As MMA Viking looks to expand coverage beyond Sweden, we were fortunate enough to make contact with the very popular UFC Norway Facebook page creator Tarjei Nymark Mørkve. The page is growing fast, and has a very active forum discussing everything MMA. It has 3,000+ fans and is growing fast every day. The site brings together MMA fans (not just UFC fans), and is helping to educate and promote a positive image for the growing sport in Norway and beyond.
In this two part interview, we get an introduction to the MMA climate, the idea for the Facebook page, and upcoming fighters from our neighbors to the east. We look forward to educating the world about MMA in Scandinavia, and starting with Norway as a new feature. Thanks Tarjei.
MMA Viking – How is the interest and attitude about MMA in Norway?
Tarjei Mørkve – I think MMA still has a very long road to go in Norway. Professional MMA is still banned along with pro boxing. However I think there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a lot of misconception about what MMA really is. Some people seem to think its something that’s going on in abandoned industrial basements with no-rules almost “to-the-death” fights. Which is to say the least, pretty far from the truth. So in many ways there is a lot of prejudice, but that is mostly due to lack of knowledge.
I still on a weekly basis have to defend MMA from people who have already made up their minds about what MMA is, in some cases even without having ever watched it! That’s quite an accomplishment. The fans though, are growing immensely. And they are getting educated in the sport, they know what they are watching. The last time I sat down and watched some fights with my dad (who is a huge fan by the way) – I think it was Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira – my dad said “he should go for the leg”, and 10 seconds later, surely enough, Miller went for it and won with a kneebar. He also won submission of the night with that I think. That was a pretty funny moment for me. But also a good example of the understanding of MMA that is spreading. And that is very good news. Because ultimately, with enough educated fans MMA will become a serious debate of legalization. I think information is a keyword in the process of MMA becoming an acknowledged sport and commonly accepted in this country. And there is no doubt in my mind that in time, it will.
MMA Viking – Why did you create the UFC Norway page on Facebook?
Tarjei Mørkve – I started the page mostly because I couldn’t find any active Norwegian forums on MMA. I thought why not start one? My portal into MMA was through the UFC so I thought; I’m probably not the only one that went that road. So I figured Facebook would be the perfect place to start something like this, because these days – who isn’t on Facebook? I wasn’t really sure what to call it.
There is a commonly misconception that UFC is a sport, which is not the case. The UFC is the biggest promoter of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. But I figured UFC Norway might draw more attention than MMA Norway so that became the choice. However we don’t post UFC stuff exclusively, anything MMA related is relevant for the page. So one might argue that MMA Norway would be a better name. Changing name on pages is not allowed by Facebook so for now, it’s gonna stay UFC Norway. But if Facebook changes it’s policy on this, I would consider changing it’s name, simply because it would be more accurate and representative for the page. We didn’t have many followers in the beginning, about a hundred for the first 6 months. Every time I had a new click I went “Yay!”. It was mostly me talking to myself. Now we have over 3000 followers and an average of 50 new fans joining every day, which is beyond anything I expected when I started it.
Visit the Facebook UFC Norway page.
Check back for Part II of the interview. We will discuss what got Tarjei into MMA, and fighters out of Norway we should be keeping an eye on.