When someone mentions Shonie Carter and everyone else in your circle laughs knowingly, you play along.
When you hear people say Tito Ortiz was the most dominant light heavyweight champion in UFC history, you don't get it.
This is OK. Mixed martial arts picks up new fans seemingly by the day. Certainly, some folks in America flipped by Spike two Saturdays ago during UFC 120 and said "Hmm, what's this?" And when Brock Lesnar fights, people know about it.
For all those newbia MMA fans comes The MMA Encyclopedia. It's billed as the "definitie A-to-Z reference guide to mixed martial arts."
The book, by Jonathan Snowden and Kendall Shields and published by ECW Press, lives up to its billing. It's a thorough and easy-to-read recounting of the sport of mixed martial arts, from its early days as a street fight to the more controlled environment of today.
Even for MMA die-hards, it's worth your time. And it makes for great trivia games with your fight friends. The book is available Nov. 1, 2010, but you can order it now at amazon.com.