While mixed martial arts have grown rapidly in North America, research on the sport is still lacking, leaving a great deal of uncharted territory for young academics like Jimmy El-Turk and Adam Ali to navigate.
Both master’s students in the university’s kinesiology department, El-Turk and Ali have conducted qualitative research on the legacy that hosting MMA events in Windsor will have on the community, the likelihood for the sport’s survival and the motivations of women who participate in the sport.
“There’s really not a lot of research that’s been done in this area,” said El-Turk, who conducted interviews with about dozen experts connected to the sport including sport administrators, facility managers, trainers and promoters.
Ali, meanwhile, focused his attention on 13 women who train at a gym in London, Ontario, who use MMA as a way to stay in shape. A small portion of them, however, actually compete in the sport.
“The ones who are training competitively have a few role models to look up to, but most of the women who are training in mixed martial arts are doing it just because it’s a very unique way to stay in shape,” he said.
Ali and El-Turk will appear today on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that focuses on the work of University of Windsor researchers and airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.