April 08, 2011
Jack Goodson examines the link between mixed martial arts and CrossFit.
Fight Gone Bad—famed mixed martial artist B.J. Penn named it. CrossFitters both love and fear it.
The workout, a benchmark in the CrossFit community, was designed to match the metabolic demands of an organized MMA fight. Five minutes on, 1 minute off for 3-5 rounds. Sounds simple enough.
Sure. Words such as “brutal” or “savage”—and assorted others—come to mind when describing just how taxing this workout is. Penn, when quizzed on how it compared to an actual bout in the cage, commented that it was akin to a fight gone bad. The rest, as they say, is history.
CrossFit has grown exponentially since CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman teamed with Penn to name this monster at the turn of the millennium. As of 2011, the number of affiliate gyms has increased from 18 in 2005 to over 2,400. Astounding. Perhaps the only comparable realm to experience a similar growth in popularity over the past decade is, of course, mixed martial arts.
These two disciplines have been linked for several years, even prior to Penn’s foray into Glassman’s world of functional fitness. They appear, at least on the surface, to be vastly different. However, the parallels between the two reach far deeper than many would likely expect.