chapter  12
Caged quandaries
Mixed martial arts and the politics of research
WithMatthew A. Masucci, Ted M. Butryn
Pages 14

This chapter offers a real-world examination, self-reflection, and critique of the often contradictory goals of academic pursuits in the ongoing project of the research on mixed martial arts (MMA). It draws on sport studies and cultural sport psychology (CSP) research that, in general terms, has cultural praxis at its core, and, more particularly, utilize a narrative autoethnographic approach that makes use of reflection and storied representation to help contextualize the ongoing examination of the meaning and value of sport psychology-based research on MMA. The chapter focuses on methodological and paradigmatic issues related to two studies that it the author conducted at an MMA gym, and on his own experiences training there. It expresses that the sport psychology researchers should address issues of athlete agency and empowerment, identity politics, and economic issues in their future work. If possible integrating these issues into studies aimed at developing successful mental training techniques and other performance-enhancing protocols.