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MMA hits MRU

The world’s fastest growing sport has come to Mount Royal University.

The modern manifestation of mixed martial arts (MMA) exploded onto the sporting scene in 1993 when the Ultimate Fighting Championships was founded.
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Tim Kessler believes that within the next couple years mixed martial arts will become a highly competitive sport at the varsity level.

Dubbed by some as a cultural phenomenon due to its meteoric rise from the underground to mainstream sports, MMA is now a multi-million dollar business.

Tim Kessler, a second-year student in the Bachelor of Applied Business and Entrepreneurship, Sport and Recreation program, has created TIKE MMA Club, Canada’s first recreational post-secondary MMA club.

Kessler, who has studied martial arts for most of his life, recognized that there was a need to create TIKE MMA Club just from spending his time at Mount Royal’s gym.

“I noticed that a lot of avid gym users were using equipment like the heavy bags for striking and some of the mats for grappling,” says Kessler.

As a result, Kessler founded his club so that those interested in harnessing the fitness aspect of MMA could have their own space to try this unique sport.

“We welcome anyone at any experience level to join the club,” Kessler says. “You don’t have to have a background in martial arts to participate.”
TIKE MMA Club began in Jan. 2010 and will continue running over the summer right into the next academic year.

The club currently has about 15 regulars with about four drop-in participants who work out on Tuesday and Thursday in the Multi-purpose Room (U133) at Mount Royal.

Although Kessler has been studying martial arts for most of his life, it’s the lifestyle and the business aspect that he enjoys most about this endeavour.

In fact, Kessler has much bigger plans for TIKE MMA beyond Mount Royal and Calgary.

“We want MMA to become an intercollegiate sport,” he says. “We hope to have clubs up and running all over Western Canada within the next two years.”

While many may think that MMA is just about fighting and aggression, the sport itself is constantly evolving and clubs such as TIKE MMA Club are emphasizing the new trend towards functional training.

Kessler worked with a trainer from Mount Royal Recreation during the club’s first month to ensure that the club has been teaching proper physical education.

“MMA has athletes that are in the best shape out of any other sport,” says Kessler.

“There are so many more fringe benefits to training in MMA.”

Kessler works with participants by coaching them not only in the sport but also with things like leadership and goal-setting.

“I’m very big on personal development and want to help people become champions of their own lives,” he says.

Kessler is even working on his own personal development to ensure the success and continued improvement of his club.

He is currently working towards his MMA Conditioning Coach certification through the National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association, which he will complete in May.

If you are interested in finding out more about mixed martial arts contact the TIKE MMA Club directly by e-mailing Kessler.

MMA is explosive in the octagon and in the bank as well

According to Entrepreneur magazine, last year's revenue from Zuffa, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting, was $300,000,000.

With legions of fans filling fight night seats no matter the location of an event and millions of viewers for marquis events, MMA is here to stay and can now be found right here on campus.

— Fred Cheney, March 4, 2010