Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a hybrid combat sport incorporating techniques from boxing, wrestling, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), and other disciplines. Having only been deemed a competitive sport in 1993 by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), not a lot of research has been done on these athletes. Research done so far on other areas of athletics has shown that personality traits can predict various cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. Furthermore, elevated levels of Trait Anxiety have been shown to deteriorate non-MMA athletes’ overall performance in high-pressure situations. The present study aimed to investigate the presence of Trait Anxiety in both professional fighters and Mixed Martial Artists, thenceforth comparing them to the control of non-Mixed Martial Artists. The hypothesis was that MMA and professional fighters would have significantly higher scores of trait anxiety on the State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI) scale while scoring significantly lower on the secondary subscales of trait anger, trait depression, and trait curiosity. The independent samples T-test score for the subscale of trait curiosity on the STPI revealed a significantly greater trait curiosity score for fighters (M = 6.25, SD = 1.89) relative to the control group (M = 5.20, SD = 2.29), t (63) = 2.01, p = .048. According to Cohen’s d, this effect is considered medium-to-large, d = .502. The independent samples T-test score for trait anxiety comparing the fighters (M= 10.92, SD= 4.33) to the control group (M=11.38, SD=5.44) was not significant, t (63) = -.382, p=.704. The T-test scores when measuring trait anger for the fighters (M=16.50, SD=5.71) and the control (M=16.51, SD= 7.12) was not significant, t (63) = -.010, p=.992. Lastly, the T-test scores when measuring trait depression between the fighters (M=7.25, SD=2.72) and the control (M=6.89, SD=3.22) was also not significant, t (63) = .480, p= .633.

Key words: Trait Anxiety, Professional Fighters, STPI



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