Christianity, Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts: Reflections on Morality, Vocation, and Well-Being

Nick J Watson, Brian Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Downloads (Pure)


This essay provides a theological analysis of two violent combat sports, boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA, also known as cage fighting). The titles of the biographies of a number of well-known professional Christian boxers, such as God in My Corner (Foreman) and Humble Warrior (Holyfield) and the fact that “roughly 700 churches in the United States have begun incorporating MMA into their ministry in some capacity” (Borer and Schafer: 167) raises a host of ethical quandaries and seeming paradoxes for the theologian. However, aside from a handful of essays in popular literature, there is to our knowledge very little academic theological reflection on boxing and MMA. After giving a brief history of boxing and MMA, the essay provides a theological ethical critique and assessment, providing suggestions as to how Christians and churches should think about these activities and how they can advise others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Religion and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • boxing
  • mixed martial arts
  • Christianity
  • mortality
  • well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'Christianity, Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts: Reflections on Morality, Vocation, and Well-Being'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this