MMA History

What is the history of MMA? What are its origins? Where did Mma come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of MMA.

MMA History

What are the basic rules of MMA?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a sport that allows fighters to use different techniques in order to win their match. Some of these disciplines include boxing, kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, taekwondo, freestyle wrestling, and karate. To win the match, you can either win by stoppage or decision. Winning by stoppage means either knocking your opponent out or making them tap out. The decision means you went the full distance for the fight, so the judges determine who won.

Although there are many different organizations that hold mixed martial arts competitions, there is a set of unified rules that help protect athletes. The first rules you should pay attention to are fouls.

Fouls can be anything from headbutting, eye-gouging, biting, or hair pulling. Committing these fouls can result in penalties and even disqualification.

Another rule you must follow is fighting in your weight class. This can be anything from strawweight (115 lbs) to super heavyweight (over 265 lbs). 

Which Country Started Mma?

Greece started MMA with the development of pankration, a discipline of mixed martial arts that combined boxing and wrestling. It is said that pankration was used to help Spartans with their hand to hand combat. 

Brazil also is credited for contributing to the foundation of established mixed martial arts with their discipline of vale tudo, which literally translates to anything goes. These competitions became underground events that were originally performed in circuses throughout Brazil.

Who Invented Mma?

Mixed martial arts was started by the ancient Greeks in 648 BCE when it was introduced to the 33rd Olympic games. At the time, it was called pankration. It was a mix of boxing and wrestling and very little rules. The only things that you were not allowed to do in the ring were biting and gouging. During the Olympics, this was considered a heavy event, where only the best athletes were allowed to compete. 

The fight was either won by submission or death. Although it displayed extreme violence, it was a crowd favorite at the time.

When was Mma Established?

Mixed Martial Arts was officially established in 1993 when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was formed. The UFC started off as a one-night tournament that featured athletes from various disciplines such as kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, and even sumo.

The very first tournament took place on November 12, 1993, and many people did not know what to expect. The very first fight was between Teila Tuli, a sumo wrestler, and Gerard Gordeau, a kickboxer. The first thing people may have noticed is the massive weight difference. This was a problem at first in the UFC because there were not that many rules to protect the fighters. However, as the sport grew, the UFC developed its rules so fighters can be better protected.

At first, MMA was not so popular. In fact, pay per view was banned in many states. The rules were eventually changed, so it can appeal to audiences in the United States. Also, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought the UFC in 2001 and turned it around for the better, and this was when it started to become popular.

The Ultimate Fighter, UFC’s reality show that began in 2005, also gets a lot of credit for the sport’s boost in popularity. In the show, a group of fighters lived with one another and were separated into two teams. They each competed in a single-elimination tournament, and in the end, a fighter was given a contract with the UFC.

The most popular countries that play MMA:

  • United States of America
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Australia

MMA History Key Facts and Timeline

Mixed martial arts was created when the Greeks invented the discipline of pankration in 648 BCE. This was a discipline that involved fighters using their wrestling and boxing skills to win the match. It had two main phases, ano pankration, and Kato pankration. In Ano pankration, fighters stayed upright and used punches and kicks to defeat their opponent. Kato pankration involved grappling, joint locking, and even strangling to beat your opponent. 

In the 1800s, MMA competitions took place in England. These were called Bartitsu events. This style was made by William Barton-Wright, an English railroad engineer, in the late 1800s when he visited Japan and learned jiu-jitsu. He then adopted his own style, where he incorporated techniques from jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, and stick fighting.

The 1900s were an iconic time period because it began the practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda taught Carlos Gracie, a Brazilian martial artist, the art of judo and jiu-jitsu. Carlos then made it his own by adopting a new style that utilized less strength but more leverage while on the ground. This was the start of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and vale tudo.

In 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was founded, and it officially made mixed martial arts an established sport in the United States. It took major inspiration from Brazilian jiu-jitsu and vale tudo. In fact, Royce Gracie, the nephew of Carlos Gracie, won three of the first 4 UFC tournaments. His family wanted Royce to compete in the tournament because his frame was not the biggest. This was to prove that their fighting style was the best.

Today mixed martial arts is more popular than it has ever been. Although the UFC remains the peak of competition, other organizations such as Bellator and One Championship are growing in popularity. Some well-known champions in the UFC include Jon Jones (light-heavyweight), Khabib Nurmagomedov (lightweight), and Henry Cejudo (flyweight and bantamweight).

Key Facts

  • In mixed martial arts, you can use a variety of techniques and disciplines to win your fight 
  • MMA was first developed by the Greeks
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu and vale tudo had a huge influence on the development of the UFC
  • The Unified Rules of MMA were adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions protect fighters with weight classes and different penalties for breaking rules