Meet the Author: MMA Fighter Matthew Polly

Lawrence Public Library

As a younger man, Topeka native Matthew Polly traveled to the Shaolin Temple in China and spent two years training with the monks who had invented the ancient art of kung fu. Fifteen years later, his weakness for Chinese takeout and Jack Daniel’s had taken its toll.  Firmly into middle age and far removed from his past athletic triumphs, Polly decided to risk it all one last time. Out of shape and over the hill, he jumped headlong into the world of MMA.


In Tapped Out, the follow-up to his award-winning book American Shaolin, Polly chronicles his grueling yet redeeming two-year journey through an often misunderstood sport. From Thailand to Russia, Manhattan to Las Vegas, Polly studied with the best trainers, concluding with a six-month fight camp at Randy Couture’s legendary gym.


An honest and humorous look at a hard-core sport, Tapped Out is a fascinating look into the fastest growing sport in America and what it takes to be an MMA fighter.  At this event, Polly will read from his work, discuss his foray into MMA, and sign books provided for sale by The Raven Book Store.


Matthew Polly is an award-winning travel writer for Slate. A Princeton University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Polly has also written for Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation. He lives in New York.

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