5 Stories Highlight the Intimate and Powerful World of Combat Sports

Ready for a fight? Don’t worry, I jest. The Phoblographer would never encourage our readers to step into the realm of combat. However, we do love combat sports, and we especially love it when photographers document the heat of battle. We’ve done many stories over the years that focus on fight photography, and below are some of the very best of them. Enjoy.

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Kevin Lynch Doucments Combat Sports and the UFC

Forrest Griffin

The UFC is one of the most popular combat sports organizations in the world. It has had to work hard to be accepted, with states like New York only recently licensing fights. Beyond the tough-guy persona, the fighters are humans. They’re normal men and women, just like you and I. Photographer Kevin Lynch documented that for the best part of a decade. He made pre and post-fight portraits of the athletes and really became connected to them. It’s beautiful. Take a look here.

Katerina Gregoriou Incorporates Combat Sports Into Shattered Glass

Katerina Gregoriou is an exceptionally talented photographer. We interviewed her back in early 2020 and took a closer look at her photography series, Shattered Glass. The work aimed to uplift women who were involved in jobs and social groups traditionally reserved for men. Part of the work involved photographing a woman who sumo wrestles, a sport where you’d seldom find women. You can read about it here.

Greg Bowl Shoots Entertaining Combat Sports

Professional wrestling struggles to find its identity. Is it entertainment, or is it combat sports? Either way, it involves combat, even if it is scripted and staged. Greg Bowl was making images of pro wrestling way before it went global. He sent us his series, and we loved it so much we arranged an interview. He has many cool stories to tell and plenty of awesome photos to share. Take a look here.

Erin Lefevre Shares Fight Like a Woman

Way back in 2015, Erin Lefevre joined us to share her photography project, Fight Like a Woman. The work covered professional fighter Casey Morton. Rather than create a bunch of action shots, Lefevre delved into what happens behind the scenes in the life of a professional boxer. It’s fight photography that thinks outside the box and it’s fascinating stuff that’s certainly worth your time and attention. See the images here.

August Udoh Shows Us the World of One-Handed Fighting

Dambe fighting was born in West Africa. Back in the day, butchers and fishermen were the main competitors. However, today the sport is enjoyed by people from variant backgrounds. Unlike traditional boxing, fighters can only use one hand and fight over three rounds. Photographer August Udoh made some terrific portraits of local fighters and shared the history behind the West African sport. Take a look here.

Do You Photograph Combat Sports?

Whether you like combat sports or not, they’re here to stay. There’s something intimate about two people going into battle. If you study the sports, you’ll recognize the strong bond two fighters have after the war is over. Because of the emotions and psychology linked to combat sports, they’re a perfect subject for photographers to document. If you have some cool fight photography that goes beyond what the mainstream sees and your work shows something deeper, send it to us. You can use the form above to make contact, and if we like it, we’ll certainly be in touch.

Do you like combat sports? What do you think of the examples shown above? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Lead image by Kevin Lynch. All images used with permission.

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Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host of professional photographers within the industry.