ELI5: How are mma fighters so resistant to being attacked?

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Yeah they also feel the pain afterwards. It’s partially what you mentioned about the adrenaline masking their pain, and partially their mindset towards pain. A lot of them simply have a high pain tolerance and they’ll somply ignore the pain. I’ve even heard fighters say things like “pain isn’t real, it’s just your mind letting you know that something is wrong” etc. and many of them simply refuse to allow pain to be a factor. Fighting is clearly not for everyone. There’s a reason why the ones who have that tough, unbreakable mindset towards pain are the ones who end up being successful


I boxed for 15 years and I think the biggest thing you are not considering is fighters learn how to take a punch. Learning to roll with punches greatly reduces the damage they do. This is clearly demonstrated when you see fights where one fighter gets a surprise blow in that the other fighter wasn’t prepared for and the fight suddenly ends. It wasn’t that the punch that landed was some sort of super punch just that it caught the other fighter off guard. Also a lot of the punches thrown (especially in boxing) are not thrown with full strength because speed is prioritized over power. This is especially seen with the lighter weight classes. Heavy weight fighting requires a completely different strategy due to the simple fact that the blows that land are so much more powerful.


I’m a retired Muay Thai fighter and mixed martial artist (30 years old currently). Have had hundreds of fights. I can add a few pieces of info here. 1. The daily training year after year conditions your body to take blows. Especially Muay Thai which I can say whole heartedly is FAR more brutal of a fight sport than MMA. Every practice we would spend 20 or so minutes shin condition with wood rolling pins up and down the shins. Same with arms with a partner. Throughout practices it’s very common to get cracked with dowel rod. Constant heavy bag kicking followed by road running conditions the shins as well as daily sparring. Takes quite a while to build up enough calcium deposits on your shins to be able to check kicks and it not effect you ( if checked correctly ). This carries over into overall body training, through repeatedly being struck over and over and over your body develops tiny micro tears, which heal stronger everytime. The body essentially senses these as weak spots and goes to work at strengthening these areas as a means of self preservation. The face is a bit of a different story. Some fighters are just born to not swell much where others swell and cut quite easily. A fighters chin is usually genetic… but what it really comes down to is learning how to not get hit in the face lol, learning how to take punches properly ( seeing them as they come and rolling with them so they glance ), and having a good cutman. Before fights I would cold treat my face to reduce blood flow, corner will rub Vaseline on eyebrows and other parts of face to make skin more elastic and make punches glance or slide ( leather glove to a dry face will fuck your face up real quick. I’m between rounds, cold steel is rubbed on swollen areas, cotton swab with epinephrine is pressed on open cuts or inside the nose to stop bleeding. A great cut man can take a fucked up face and make it look 10x better in a flash. Adrenaline does play a huge roll during a fight. Also if you’ve been punched in the face thousands of times, it’s not anything new to you. Same with the body. However one solid shot to the liver when your breath is not in control will drop just about anyone, and that shit hurts more than fuckin anything. Hard truth. After the fight, if it was a battle, often times I’d be in the shower pissin blood, shitting blood, throwing up, and in fucking agony. Days after cant tie your own shoes, grip a fork to eat, heads in a haze etc. Especially if the weight cut for the fight didn’t go as planned.. Nowadays incredible advances in technology have helped tremendously with post fight recovery. Compression therapy, cold laser therapy, cryotherapy etc. regardless it can take months for fighters to fully heal from a long battle… and most of my fights as well as many many others, are fought while your still healing from the last one. Especially in Amateur ranks. You’re usually fighting every other weekend doing whatever you can to get recognized. Any top fighter you know of 99% of the time has a perfect undefeated record in amateur and usually stomp anyone across from them. Unfortunately a majority of fighters fall into the other category: getting stomped on lol. String together a few ass whippings in a row and you’ll know damn quick if you want to be apart of the fight world. I loved my time in it despite the now 10 different surgeries I’ve had as a result. Do I still “train”… yes. Do I take fights? Helllll no 😂 I do miss the rush but I’ll never EVER miss pissing blood.


There’s a reason most professional high level boxers only fight like once every six months once they get a say in it, and high level boxers are known for having more privilege’s and prestige than MMA fighters. Even then the reputation for professional fighters is that to really do well you need to either be this legacy who’s been in it since you could walk, or so desperate and poor the usually not that great money is your best shot at getting out of poverty, or both. They feel the pain and take the damage, then they spend months afterwards in recovery. Then they have to go through the whole cycle of cutting for their next fight and do it all over again. It’s a fucking brutal lifestyle that a lot of them pay dearly for later on in life but you don’t really see that when you’re looking at a match in a few short rounds at a time where they have barely enough time to *almost* catch their breath and then you don’t see the next several weeks of bruises and concussions and fractures.


I think they do. They’re not superhuman, they also feel pain but it’s the adrenaline that takes care of the pain, unless it’s something like breaking a leg that’ll hurt ofcourse