Question:

I had always wondered if combat sports like boxing and MMA sinful? I know that MMA looks brutal on TV, but in reality it is not as raw as it seems. No one in the UFC has gotten a bad injury that could of led to death. So is practicing such sports sinful?

Answer:

Like many things, it would depend on the purpose. The Israelites practiced warfare at the direction of the Lord, which is definitely violent, but it wasn't done for entertainment. I used to do Tae Kwon Do, but I did it for exercise and to learn self-defense. What has to be watched for is chasing after a "sport" because you like watching people getting injured. Or worse, thinking that problems can be solved through violence. A qualification of an elder is a man who is not violent (I Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).

"A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good" (Proverbs 16:29).

"Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men who have purposed to trip up my feet" (Psalms 140:4).

"Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked, whoever treads on them does not know peace" (Isaiah 59:7-8).

None of these are in the same category of a violent sport where two challengers compete under rules. But I hope you can see how such events can get out of hand with some people.