Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is combat sports including striking, ground fighting, etc. It is an amalgamation of martial arts with different sports such as boxing, judo, wrestling, etc. While we often associate MMA with an intense fight with lethal injuries, it has evolved with time. Today, we will take you on a journey as to how this sport incorporated different types of combat techniques within itself.
Remember the ancient Olympics? Ancient Greek knew MMA as Pankration and rules were simple. Contestants could do all strikes except for biting and eye-gouging. Participants could withdraw if unconscious or surrender if they would lift a finger. Nevertheless, it was a very lethal sport and many fighters would lose their lives. Unlike boxing, it did not have multiple rounds. Historians believe that Pankration was the most popular sport of the Olympics. However, ancient Greece was not the only one at the table.
Lei Tai, an elevated fighting area, held a bare-knuckle martial arts tournament. Here, a referee would monitor the match. Fighters would lose if they surrendered or became unconscious. The winner would remain on stage until taken down by a stronger opponent. If he succeeds, then the referee would announce him as Champion. Other origins include Ancient Egypt. Many tomb paintings conclude the evidence of boxing. The tomb of Kheruef, an eighteenth-century King, depicts it as a religious ritual. Here, each boxer appears to be a deity. Similarly, examples of wrestling and martial arts can be traced back to ancient India and Japan.
History Of Modern MMA
In the mid-nineteenth century, a new sports franchise evolved. French fighters wanted to test their skills against traditional fighting styles. In 1852, a fight between French fighters and British bare-knuckle boxer. Rambaud (la Resistance) fought English fighter Dickinson. While Rambaud won this match, boxers won the remaining four. In 1925, Carlos and Hélio Gracie started a jujutsu school in Rio de Janeiro. They popularised Vale Tudo (anything goes), a combat sport, in Brazil. They grabbed people’s attention with “Gracie’s Challenge”. Both brothers would take on the challenges and fight with a technique resembling Pankration. It was so popular that they shifted the fighting arena to the football ground to accommodate more audience.
Later, Art Davie asked Rorion Gracie and John Milius to fight a tournament. “War Of The Worlds” was an eight-man single-elimination tournament. The combat had a no-holds-barred fight to determine the best martial arts. Davie was excited to film the real-life fighting video game. Later, this event was known as Ultimate Fighting Champions(UFC). The UFC1 broadcasted kickboxers Patrick Smith and Kevin Rosier, savate fighter Gerard Gordeau, karate expert Zane Frazier, shoot fighter Ken Shamrock, sumo wrestler Teila Tuli, boxer Art Jimmerson, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Royce Gracie. Originally UFC was a one-time event. However, its major success made two things clear: first, the UFC continues. Second, the sport was not martial arts but mixed martial arts. Gracie won first, second and fourth UFC.
Standard Rules and Regulation
Today’s MMA is very defined in comparison to Pankration or Vale Tudo. The idea behind introducing the rule was to shed the bitter perception of mixed martial arts as gory and lawless. With the increase in audience, the demand for proper instruction was crucial. As MMA was evolving into popular sports, it was necessary to make it confined. New rules divided the fighters into weight classes. From flyweight to super heavyweight, there are nine such divisions. Open finger gloves allowed fighters to use their hands more often. It reduced the recurring cuts and protected the fist. Tournament established time limits to preserve the fighter’s strength.
It also defined the victory of the fighter. A referee decides after a specific time or if the opponent cannot continue. For instance, rules for knockout, submission, fighter’s cornerman throwing a towel, and fight doctor. A referee can call a ring doctor to examine the fighter’s injuries such as a large cut. All fighters must wear a mouthguard to prevent severe injuries. Fighters either fight in a ring or octagon cage. The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts defined the rules of MMA in 1993.
MMA in Movies
It is no surprise that our MMA is popular among us. While MMA started long ago, the movies and shows have always sparked our interest. However, did you know that many MMA fighters decided to pursue their careers on screen? Naturally, casting directors are open to this idea as MMA fighters tend to be best action heroes or villains. We will not be including Martial Arts fighters or boxers, but actual MMA fighters for this list.
Georges St-Pierre considered being the best all-time welterweight fighter. Pierre is a two-time champion and was the UFC’s biggest PPV attraction. In the first three years of his UFC career, he suffered two defeats but has since won every fight. However, his achievements are not limited to off-screen fighting. Some of the notable movies where he worked were Death Warrior, Kickboxer: Vengeance, Never Surrender and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
She was the first American woman ever to win an Olympic Judo medal. For around three years in the UFC, she went undefeated. Through her arm-bar submission, Rousey reshaped women’s MMA. She was the first-ever female winner in the organization and won six title defences. However, her role in movies did enhance her popularity. Some of her roles are in movies The Expendables 3, Fast and Furious 7, Mile 22 and Entourage.
Randy Couture is a three-time former UFC heavyweight champion and a two-time former light heavyweight champion. He is one of the first fighters in two divisions to win titles: the light heavyweight and the heavyweight. In 2011, his last fight came and he enjoyed retirement. You may recognise him in The Scorpion King 2. Other than that, he also worked in The Expendables series, Cradle 2 The Grave, 3 Geezers and Hijacked.
Rise Of MMA
MMA has won praise all over the world and remains one of the most intense styles of fighting sport. After the founding of the UFC, the sport gained popularity and attention. In recent years, MMA has grown and built into an immensely profitable business model. More countries are welcoming this sport. Many school and private tuitions provide safe exposure to young kids.