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More Hispanics Practice Mixed Martial Arts

Rumbo, Posted: Jul 14, 2008

HOUSTON The growing number of mixed martial arts (MMA) gyms in this city see an increasing Hispanic presence, according to Spanish-language Rumbo newspaper. "I'm sure we're already the majority," said George Paz, a Colombian soccer player-turned-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist. He said a large number of soccer players now use their kicking skills in the ring. Robert Perz, one of the city's best known trainers, coaches 20 fighters. Three-quarters are Hispanic. The sport is very popular with second-generation Latinos, whose parents enjoyed boxing, Paz said. MMA is a mix of Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, Muay Thai, and Greco-Roman wrestling. It requires much versatility on the athlete's part to learn, apply, and combine different disciplines. The majority of fighters do not compete more than four times per year in the demanding sport.

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