What is Mixed Martial Arts?
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a popular sport that features two fighters in a combat setting. These fighters compete and use various striking and grappling techniques to beat their opponent. MMA is a full-contact sport where competitors use a variety of martial arts techniques including punches, kicks, takedowns, throws, chokes, and more to defeat their opponent. The sport embraces the idea of few rules, realistic, and full contact fighting; but techniques such as eye gouging, groin shots, biting, and fish hooking are among banned techniques to enforce safety. Victory is usually gained through knockout, submission, or stoppage by the referee or doctors. MMA is practiced on many levels, amateur through professional.
The roots of MMA can be traced back to ancient Greece, but the modern sense of the sport began in Europe, Japan, and Brazil during the early 1900's. Fighters utilized different styles of martial arts, including Wrestling, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and more in organized competitions to help popularize their respectful martial arts styles.
These competitions had very few rules and began the concept of linking multiple forms of martial arts into a single competition. Later, the West started to spread the idea of combining martial arts forms in the late 1900's through popular figures Bruce Lee and the Gracie family. Lee's concept of Jeet Kune Do emphasized mastering multiple forms of martial arts and led many to call him as the "father of mixed martial arts".
The Gracie family showcased their form of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the U.S. during an infamous tournament in 1993 that would go on to be called UFC 1. This style would gain immense popularity and propel MMA into the spotlight. Ultimate Fighting Championship, abbreviated as UFC, is an organization that became the driving force behind MMA's rise to popularity on cable television. The UFC's original motto of "full contact, no rules fighting" led many to label it as dangerous and call for it's banishment in the U.S. However, the UFC soon developed new rules to better enforce safety and pushed for continuity in the fighting community. This allowed the UFC to skyrocket in viewership and become a highly profitable and popular sport worldwide.
Today, the UFC has become MMA's most popular front and is now a billion dollar industry. It features both men and women athletes and the fighters are split into weight classes for each fight. The fights are usually broken down into 3 or 5 rounds and are judged by multiple judges. The UFC and other smaller MMA organizations share the goal of promoting and expanding MMA's popularity worldwide with a focus on safety and competition.