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Guest TSMAdmin

Review of 'Brawl' by Erich Krauss

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Guest TSMAdmin

Of all the books released in the last few months about pro wrestling and pro wrestling related topics, none have received as little press as 'Brawl' by Erich Krauss and Bret Aita. If UFC was a subject in a high school history class, Brawl would be the textbook. It gives a detailed history on the subject of MMA, focusing primarily on the UFC, their early days with the first real "stars" of the sport, and the battle against ill-motivated politicians who set out to kill the rising sport.


Brief biographies on early UFC stars like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Sever, David "Tank" Abbott and a host of others outline the opening few chapters of the book. It gives a fascinating history of Helio Grace and his formation of Brazilian Jiu Jiutsu to Rorion Gracie's formation of the first UFC to showcase the world the dominance of BJJ. It succeeded, as Helio's son and Rorion's brother Royce, the first superstar of the sport, plowed through the competition with ease, including a victory over boxer Art Jimmerson, who was ranked 10th by the WBC at that time with a professional record of 29-5. This shattered the myth that pro boxers could "walk through" martial artists, proving pretty much the exact opposite.


The highlight of the book, though, is the detail of the UFC and MMA in general's battle against politicians who wanted the sport dead and buried, led by Republican Senator John McCain. Krauss outlines in detail how McCain's

wife is heir to the Budweiser/Anheuser-Busch family legacy, and the Budweiser is one of boxing's largest sponsors. The business of boxing was taking a direct hit from the emergence of MMA and the UFC in particular in the form of Pay Per View revenue, as more and more people were becoming interested in UFC as the events kept coming. Jimmerson's comedic loss to Gracie at UFC 1 didn't help matters much either. Krauss details the battle between MMA and Cain and his cronies, detailing why the cable ban was put into effect and what the UFC did to get past it (and what happended to the rest of the major MMA promotions in North America from the early days, which wasn't as storybook), and what led to UFC being sold to



Puroresu and Japanese MMA fans will also find the history of MMA in Japan to be very interesting. Krauss is obviously a fan and has taken time to research of pro wrestling and MMA in Japan. Pride Fighting is also covered to a certain extent, although the primary focus of the book is on UFC and North American MMA in general.


The book is far from perfect, though. Krauss details the history of MMA exceptionally well but gives little insight into the actual business of fighting itself. You don't put the book down with a new respect for the athletes of this sport, and the book doesn't give you the slightest clue to what the dangers of fighting in this sport are, and what the fighters do to cope. This is all especially disappointing for two reasons: that the book was labeled as 'a behind-the-scenes look at MMA competition', which it is not (it's a history guide), and Krauss himself is a fighter. If anyone is qualified to write about the pressures and the pain that MMA fighters deal with day in and day out, it would be an actual fighter. But Krauss writes about none of this and instead chooses to focus on the history of MMA, basically telling you where it was and

how it got to where it is now.


Overall, Brawl would make for a very good companion to the HBO movie The Smashing Machine as, from reviews that I've read (I won't see the movie until 1/12), Machine covers everything that Brawl misses. Brawl, however, is a great book for novice MMA fans, people who have just gotten tuned into UFC after the Zuffa deal or even after UFC 40 (the book was printed before that event), but to someone who has followed MMA for years and knows the background of the sport and it's early-days stars, it's nothing more than a reminder of everything that has happened to shape it to what it is now. Definitely recommended for the novice UFC fan, and an enjoyable history guide to the long-time fan.


If you enjoyed this review and want to read many more like it about both MMA and pro wrestling, you can pick up a subscription to my print newsletter Touch Of Evil. This past week we took a long look at Tank Abbott's fighting career and what I think will happen in his fight with Frank Mir, plus reviews of last week's Raw, NWA-TNA from 1/22, and tons, tons, and even tons more. Next week we'll take a look at Hulk Hogan's return to WWE and what they can possibly do with him after a feud with Vince McMahon, we review the 1/23 Smackdown, next week's Raw, next week's NWA-TNA pay per view, we have a review (the first in a series of four) of ECW commercial tapes, this week highlighting a best of tape titled "Deep Impact". We review the K-1 Grand Prix from last December and the Zero One Truth Creation pay per view from the same month, plus lots more opinion and tons of news from all around the MMA and pro wrestling globe. You can get your subscription started by clicking the link above.



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