Tom Hyde / Fight Night

Posted December 10, 2011

Tom Hyde is a photographer living in Washington State, USA. He is a member of Statement Images.

Broken noses, broken ribs, blood on the white mat and hurt pride were on the fight card Saturday night as young amateur Mixed Martial Arts contenders fought their way up shooting for a shot at the pros and big money.

In just the past five years, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has jumped from an underground sport to one of the hottest new entertainment powerhouses complete with clothing lines. In 2010, pay-per-view MMA events in the United States raked in estimated figures in the hundreds of millions in gross sales putting it on par with boxing and wrestling. In fact, with younger viewers, MMA has likely surpassed boxing in popularity.

It is both a burgeoning cultural phenomena and a major new emerging business market. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest of the commercial MMA ventures, has an estimated worth of $1 billion to $2 billion on Wall Street. In 2011, Nike started a new MMA division for its sports clothing line and began endorsing fighters.

More photos from this series can be seen here.