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12 Best MMA Biography Books Worth Reading

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best mma books

1. Heart For The Fight – Brian Stann

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Heart For The Fight - Brian Stann

Few fighters can hold a candle to Stann’s life story. Before he was a fighter Stann had already lived more than most, rising up the ranks as a marine to become a decorated war hero, leading a group of marines during the now famous ‘Operation Matador’ in Iraq which would earn him the Silver Star.

Of course he then successfully transitioned into MMA, becoming a WEC champion and made a significant impact inside and outside of the Octagon during his time in the UFC.

Both aspects of his life are fascinating and ensure this is one of the most impressive fighter biographies to date.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“This is the story of a kid from the wrong side of Scranton who made it to the Naval Academy, played linebacker for the Navy football team for four years, became a Marine officer, graduated first in his infantry officer class, led his men in two intense combat tours in the Anbar Province, received the Silver Star for gallantry, and now has emerged as one of the most interesting figures on the mixed martial arts (MMA) professional circuit.”

2. Iceman – My Fighting Life – Chuck Liddell

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Iceman My Fighting Life by Chuck Liddell

Arguably the most famous and instantly recognizable fighter of all time, Liddell was one of the first fighter’s to put his life story on paper and it’s a fun trip down memory lane.

The book offers up an insight into Liddell’s life before fighting, and then his meteoric rise to superstardom which just so happened to coincide with the UFC’s own explosion in popularity.

It’s a fast read and if you ever wanted to experience what it was like during the UFC’s initial ‘boom’ period then surely there’s no better way to do it than through the eyes of ‘The Iceman’.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“What’s it like to have no fear, to make people cower in their shoes, to know the sweet satisfaction of knocking a guy out with a single, devastating punch? Now everyone can find out by reading Chuck Liddell’s autobiography.”

3. Got Fight? – Forrest Griffin

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Got Fight by Forrest Griffin

Truth be told, this isn’t really a traditional autobiography. Instead ‘Got Fight?’ gives Griffin a chance to flex his humor muscles while dispensing his own unique, unconventional take on life and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

He does talk about his approach to fighting and how he got into the MMA business, but the book has a broader scope than just that, while never taking the subject matter too seriously.

When all is said and done it’s an entertaining, laugh-out-loud read.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“Mixing his fighting tips with his own booming personality and his trademark sense of humour, Forrest creates his own unique, self-depricating version of self-help. In these pages, you will learn about true mental toughness – whether it’s scraping it out in the Octagon or picking up chicks.”

4. Let’s Get It On – Big John McCarthy

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Lets Get It On by Big John McCarthy

‘Big’ John McCarthy remains to this day the most iconic referee in all of mixed martial arts, but there’s much more to his story than that.

His association with the sport goes right back to the beginnings of the UFC and he even had a significant role in shaping how it evolved including establishing the rule-set used today, not to mention his career as an LAPD officer.

With that in my mind ‘Big’ John has pretty much seen it all and has plenty of stories to tell as a result, making this a fascinating read.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“An intimate profile of the legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) referee, this first full-length autobiography of pop culture icon “Big” John McCarthy details every aspect of his life – from his strong-handed Los Angeles upbringing to his involvement in the naming of the sport, his role in its regulation, and MMA’s rise in stature.”

5. Blood In The Cage – Pat Miletich

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Blood In The Cage by Pat Miletich

This book takes a unique approach in attempting to depict the rise of MMA using former UFC champion Pat Miletich as it’s primary focus.

It’s a well written book that does a good job of peering behind the curtain of the sport in it’s formative years while simultaneously pulling no punches in detailing Miletich’s rough road to the top.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“Blood in the Cage takes readers behind the scenes, right down to the mat, from a punch in the kidney to the ping of the cash register, as Wertheim brilliantly exposes the no-holds-barred reality of the blood sport for a new generation.”

6. From The Fields To The Garden: The Life Of Stitch Duran

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From The Fields To The Garden: The Life Of Stitch Duran

There’s more to MMA than just the fighters. Some of the unsung heroes are the men behind the scenes who keep the show running while remaining out of the spotlight, and amongst them is ‘Stitch’ Duran who’s been the cut man for countless fighters, not only in mixed martial arts, but also in boxing too.

That’s put him in the middle of some of the biggest moments in combat history and offered him a unique perspective on both sports.

As such it’s no surprise that he’s been able to offer up one of the best books about the sport to date.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“From a humble beginning in a dirt-poor migrant camp where he picked cotton and fruit with dreams of playing baseball and seeing the world, to being stationed in Thailand as a member of the United States Air Force, to the quiet of the locker room before a big fight, to the center of the cage in the middle of chaos, to the stadiums of Japan, to the arenas of Las Vegas, and ultimately to the lights of Madison Square Garden as the most famous cutman in combat sports … this is the life of Stitch Duran.”

7. Little Evil – Jens Pulver

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Little Evil by Jens Pulver

Pulver is a beloved former UFC champion, but beneath his charismatic exterior and enormous heart there lies a tortured soul.

In this book, he reveals all about the abuse he received from his father as a child and how that shaped the man he was to become.

That makes it as raw and insightful an MMA biography about as your likely to find.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“For Pulver, eternally trapped in the nightmare of his childhood, victory was his only chance of salvation and his fists his only means of escape.”

8. Becoming The Natural – Randy Couture

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Becoming the Natural by Randy Couture

Couture is undoubtedly one of mixed martial arts true legends and in many ways appeared to have lived a fairytale existence, but it wasn’t always that way.

From an unsettled childhood to a career in the army, his struggles trying to achieve his sporting dreams and troubled relationships, there’s more to Couture’s story than you might realize.

Of course, as you might expect the book also delivers plenty of insight into his remarkable MMA career too.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“Becoming the Natural is the remarkable story of one of the world’s most gifted and dedicated athletes — a born fighter whose skill and showmanship have helped to lift mixed martial arts out of the shadows and into the mainstream.”

9. The Way of The Fight – GSP

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The Way of the Fight by Georges St Pierre

Georges St.Pierre has always valued his privacy and has done a remarkably good job of keeping his private life just that despite his superstar status, so it’s no suprise that his book doesn’t give much away in that regard.

What he does do however is lay down in detailed terms how he became one of the best fighters in the sports history.

Take it for what it is and it offers a great insight into what it takes to be a champion of the highest caliber.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“GSP is a moving account of commitment and power, achievement and pain, dedication and conviction from one of the world’s greatest champions.”

10. The Voice Of Reason – Chael Sonnen

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The Voice Of Reason by Chael Sonnen

Like Forrest Griffin’s book, Sonnen abandons the usual life story format so if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll be disappointed.

Instead, he writes about a variety of topics (some, but not all MMA related), in the often hilarious, always opinionated and unflinchingly direct manner that we’ve come to expect from the man who many have labeled the best talker in all of sports.

It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re a fan of Sonnen’s persona then it’s easy to recommend this.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“Like all men of myth and legend, Sonnen strives for the betterment of the human race. Prometheus brought us fire; Dana White brought us the modern-day gladiator; and Chael P. Sonnen now brings us the step-by-step guide to being a great human being and patriot.”

11. Made In America – Matt Hughes

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Made In America by Matt Hughes

An interesting read largely due to the fact that, perhaps unintentionally, it paints a somewhat unflattering portrait at times of the former welterweight champion.

Amongst other things it also details what went down during Lee Murray and Tito Ortiz’s now infamous street fight in the back-streets of London after a UFC show years ago.

Overall, it’s perhaps not an essential read, but certainly an interesting curiosity.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“Here he recounts his sensational rise to stardom, from growing up on the family farm in Illinois to breaking records in the octagon in front of 20,000 live fans and 4 million television viewers.”

12. The Laws Of The Ring – Urijah Faber

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The Laws Of The Ring by Urijah Faber

In this book he offers his ‘Laws Of The Ring’, making this almost akin to a self-help book with plenty of inspiring advice backed up by examples of how he’s applied this in his own life.

From The Manufacturer’s Description:

“Part manifesto for success, personal journey, and meditation on a well-lived life, The Laws of the Ring is filled with funny, provocative, and inspirational stories for a colorful glimpse into the rise of a young superstar, and the philosophy behind his accomplishments. With clear-eyed perspective and down-to-earth advice, Urijah zeroes in on getting the life you want—and living it to the fullest.”

Rohan is a Freelance Writer and Digital Nomad who loves all things related to technology, men’s style, grooming, fitness, and — above all else — travel. When not hunkered down over his laptop in some co-working space, he can often be found hiking through unchartered territories and exploring new cities across the globe.

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