With the recent McGregor-Mayweather super fight, a number of Christians are asking. “Should Jesus followers be involved with or even watch combat sports?”
Some people argue that the Bible tacitly endorses combat sports when the Apostle Paul uses them in New Testament analogies. “So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.” (1 Corinthians 9:26 NLT)
Shadowboxing is a common training technique for boxers.
We’ve got to be careful how we interpret passages of Scripture like this. I once used someone having been bitten by a venomous snake as a part of a sermon illustration. That doesn’t mean I endorse snake dancing.
Whether in the Bible or when listening to any preacher or teacher, we need to listen for the point of an analogy. The use of combat sports in an analogy isn’t the same as an instruction to participate in them.
On the other hand, if the Bible were adamantly opposed to combat sports we’d expect it to say so, or at the very least, biblical authors would have avoided those kinds of analogies.