So, me and a mate of mine have decided to start MMA. I used to play football (soccer for americans), but it was too dangerous as I keep spraining my ankle, so would like to join in with a safer sport (jokes :P).
1. Should i join take martial arts classes or just go to the MMA class?
If you want to do it for fun and have a good allround fighting training, go directly to MMA. If you aim to go into high competition I suggest to do a specialised martial art (go and try out different styles and stick with the one you're most comfortable with) and mix it up with MMA. The reason is the following: MMA is the essence of different styles mixed together. It teaches the most direct and effective techniques and leaves out those techniques that have less chance of success. That sounds reasonable, but there is one problem. Everybody in MMA learns this MMA essence, but by leaving out the techniques with lesser chance of success you're not used to them, neither in using them nor in defending against them. So training in a specialised martial arts besides MMA can give you the edge when you MMA skills are equal to those of your opponent. You can see that in the successful usage of supposedly flashy or less effective techniques by Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones etc. (of course they are physically gifted too)
2. I am currently overweight (about 200lbs and 5ft 10" - Would say approx 30lbs overweight) - What is the best way of losing weight an gaining some muscle? (my idol is bruce lee in fighting world and his aesthetics are godlike)
The basic principle of losing weight is a negative energy balance which means that your energy input (food) is lower than your energy output/consumption (activity). Weightlifting is an effective way to lose weight/fat as on the one hand weightlifting itself is highly energy consuming and on the other hand you build muscle mass which is an energy consumer even during non-activity. For a healthy and long term weight loss aim at losing about 1 lbs(~0.5kg)/week.
3. What should i be doing in terms of weight lifting? (I wanna gain size and punch/kick power)
If you're not used to weight lifting you should do a low-weight/high repetition program first (chose a weight with which you can do 20-25 repetitions). On the one hand it trains muscle endurance which you also need for fighting and on the other hand it makes your body (muscles, joints, tendons etc.) getting used to weight lifting and the correct form of your exercises. If you start right away with high-weight/low repetitions you could damage your body. After a month or two you can start with high-weight/low repetitions (8-12) to gain muscles mass. And you should switch your program every several months (exercise wise and high/low repetition wise) when you feel that you don't improve anymore that much, so your body regularly has to adapt to new challenges.
For punching and kicking power you basically need your whole body as the correct and effective techniques are an interplay between a lot of different muscles. For MMA in general, working on your core strength is particularly important.
4. Anything else
Don't eat directly before you go to your training. You would regret it
First of all, believe it or not mma is safer than soccer (football) The injuries that come with playing soccer are usually far worse than mma and as far as I know there is only one death in mma and quite a few in soccer throughout the years.
You can't compare it like this. There are millions and millions of football (soccer) players around the world, but probably only several ten thousands, maybe hundred thousands MMA practitioners. And football is played for hundred years while MMA became professional only 20 years ago and came somewhat to mainstream (still not nearly at a scale like football) maybe 5 years ago.
Non competitive MMA is probably not more dangerous than football, but competitive MMA definitely is. Just look at what's the main goal there - to do damage to your opponent. There is a reason why so many matches in the UFC have to be canceled/delayed.
1. It depends on what you want. Learning a traditional martial art like karate or kung fu is great if you want some discipline and to really embrace the art in the word martial arts.
If you want to be as effective as possible in the stand up department I'd say learn muay thai. If you want to be as effective as possible in the ground game, I'd say learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you want to be as effective as possible in a real fight where everything goes, then jump straight into mma.
For "real" fighting, meaning non regulated fighting, I'd rather suggest a good classical (not McDojo) Jiu Jitsu school and some additional boxing. Fighting with cloths on is significantly different to fighting half naked with sweaty/slippery bodies, and in a good Jiu Jitsu school you also learn tactics how to deal with multiple opponents and weapon fighting.