Allowing History to Guide Us: Saleh Stevens’ New Book Brings MMA’s Past to the Present

MMA has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I always made the mistaken assumption that everyone I came into contact with while training, competing and coaching had the same level of understanding regarding MMA’s storied past. Once I began coaching full-time, I made passing mention of the sport of pankration while speaking with one of my pupils, and I was surprised to learn that he had no clue what it was I was talking about.

After asking some of my other students whether they understood different aspects of MMA’s history, I discovered that there was a large segment of competitors who were entirely unfamiliar with how our sport came to be. This is the reason I felt compelled to write “Saleh Stevens’ History of MMA: From Rome to Today.”

Once I had completed the research and finished writing the first few drafts of the book, I shared the unfinished text with Brandon Colker and Halden Zimmermann. While discussing the contents of the book, Brandon agreed to work with me on the final draft while Halden agreed to write the introduction. With their help and guidance, I feel an incredible sense of pride that I have been able to share the great story of MMA’s growth over the course of many centuries.

Upon its publication, I asked Halden and Brandon to share some of their thoughts on the book along with the inherent value of understanding the history of MMA.

“Working with Saleh and Brandon on this book was a true pleasure, and I am proud to have made a contribution to the finished text,” said Halden. “I was as surprised as Saleh to find out that so many MMA competitors were simply unaware of the exceptional history of this beautiful sport. This book is an absolutely critical resource for fighters and fans alike.”

Brandon also shared his perspective, saying, “History is an incredibly useful guide in just about every circumstance, and MMA’s progress over the years has been the result of the innovations made by those who clearly understand the sport’s past. Fighters who read Saleh’s book will gain a deeper understanding of the philosophies that guide their training and the strategies they are advised to use in competition.”

Publishing this book on the history of MMA has given me hope that fighters, trainers and fans will develop a deeper sense of the sport’s origins and its most important figures. Our goal was to entertain and to inform, and I believe that Brandon, Halden and myself have accomplished this and more with the publication of “Saleh Stevens’ History of MMA: From Rome to Today.”