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Martial Arts/pro mma fighter vs. US. Navy SEAL


matt wrote at 2007-12-06 21:07:38
I would agree with Olsen for the most part. Except that fighters like randy couture are in as good of conditioning as a SEAL. There are some fighters like rich franklin and sean sherk that are at the level of fitness as a SEAL. As for a fight...Navy SEALs rely mostly on having a weapon (i.e. a rifle or at least a knife) as a last case senerio they use hand to hand combat so this being the case SEALs are not extremely trained in pure hand to hand combat. So if it was a cage match where both fighters have setup and preparation, I would give the edge to the world class fighter. If it was on the street and was a fight of surprise such as an agruement turned violent then the SEAL would most likely win, do to the training of real life techniques and aggressiveness SEALs have. MMA fighters dont train with subtle movements wrist locks, eye gouging, and anything of that sort. SEALs train to kill

Fightguy420 wrote at 2008-01-24 07:40:01
the second part of that is rediculous. Even on the street, if the seal got the jump on mma guy, the fight would be won on the ground for sure. MMA guy would have VASTLY more ground training  

J Nav wrote at 2008-02-05 20:58:30
An pro MMA fighter would whoop on a SEAL/Force Recon/Green Beret/Delta/Ranger  99.8% of the time in a ring.  

But a pro MMA fighter couldn't conduct a patrol in the steets of Al Fallujah, control a fire fight, call for fire, set up an O.P., etc...

Two different fights, same objective.  

Ask LT. Brian Stann, USMC/OIF Vet and MMA fighter.

-J Nav

USMC/OIF vet/Jujitsu practioneer

J Nav wrote at 2008-02-05 20:58:30
An pro MMA fighter would whoop on a SEAL/Force Recon/Green Beret/Delta/Ranger  99.8% of the time in a ring.  

But a pro MMA fighter couldn't conduct a patrol in the steets of Al Fallujah, control a fire fight, call for fire, set up an O.P., etc...

Two different fights, same objective.  

Ask LT. Brian Stann, USMC/OIF Vet and MMA fighter.

-J Nav

USMC/OIF vet/Jujitsu practioneer

J Nav wrote at 2008-02-05 20:58:30
An pro MMA fighter would whoop on a SEAL/Force Recon/Green Beret/Delta/Ranger  99.8% of the time in a ring.  

But a pro MMA fighter couldn't conduct a patrol in the steets of Al Fallujah, control a fire fight, call for fire, set up an O.P., etc...

Two different fights, same objective.  

Ask LT. Brian Stann, USMC/OIF Vet and MMA fighter.

-J Nav

USMC/OIF vet/Jujitsu practioneer

whitetiger wrote at 2008-11-25 02:33:38
Here's the thing the seal knows how to kill for sure. that is a huge difference and I don't think he will think twice.

just an opinion since it's a hypothetical this will go on on.

expeditionary warfare specialist wrote at 2008-11-30 11:57:26
The SEAL would win either way. I have never seen a SEAL loose at anything before. I have seen them in action, guns or not they don't fight for submission, they fight to kill. Killing is so second nature that it's not really a fight, it's just you die. MMA types train sport fighting in the ring until it's 100% muscle memory. so when the stuff goes down MMA will go to muscle memory, so will the SEAL.. No matter what the environment.

Mike wrote at 2008-12-05 20:11:23
I would put my money on the man that was trained to KILL rather than the one who trains for sport.

Either man is certainly physically fit. That is only one factor in the fight. MMA uses holds and blows that are sepcifically designed to minimize the liklihood of severe injury. MMA is a sport with rules. In contrast, the SEAL, if trained correctly, focuses only on destruction of the enemy. There is no referee, no round two, no weight classes, no rules. While the MMA fighter is an exceptional athlete, the fact that he is likely to subconciously revert to his training techniques (grappling and fists) under stress puts him at a major disadvantage against an opponent that trains specifically in methods to kill an enemy combatant. Most good combat techniques are barred from MMA (eye gouging, tearing the ears off, biting the face or neck, chops to the throat, carotid artery, and brain stem, side kicks to the knees, crushing the testicles, cup palm blows, neck breaking, etc.) A properly trained commando would utilize these moves first in actual combat. If the fight was for sport, using MMA rules, obviously the situation would be different. My $0.02.

wing chunner wrote at 2009-02-06 20:56:49
Navy Seals and such fighters will use anything to destroy their opponent if trained properly.  MMA fighters don't train against biting, fingers in eye sockets, or someone doing just about anything to break them.  There are also rules in MMA against breaking fingers and such.  So an MMA fighter does not have as much of an advantage as one might think when there really are NO rules.

leatherneck wrote at 2009-02-08 04:49:51
Please understand this...U.S. Navy SEALS are trained to KILL....UFC/MMA fighters fight to score points or to get submissions. U.S. Navy SEALS and other super elite SPEC-OPS soldiers(Army DELTA,CIA paramilitary operatives) train with the policy of elimination utilizing a no-hesitation array of quick kill techniques not learned or taught by any UFC/MMA fighting style..such as but not limited to throat punches, groin kicks,leg sweeps, eye pokes and various nerve ending pressure techniques. Give me an elite DEVGRU(counter terrorism unit team 6) Navy SEAL and your top UFC boy and you will be shocked at the outcome of this joke for a fight. War is a fight to death.

navyman96 wrote at 2009-03-09 17:25:59
thats an easy one ry. As a former wrestler/boxer i can tell you there is a difference is fight training and kill training. u.s. navy seals are trained in the best of the best of martial arts. they are highly trained in how to execute teir opponent quickly.  you asked who would win in a fight to the death. well seals are trained to kill. MMA fighters are trained to fight. and also as far as conditioning and training. the sxeals training is much more intense. youtube it and see what i mean.

HM Chahanovich wrote at 2009-11-08 09:37:54
An MMA fighter would have a small chance.

It doesn't matter whether or not an MMA fighter is more athletic the fact is that MMA fighters are trained to fight in the RING which means NOTHING to a Navy SEAL. I'm 100% sure that a Navy Seal would defeat an MMA fighter 1000 times to one. WTF ATV riding skills? what are Navy SEALs adreno jockies now?

Navy SEALs train to make sure they don't break the many small bones in their hands. C'mon its common sense that Navy SEALs don't where padded gloves on operations(unless you count Fast rope gloves which definently aren't 3/4 of an inch thick).  Ill just make a list.

to a Navy SEAl it doesn't matter or not if he knows the other man is a pro fighter or not. It's irrelevant.

the majority of Navy SEAL training is physical whether or not they're in a classroom or running the O'course. SEAL's probably exercise more than MMA fighters.

Navy seals don't train with Batons. they're not the Police.

IF it was the ring i dunno but i don't really see Navy SEALs winning bouts. they train to kill not hurt another person to unconciousness.

Navy SEALs aren't exactly trained to be Jack of all trades. they do specialize in certain jobs which could vary from Field Operator to Dry Deck/SDV operator. which depending on the job would require more advanced Hand-to-hand training.

I wouldn't compare a civilian professional fighter to a Navy SEAL. A basic Army recruit is more in line with an MMA fighter.

List goes SEAL, Ranger, Marine recon, PJ,basic Marine, Basic Soldier, MMA fighter, Airforce-Navy recruit. There is a real big difference between a trained Troop to a trained fighter.

I don't hate MMA it's just ridiculous that someone would think a Professional MMA fighter would have a marginal chance over a NAVY SEAL who's a trained killer (I've been trying to avoid saying trained killer but there isn't many words to express what Soldiers do)

Forgive me, but I reread the first response halfway through my response so its out of order.

Jax150 wrote at 2009-11-25 07:36:54
MMA is a sport with athletes.  Soldiers are combatants.  In a staged fight with rules, a cage, and a set-up case scenario I would probably say it would be close with the MMA fighter coming out on top.  However in a no rules, out of the blue, argument turned violent there is obviously no question about it.  The Navy Seal would win in that case.  Even without a weapon, gun/knife the Seal would still dominate.  A soldier that is trained to kill in those situations would either end the fight before it got started or use his environment to subdue his opponent.  The MMA fighter would meet Jesus before the day is done.  This question has been asked in so many forums with mixed results.  Like I said it entirely based on the scenario.

Damien wrote at 2009-12-08 17:11:37
I agree this is a unique question and believe the Pro fighter as great knowledge, ability, and is in great shape.  But I would give the edge to the Seal.  In a MMA fight where there are rules, I would say the pro fighter would win.  But this is a fight to the death, a seal is trained to incapacitate or kill as quickly as possible, whether with a weapon or in hand to hand.  

While the Fighter is used to blocking a punch and countering, a SEAL is used to blocking a punch and breaking the arm followed with going for the kill.

Chris wrote at 2010-04-17 17:37:58
I have to add something. Knowing many seals in my lifetime considering my father was in the navy and did coms with the SEALs and SAS guys. You need to understand those mma fighters can have good stamina, But unless you have had first hand experiences with the SEALs, you should know those guys are some of the most conditioned and fit men in the world. They run 10 mile ruck sack runs once every week if not more than once a week in third phase of BUDS, and thats only 1 part of there 18 hour days. I would still give the edge to the seal, because personally i still believe the SEAL could stay in the ring ALL day, where as the MMA fighter, who IS coditioned dont get me wrong, would be out of it after a couple hours. And SEALs are trained in dozens of hand to hand combat skills. I will give you your do though considering you know more about martial arts than i do. But if you took an experienced navy SEAL from the field, he would be very very light on his feet and in super shape. I believe it could go either way. We will say that whoever makes the first mistake will lose.

gymrat MMA MAN wrote at 2010-07-06 15:33:47
you guys are a jock all of the seal,rangers so on go to the mma guys for there hand to hand that alon can tall you the winer.  and look in the sport and you guys dont win the fight . and in the street that just lates me do what i want with no rules i well tack that fight iny day of the week.  

texican wrote at 2010-08-16 04:48:41
i am an ex navy seal and of course we would always win this fight. We are not trained for submission but we are trained to eliminate our opponent with as little drama as necessary.  so while our mma opponent would be trying to submit us we would simply kill him and look for our next opponent to say

Anonymous wrote at 2010-09-25 16:28:33
I think armbars and joint locks would be extremely efficient in a real world situation. Disabling an arm or knee/leg would be crucial in a fight. This is an interesting topic though, thanks for a good read.

DV8R wrote at 2010-12-10 20:35:11
Texican, please give the Worlds finest Navy the respect it deserves. If you're a SEAL then you know that we capitalize Navy always.

As for this asinine discussion, SEAL all the way! Hooyah!

anonymous wrote at 2011-02-08 03:03:56
the larynx is my attack if i find myself in a street fight personally. disabling the oxygen source is the quickest way to end a scrap.

John wrote at 2011-02-21 04:29:04
What a question.  I've known plenty of Special Operations folks and many MMA fighters.  A seasoned MMA fighter will beat a Spec Ops guy in just about any type of weaponless fight almost every time.  The idea that modern elite soldiers should somehow be able to compete with world class, full-time fighters makes no sense at all.  You're comparing people who spend their lives fighting modern wars (with firearms, canons, air strikes, etc.), to people who spend their lives fighting with their fists.  The last thing any soldier on earth wants to do is have a fist fight.  If it gets to that point everything has gone wrong.  Despite a bit of H2H training during some schools, they don't exactly spend a lot of time fighting with their hands, nor should they.  

From a conditioning standpoint there aren't all that many similarities either.  As valuable as road work and other types of calisthenics are, they don't equate to stamina in the ring.  You don't prepare for a marathon by wrestling and you shouldn't prepare for a professional fight by training for a marathon.

rb wrote at 2012-03-01 06:07:16
Ry, I'd have to say JD answered it well. It really depends on where you put them and the circumstances. In my opinion the MMA fighter would win (most of the time) in a sanctioned fight that takes place in a "RULED" ring.

BUT... My belief is that, MOST ANY other circumstance you put them together, the S.E.A.L. will win.

Here is the thing, you take away rules, and your arm bar is broke by a nut crush, or a knife plant, or an eye gouge, or a...etc! It really is 2 different things. 1 is trained to hurt BAD, the other, KILL.

So, to your query, you pick the place and time.  

DMan wrote at 2012-06-13 16:57:10
An interesting and difficult question to assess, but still it has a definitive answer.

Your average spec ops, and by that I mean standard SEAL's, Rangers, Green Beret, etc, would be at a disadvantage against a world class MMA fighter. However, the soldier might execute a killing or breaking stroke that would finish off the pro fighter. The odds strongly favor the pro fighter, but he needs to be very careful.

On the other hand, if the soldier/operator is elite spec ops, that being SOG, SEAL Team 6, Delta Force, HRT, MI-6, etc, then the pro fighter stands at a disadvantage. Elite spec ops train constantly and extensively in hand-to-hand combat. They train in instant kill, instant destruction techniques, and those techniques are the most advanced in the world. Most pro fighters, with a few exceptions, simply are not prepared for that kind of attack. Such techniques are not taught to the public or found in field manuals. MMA fighters, with the exception of Krav Maga specialists, do not train for these techniques because they may inadvertently employ them. That being said, the pro fighter may get lucky, but the odds are not in his favor.

I've seen all sides of this argument; I personally know many of the worlds elite MMA fighters, and have spent blood and sweat to learn the rest. All of these men are elite in their own way, but the distinctions are critical in determining the outcomes of such hypothetical battles. Make no mistake, elite spec ops are the finest killing machines ever created.

PVBLIVS wrote at 2012-06-16 22:27:40
Another question that should be asked is the level pain endured. Has an ndividual MMA fighter experienced / broke through the level pain that a seasoned SEAL opporator has gone through? I mean, pushing yourself is not quite the same when it is live or die. This could give a clearer insight based on the clouding multiple points about techniques. I can run ten miles, but can I run ten miles at BUDS, absolutely not. A highly motivated-team-oriented individual will usually beat out an "individual,"  

MR. wrote at 2013-02-20 02:21:17
I don't believe in fighting just to fight, in my opinion it's nothing but ignorant to fight for A sport,but if it was h2h and no weapons I'd still put money on A seal.

Dman wrote at 2013-07-08 07:52:48
In a cage fight, its arrogant to even say the SEAL would have a  chance in the fight. Even on the street, if both are unarmed, I can't see the SEAL winning. An World Class MMA fighter's reflexes and technique are soley what he focuses on while training. However, the phrase "World Class" is important in my argument. Take that away, and the fight becomes far more questionable.

Its all about what you're trained to do. As the previous answers have said, a Navy Seal is a professional soldier. They are trained to eliminate targets. They are not trained to fight with their fists, exclusively. The art of hand to hand combat as a primary method of war has never been used in the history of Military warfare. There has always been a weapon of some kind. And so, most Hand to Hand combat Seals train in involve a rifle. Their training revolves around creating space enough away from their enemy so they can accurately point their rifle and insert two rounds in the chest. Although they are trained in hand to hand combat as well, this is by no means the main area of their training, and not even the main point of close quarters combat. Take their weapon away, and they lose their main tool. An MMA fighter's main tool is his own body, and World Class MMA fighters often, quite frankly, have been training since they were children. They have literally nothing more to learn about their field of hand to hand combat, and have ideally perfected it.

A Navy Seal focuses on perfection of Marksmanship, Logistics, Reconnaissance, Teamwork, and Underwater Demolition Training. Yes, Hand to Hand combat is covered, and often quite extensively; However, it is in now way  remotely close to their main goal of training.

my 2 cents.  

DesignedOutENT wrote at 2013-08-18 00:02:23
Special forces are meant to fight and kill other highly trained operatives in other countries. A MMA fighter couldn't last 5mins in a fight with special forces or a terrorist. MMA fighters don't know how to counter and dodge with such proficiency to save their life.

doc wrote at 2013-10-30 22:27:25
Surely the MMA fighter would win in a cage match.  Similarly, the SEAL would surely win if it were a fight to the death where the two men started a mile apart in the woods with rifles.  Put any world-class professional in their own element and they will win every time.

Observer wrote at 2014-05-20 07:59:36
It all comes down to the individual.  Circumstances also come to play.  On any given day, anything can happen in a fight.  You don't have to be a Seal or a Pro MMA fighter to win a fight against them.  And being either doesn't give you some advantage either.  You all make it seem like certain titles portray absolutes when it comes to fighting.  I bet there are plenty of street punks that can hand it to either.  I bet there are plenty of traditional MA that could hold there own too.  This question can not be answered with in this context.  All that can be said is that Seals are Warriors and so are Pro MMA fighters.  No one has the guaranteed win in any situation.  

Mood wrote at 2014-12-02 00:08:53
I belive that a pro fighter will win over special forces in a fist fight as long as he doesn't let his gaurd down cus if the special forces guy gets a small chance he might use a kill attack.

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Jamey D. Olsen


I can answer a wide range of questions - the pros and cons of many different arts, what works and what doesnít, the differences between styles, as well as the history of styles or origins. I can advise on proper technique, how to apply techniques, or answer "How would you defend this?" type questions. I also have an extensive library of books and videos, so if you ask me about something I havenít trained, I have the resources to track down an answer for you. I am also involved in the growing sport of MMA (mixed martial arts). For more detailed information on me and what I train and teach please check out my website


I've studied the martial arts for more than 27 years. I hold Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do, Shorei-Ryu Karate, American Karate, Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu, Kali, and Zembujitsu. I have also trained extensively in Judo, Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do (JKD), Escrima, Arnis, Wing Chun and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA.) In 2006 the Martial Arts Unlimited Association awarded me my school name the Keishidojo. Which means "Training Place of the Dedicated Warrior." These school titles are granted after Instructorship is achieved. I have been an instructor for various martial arts for over 10 years and have taught seminars on various subjects. I am also a certified BACK OFF! instructor, Seld-Defense Training and Education Program - S.T.E.P. instructor, and Kid Special Abduction Failure Education S.A.F.E. program creator. I have also taught classes to U.S. Military Special Forces, and U.S. and foriegn law enforcement. Currently stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter South Carolina, I have a martial arts school at the base fitness center. For information about classes, my credentials or other information go to

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