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Are combat sports ethical?

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Ethics are moral principals that govern a person's behavior and the activities that they conduct. When thinking about starting combat sports, people will often ask themselves, are combat sports ethical?

We would class combat sports as ethical due to the fact that both fighters who participate in the sport sign up and know what they are getting themselves into. Using a martial art in a non-competitive environment would be unethical.

What are combat sports?

A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent, submitting the opponent with a hold or by disabling the opponent (knockout, KO). Combat sports share a long pedigree with the martial arts.

Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are all examples of combat sports.

Why are combat sports legal?

Whilst most combat sports are legal, there are some countries that still see some combat sports as illegal. Mixed Martial Arts is currently illegal in Norway and until recently was illegal in many other countries. However as the popularity and notoriety of the sports continues to grow, more and more countries decriminalise it and make it legal.

Combat sports such as Boxing have always been legal, this is probably due to the extremely long history that the sport has had. The first ever recorded boxing match took place in Britain between a butler and a butcher.

The main reason that combat sports are legal due to the fact that they are correctly organised fights with sanctioning bodies and that they are not intended to cause injury. Combat sports are also generators of large amounts of money, which is likely going to keep them being legal for a long time.

Are combat sports a sin?

Combat sports are not a sin and Christians can practice and compete in combat sports. As long as you treat the sport as a sport and not a way in which you can harm others then it is not a sin.

There are many high profile Christian MMA fighters such as Jon Jones, Yoel Romero, and Ben Henderson.


The struggle between what is ethical and what is not is a struggle that we all suffer with daily. When thinking about whether you should train and compete in a combat sport, we would suggest that it is completely fine and recommended to do so as long as you do it for the correct purposes.

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