• Sweden edition
 
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS IN SWEDEN
Blood, sweat and no fear: the UFC hits Stockholm

Blood, sweat and no fear: the UFC hits Stockholm

Published: 12 Apr 2012 13:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Apr 2012 13:37 GMT+02:00

The evening's fights, which will take place at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena, have sparked huge interest in Sweden as it’s the first UFC visit since Sweden legalized mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2008.

The event features four additional Swedish competitors besides Gustafsson, who claims that, despite the home-crowd advantage, he will be treating it as an ordinary fight.

“Everybody will be there supporting me and it will be a little bit strange since I have been abroad so much, but a fight is a fight and I will prepare as before,” he tells The Local.

“At the end of the day, it's just me and another fighter in the cage.”

“The Mauler” has only lost one of his fourteen fights and on Saturday he fights Brazilian Ju Jitsu black belt Thiago Silva.

A win would be Gustafsson’s fifth in a row and there are rumours that he will soon fight for the world championship.

However, it is not just Gustafsson who has sparked Sweden’s interest in the sport.

The fact that a live mixed martial arts live show will be performed in Stockholm has caused a surge in interest in Sweden.

Ryan O'Leary of the mixed martial arts fan website “MMA Viking” told The Local how gobsmacked he is by the fans' response.

“The site has received so many emails and messages through Facebook and Twitter, it has been crazy," he explains.

"Just from Scandinavia, we have had over 100,000 visitors, so you'd be surprised how many fans are discovering the sport."

As the new fans continue to pour in, Gustafsson himself is also predicting big things for the sport.

“It is not a mainstream sport yet, but after this event it will be, the people in Sweden are very open minded,” he said.

Since signing for the UFC, Gustafsson has been fighting all over the world, including Australia, Abu Dhabi and the US.

For the first time in three years, he will be fighting just over an hour away from his home town of Arboga in central Sweden.

But the sport’s popularity in Sweden has walked a long road.

Swedish egulations have been late in catching up with the popularity of combat sports abroad.

Boxing was banned for thirty years and an MMA ban was added in 2007.

In 2008 though, the ban was rescinded and a number of small MMA promotions have begun putting on events.

At the same time, MMA-focused gyms have sprung up all over Sweden.

O'Leary agrees that while the sport is not there yet, mainstream interest is where it is heading.

“It is surprising that everything has come together so quickly. Having the event at the Globe, where the NHL kicks off their season, says something about how far the sport has come," he says.

MMA is a young sport, with the first UFC event occurring in the US in 1993.

The sport has its roots deep in professional wrestling in Japan and no-holds-barred fighting in Brazil.

Modern competitors utilize skills from diverse arts such as boxing, wrestling, Ju Jitsu and kick boxing in a fight which can occur on the feet, against the cage wall or on the ground.

The bouts take place in a 1.5-metre tall steel cage, which is in place to prevent combatants from falling out. A bout can be won by knockout, technical knockout or submission (when a fighter gives up due to a choke or joint manipulation).

While it may sound brutal and can get bloody, mixed martial arts has a surprisingly healthy safety record, with no deaths or serious injuries having occurred in a UFC event.

That being said, broken bones and concussions are not uncommon.

While Sweden's first UFC event is big news, smaller promoters have been holding events featuring some of Europe's top talent for years.

Stockholm-based Superior Challenge is one such organization that has served as a starting point for some of Sweden's UFC stars.

Having cut their teeth in smaller shows, Reza Medadi, an experienced wrestler, Magnus Cedenblad, a young all-rounder, and Jorgen Kruth, a veteran kick boxer, all search for wins in their UFC debuts.

Success could be the start of a career as successful as Gustafsson's.

While the event at the Globe itself has sold out, fans can watch the event live on Canal+ Sport.

UFC fighters will also be making appearances around Stockholm to answer questions and UFC President Dana White will be conducting his traditional game of hide and seek on the streets of Stockholm, with fight night tickets as prizes.

With Gustafsson looking to maul himself one step closer to a world title, and four other fighters looking to cement their place on the biggest stage their sport offers, Swedish sport has a lot gain this weekend, as UFC continues fighting to become a mainstream sport in Sweden.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:25 April 12, 2012 by Achilles7
I love the way they keep referring to it as a 'sport' - and not only that, but to the fact that it is a 'growing sport'. Since when did punching and kicking somebody become a sport? At least with boxing they are wearing padded gloves and there are many rules.

And apparently it's safe, despite the fact that 'broken bones and concussions are not uncommon'. Hmm....

It makes you wonder about the type of people who enjoy this kind of thing...
18:59 April 12, 2012 by Rod Munch
@Achilles7-

It is a sport. Martial arts have been apart of the Olympics since their inception. The fighters wear padded gloves as well. Please look into this a little more before passing judgment.
19:21 April 12, 2012 by calebian22
Haven't been overly impressed with the Mauler so far. His bouts have been yawn fests. I'm very interested in seeing how he does against real competition like Silva. Homeless on the streets of Sau Paolo breeds a hunger that doesn't exist in Sweden.
21:37 April 12, 2012 by johan rebel
Who cares what consenting adults do to each other? And who cares what they call it?
23:57 April 12, 2012 by Exiled
Infomercial. A not-so-subtle form of advertising.
08:08 April 13, 2012 by Cephalectomy
#1 that dude should look up the definition of sport again
17:27 April 13, 2012 by Svensksmith
Actually, achilles, MMA participants are some of the most well conditioned athletes on the planet. Much more so thay, say, golfers.
15:13 April 14, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
This crap is hardly a "sport". Only people with brains the size of peas would be a fan of such a dumbed down caveman-like spectacle.
05:42 April 16, 2012 by jomamas
This is a great sport.

To all of you losers condemning this as 'sport' - in fact, it is the ORIGINAL SPORT, practiced by cultures before and during the original Olympics. (Usually naked and oiled up!)

It is far more fair that boxing and a better measure than other forms of martial arts.

It is a true test.

The fighters are highly disciplined, courageous, and have a great deal of respect for one another. They are not 'aggressive' jerks - that is the audience.

It's the people in the audience that are the problem, not the competitors.
12:21 April 16, 2012 by EtoileBrilliant
"Who cares what consenting adults do to each other? And who cares what they call it?"

No one apparently. DN gave two pages over to on on Sunday and had to admit that the stands were less than 10% full.

Don't believe the hype!
17:32 April 16, 2012 by Rod Munch
The event was absolutely awesome. One of the better UFC cards this year so far. The gate did over $2 million. The haters can keep hating but this is the fastest rising sport in the world so get used to it.
15:01 April 17, 2012 by RosemarysBaby80
MMA is a sport for fighters how aren't particularly good at any one style of fighting. So they take refuge with other back ally brawlers and call it Ultimate Fighting.

It's a disgrace to all styles of boxing and martial arts.
Today's headlines
Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

682
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se