Violence and religion have been one of the primary forces in human history. Now there is a fusion of the two with a new craze for 700 cage-fighting church ministeries across the U.S.
"God loves cage fighting," says pastor John Richards of Columbus, OH. And Mark Beelzebub, a well-known, US-based evangelical pastor and Mixed Martial arts fan states "Jesus was a fighter. And as a pastor, as a bible teacher, I think God made men masculine… Men are made for combat, men are made for dominion. That's why I encourage people in my congregation to engage in amateur MMA.
MMA is a combination of kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Greco-Roman wrestling and Thai boxing. The Fighters brutally inflict pain by hitting, kicking, kneeing, and throwing elbows to crush their opponents into submission. Some have called it a "blood sport" and "human cockfighting."
It is all in the tradition of "muscular Christianity" which dates back to the 19th century when pastors tried to recruit young men into their churches by countering the "feminization of the church."
"Participating in Amatuer MMA brings young mento my church and, therefore to Jesus. Sure there's a bunch of medical evidence shows the risk of traumatic brain injury, psychiatric conditions, concussion, and irreversible brain damage. But bringing youth to Jesus is worth it," says minister Robert Lipzo of Long Beach, CA.
His church's MMA champion Brian "The Demon" Dragon says "I wouldn't have a prayer life if I didn't beat people to a pulp. It makes me feel close to God. But if I get beat up that's
Finally, Paul "The Serpent" Buress, MMA Christian fighter of Syracuse NY., stated, "I know that having my foot on sombody's throat says that I'm not loving my neighbor. But after the fight's over, if he isn't too crippled, we shake hands and are friends. I'd say that that's brotherly love that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would approve of."