The first inside account of the sensational new sport of mixed martial arts, seen through the lens of its pioneer, Pat Miletich, “the patron saint of badass” Based on unlimited access to the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its rival leagues, Blood in the Cage peers through the chain-link Octagon into the frighteningly seductive world of mixed martial arts, which is exploding in popularity despite resistance from every corner.Wertheim focuses on Pat Miletich, a mixed-martial-arts pioneer and six-time UFC champion, who currently runs the most famous MMA training school in the world. Single-handedly Miletich has transformed a gritty town on the banks of the Mississippi into an unlikely hotbed for his sport.He has also transformed many an average Joe into a walking weapon of destruction.

Wertheim intertwines Miletich’s own life story, by turns tragic and triumphant, with the larger story of the unholy rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, from its controversial, back alley roots to the fastest-growing sporting enterprise in America. For fans of Jeff MacGregor’s Sunday Money and Sam Sheridan’s A Fighter’s Heart, 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.


This is the first inside account of the sensational new sport of mixed martial arts, seen through the lens of its pioneer, Pat Miletich, “the patron saint of badass”


The author takes you on a dual journey of sorts as he details the life of Pat Miletich and the rise of the UFC, which although they started their respective lives at different times, they were destined to come together with the results being not only favorable for each, but also inevitable. Can one truly say that either one would be what they are today without the other? I don’t think so.



The book works as this bizarre journeyman guide into the UFC. What kills me about it is how something about a blood sport can be so dry. It took so incredibly long to get through the book due to multiple stops. Works about extreme violence and sport should never read like a maintenance manual. But, Wertheim treaded that line a lot. 


If you’re an average MMA fan or a newbie, you might not have a lot of insight here. But, it’s enough to capture your interested. It’s just that when you balance that neophyte standing with such dense writing, it’s intimidating. That’s why I can’t recommend the work to just about everyone. 


The story of Pat Miletich is interesting and one that deserves to be told. It’s just that it feels like it would’ve worked better as a documentary than a book. Amazing visuals can paint a better picture than what feels like a prolonged series of magazine articles. Hopefully, this work will illicit a response from HBO Sports or another group to make that theoretical documentary. Oh well, if you’re a hardcore sports fan…you’ll love it. Everyone else should just skim. 

RELEASE DATE: January 15th, 2009


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