Jon Wertheim’s Blood in the Cage out Jan. 15

The first inside account of the sensational new sport of mixed martial arts, seen through the lens of its pioneer, Pat Miletich, “the patron saint of badass”.

Based on unique access to the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its rival leagues, Blood in the Cage peers through the chain-link Octagon into the frighteningly seductive world of mixed martial arts, which is exploding in popularity despite resistance from every corner. Wertheim focuses on Pat Miletich, a mixed-martial-arts pioneer and six-time UFC champion, who currently runs the most famous MMA training school in the world. Single-handedly Miletich has transformed a gritty town on the banks of the Mississippi into an unlikely hotbed for his sport. He has also transformed many an average Joe into a walking weapon of destruction.

Wertheim intertwines Miletich’s own life story, by turns tragic and triumphant, with the larger story of the unholy rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, from its controversial, back alley roots to the fastest-growing sporting enterprise in America. For fans of Jeff MacGregor’s Sunday Money and Sam Sheridan’s A Fighter’s Heart, Blood in the Cage takes readers behind the scenes, right down to the mat, from a punch in the kidney to the ping of the cash register, as Wertheim brilliantly exposes the no-holds-barred reality of the blood sport for a new generation.

L. Jon Wertheim is the author of three previous books including “Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, The Last Great American Pool Hustler.” Film rights to Running the Table were optioned by Lions Gate, and the film is currently in development. He is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and lives in New York.

“A seamless combination of sport, entertainment . . . Wertheim has pierced the veil to create an edifying book for die-hard MMA fans and curious bystanders alike.”-Sam Sheridan, author of A Fighter’s Heart

“In a book as bracing and forthright as an open-handed slap, Jon Wertheim transcends easy caricature and cheap sensationalism to deliver the first honest journalism about mixed martial arts that this country’s ever seen. Half hype, half hemoglobin-and from its bare-knuckle beginnings to its recent arrival as a national pay-per-view pastime – the brief, brutal history of MMA has confounded even its own fans. Blood in the Cage stands above the din.” – Jeff MacGregor, special contributor, Sports Illustrated, and author of Sunday Money

“In Blood in the Cage, L. Jon Wertheim tells the story of Pat Miletich, the consummate professional athlete turned world-class trainer. Miletich is someone for whom I have considerable respect and admiration and who puts his athletes and our sport first and foremost.”-Randy Couture, UFC champion

“As Voltaire said, ‘That’s why they invented the squeegee.'” David Mamet, author, playwright, and director