is curious about the sport, this would be a good place to start. And if you are the few that still think this isn’t a real sport, just pure violence then this book will go a long way to dispelling that myth.

I really enjoyed it, and reading as a fan of the sport it was nice to see behind the scenes.

With the UFC being in the news quite recently for equal parts great for the sport and some that could cast a dark cloud over it, this is the perfect time to pick up this book!

Unlocking the Cage can be purchased here below

A big thank you to the author Mark Tullius, publishers The Independent Book Publishers Association and NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest, independent review.

Follow them on Twitter

@MarkTullius ‏  @ibpa  @DebTat2


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