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Blood, Struggle, and Dreams at the Heart of Mixed Martial Arts

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Mixed martial arts is America's fastest-growing sport--around the country, new gyms open their doors and enthusiastic viewers tune in to UFC matches. Although some dismiss it as brutal combat, its fighters are among the most dedicated athletes in any arena. But MMA also takes a heavy toll on the body, and it's a rare fighter who can earn a living in the sport's top ranks.

Beast follows four high-level fighters at one of the sport's elite gyms, Florida's American Top Team. Doug Merlino had unprecedented access, training alongside the men for two years, traveling to their matches, and eating in their homes. Mirsad Bektic, a young Bosnian refugee who started in karate as a boy in Nebraska, dreams of stardom. Jeff Monson, a battered veteran at forty-one, is an outspoken, tattooed anarchist enjoying a bizarre burst of celebrity in Russia. Steve Mocco is a newcomer--a former Olympic wrestler from a close-knit intellectual family. Finally there's Daniel Straus, who, from a life short on opportunity, fights his way up to title contention. All will experience electrifying highs and career lows, and Merlino takes us along every step of the way while also examining the culture and meaning of professional cage fighting. A book for both the uninitiated and the hard-core fan, Beast offers a fascinating journey into an often misunderstood world.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 13, 2015 – In this insightful look at mixed martial arts (MMA), Merlino offers a window into the sport's octagon ring through four "high-level fighters" from one of the three MMA "supercamps" in the U.S. Unlike other writers on the same topic, Merlino doesn't profile fighters whom readers might have heard about or seen on television; instead, he focuses on the guys who are still trying to make it to the top level. They are the men who fight to fight another day. While their paths are all different, with some fighting strictly within the U.S. while others travel all the way to Kazakhstan or Russia, each has one goal in mind: to make it in the sport. Success would provide money to support their families and their dreams, and they are all willing to do what is necessary, even if it means the destruction of their own health. One of the men Merlino profiles takes a second fight two weeks after being knocked out, because he was stiffed by the first fight's promoter and needed the money. Merlino provides an enhanced picture for anyone who wants to look past the glitz and glamour of the spotlights presented on television and see the grit and sacrifice required from anyone who wants to step into the octagon.
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Sports & Outdoors
  • Published: Oct 13, 2015
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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