Nord Universty, Bodø, Norway
Using social innovation as a theoretical framework, this article investigates who participates in Norwegian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) clubs; if the emergence of MMA contributes to increased social inclusion in Norwegian sport; and finally, if and how the emergence of MMA can be interpreted as social innovation. These topics are investigated through a quantitative analysis of Norwegian MMA practitioners. Members of the Norwegian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) were recruited for an electronic survey and 369 respondents were included in the analyses. Descriptive analyses along with a linear regression analyses were performed. The results indicate that men between 20–30 years of age dominates as participants in Norwegian MMA clubs. Additionally, the results indicate that women with higher education participate more frequently compared to women with limited education, while the relationship is reversed for men. The article concludes that while the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts in Norway can be described as an innovation process, it is unclear to what degree it can be interpreted as social innovation. The results indicate that the participation patterns in Norwegian MMA clubs reflect existing tendencies in other Norwegian sports, and the MMA does not appear to contribute to increased social inclusion in Norwegian sport today.
ANNE TJØNNDAL is a PhD Research Fellow at the Faculty of Social Science, Nord university, Bodø, Norway. Her PhD dissertation is about innovation for social inclusion in sport.
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