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Mixed martial arts (MMA), sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact
combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent. Combat sports share a long p ...
based on striking,
grappling Grappling, in hand-to-hand combat Hand-to-hand combat (sometimes abbreviated as HTH or H2H) is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at short range (grappling Grappling, in hand-to-hand combat Hand-to-hand combat (some ...
and
ground fighting Ground may refer to: * Soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, ga ...
, incorporating techniques from various combat sports including boxing, kickboxing and
martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat sport, competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; an ...
from around the world. The first documented use of the term ''mixed martial arts'' was in a review of
UFC 1 ''The Ultimate Fighting Championship'' (later renamed ''UFC 1: The Beginning'') was the first mixed martial arts Mixed martial arts (MMA), sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact ...
by television critic
Howard Rosenberg Howard Anthony Rosenberg (born June 10, 1942) is an American television critic. He worked at '' The Louisville Times'' from 1968 through 1978 and then worked at the ''Los Angeles Times The ''Los Angeles Times'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''LA T ...
in 1993. The question of who actually coined the term is subject to debate. During the early 20th century, various interstylistic contests took place throughout
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
and in the countries of the
Four Asian Tigers The Four Asian Tigers (also known as the Four Asian Dragons or Four Little Dragons in Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the ...

Four Asian Tigers
. In
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, there was the sport of
Vale Tudo Vale Tudo (; en, Everything Goes) is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with relatively few rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are assoc ...
, in which fighters from various styles fought with little to no rules. The
Gracie family The Gracie Family () is a prominent martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the oppo ...
was known to promote ''Vale Tudo'' matches as a way to promote their own
Brazilian jiu-jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
style. In the West, the concept of combining elements of multiple martial arts was popularized by
Bruce Lee Lee Jun-fan (; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee (), was a Chinese American Chinese Americans are Americans of Chinese people, Chinese ancestry. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas ...

Bruce Lee
's
Jeet Kune Do Jeet Kune Do is a hybrid martial art heavily influenced and adapted by the personal philosophy and experiences of martial artist Bruce Lee. Overview and philosophy Jeet Kune Do was conceived by Bruce Lee, based on his experiences in unarmed ...
during the late 1960s to early 1970s. A precursor to modern MMA was the 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki exhibition bout (which ended in a draw after 15 rounds), fought between boxer
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali (; born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer, poet and philanthropist. Nicknamed The Greatest, he is widely regarded as one of the most significa ...

Muhammad Ali
and wrestler
Antonio Inoki Muhammad Hussain Inoki (born on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law en ...
in Japan, where it later inspired the foundation of
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
in 1993 and
Pride Fighting Championships Pride Fighting Championships (Pride or Pride FC, founded as KRS-Pride) was a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company. Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997. Pride held more than sixty mixed martial arts eve ...
in 1997. In 1980, CV Productions, Inc. created the first regulated MMA league in the United States, called ''Tough Guy Contest'', which was later renamed ''Battle of the Superfighters''. The company sanctioned ten tournaments in
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
. However, in 1983 the
Pennsylvania State Senate The Pennsylvania State Senate is the upper house of the Pennsylvania General Assembly The Pennsylvania General Assembly is the legislature of the U.S. commonwealth (U.S. state), commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The legislature convenes in the ...
passed a bill prohibiting the sport. In 1993, the
Gracie family The Gracie Family () is a prominent martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the oppo ...
brought Brazilian jiu-jitsu, developed in Brazil from the 1920s, to the United States by founding the
Ultimate Fighting Championship The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter (entertainment), promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC is owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Endeavor (comp ...
(UFC) MMA promotion company in 1993. The company held an event with almost no rules, mostly due to the influence of
Art Davie Art Davie (born April 5, 1947) is a business executive and entrepreneur formerly active in Southern California advertising circles. In 1993, he created and co-produced the tournament which became the televised Ultimate Fighting Championship. In 199 ...
and
Rorion Gracie Rorion Gracie (; born January 10, 1952) is a Brazilian born Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Grand Master, a prominent member of the Gracie family, writer, publisher, producer, lecturer, and the co-founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship The Ultima ...
attempting to replicate Vale Tudo fights that existed in Brazil and would later implement a different set of rules (example: eliminating kicking a grounded opponent), which differed from other leagues which were more in favour of realistic, street like fights. Originally promoted as a competition to find the most effective
martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat sport, competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; an ...
for real unarmed combat, competitors from different fighting styles were pitted against one another in contests with relatively few rules. Later, individual fighters incorporated multiple martial arts into their style. MMA promoters were pressured to adopt additional rules to increase competitors' safety, to comply with sport regulations and to broaden mainstream acceptance of the sport. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with a
pay-per-view Pay-per-view (PPV) is a type of or service that enables a viewer to pay to watch individual events via private telecast. Events can be purchased through a platform using their , an automated telephone system, or through a live . There has been ...
business that rivals
boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

boxing
and
professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
.


Early history


Antiquity

In
Ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese h ...
, combat sport appeared in the form of
Leitai #REDIRECT Lei tai#REDIRECT Lei tai The ''lei tai'' is an elevated fighting arena, without railings, where often fatal weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict damage or harm. We ...

Leitai
, a no-holds-barred mixed combat sport that combined
Chinese martial arts Chinese martial arts, often called by the umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompass ...
, boxing and wrestling. In
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, there was a sport called
pankration Pankration (; el, παγκράτιον) was a sporting event introduced into the Ancient Greece, Greek Ancient Olympic Games, Olympic Games in 648 BC, which was an empty-hand submission sport with few rules. The athletes used boxing and wrestlin ...

pankration
, which featured grappling and striking skills similar to those found in modern MMA. Pankration was formed by combining the already established wrestling and boxing traditions and, in Olympic terms, first featured in the 33rd
Olympiad An Olympiad ( el, Ὀλυμπιάς, ''Olympiás'') is a period of four years associated with the Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and ...
in 648 BC. All strikes and holds were allowed with the exception of biting and gouging, which were banned. The fighters, called pankratiasts, fought until someone could not continue or signaled submission by raising their index finger; there were no rounds. According to the historian E. Norman Gardiner, "No branch of athletics was more popular than the pankration." There is also evidence of similar mixed combat sports in
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...
and
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...
.


Modern-era precursors

The mid-19th century saw the prominence of the new sport
savate Savate (), also known as boxe française, savate boxing, French boxing or French footfighting, is a French kickboxing combat sport that uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of English boxing with graceful kicking techniques. ...
in the combat sports circle. French savate fighters wanted to test their techniques against the traditional combat styles of its time. In 1852, a contest was held in France between French ''savateurs'' and English
bare-knuckle boxersBare-knuckle means without gloves, bandages or any other protection for and/or dangerous 'arming' (such as a knuckle-duster) of the knuckles, a larger part or even the whole hand. It refers specifically to: * Bare-knuckle boxing Bare-knuckle box ...
in which French fighter Rambaud alias ''la Resistance'' fought English fighter Dickinson and won using his kicks. However, the English team still won the four other match-ups during the contest.Green, Thomas A. ''Martial Arts of the World An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation''. ABC-CLIO (June 11, 2010). pp. 259-260. . Contests occurred in the late 19th to mid-20th century between French Savateurs and other combat styles. Examples include a 1905 fight between French savateur George Dubois and a
judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

judo
practitioner Re-nierand which resulted in the latter winning by submission, as well as the highly publicized 1957 fight between French savateur and
professional boxer Professional boxing, or prizefighting, is regulated, sanctioned boxing Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing boxing glove, protective gloves and other protective equipment such as hand wraps and mouthguards, throw Punch ...
Jacques Cayron and a young Japanese
karateka (; ; Okinawan language, Okinawan pronunciation: ) is a martial arts, martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It developed from the Okinawan martial arts, indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts (called , "hand"; ''tii'' in Okinawan) under the ...

karateka
named Mochizuki Hiroo which ended when Cayron knocked Hiroo out with a
hook A hook is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use tool use by animals, simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates ...
.
Catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
appeared in the late 19th century, combining several global styles of
wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the oppon ...

wrestling
, including Indian
pehlwani Pehlwani, also known as kushti, is a form of wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling-type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedown (grappling), takedowns, joint locks, Grappling hold#Pinning hold, pins and ...
and English wrestling. In turn, catch wrestling went on to greatly influence modern MMA. No-holds-barred fighting reportedly took place in the late 1880s when wrestlers representing the style of catch wrestling and many others met in tournaments and music-hall challenge matches throughout Europe. In the US, the first major encounter between a boxer and a wrestler in modern times took place in 1887 when
John L. Sullivan John Lawrence Sullivan (October 15, 1858 – February 2, 1918), known simply as John L. among his admirers, and dubbed the "Boston Strong Boy" by the press, was an American boxer recognized as the first heavyweight champion of gloved boxing, ...
, then heavyweight world boxing champion, entered the ring with his trainer, wrestling champion
William Muldoon William A. Muldoon (May 25, 1852 – June 3, 1933) was the Greco-Roman Wrestling Greco-Roman ( US), Graeco-Roman ( UK), classic wrestling (Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally ...
, and was slammed to the mat in two minutes. The next publicized encounter occurred in the late 1890s when future heavyweight boxing champion
Bob Fitzsimmons Robert James "Bob" Fitzsimmons (26 May 1863 – 22 October 1917) was a British professional boxer who was the sport's first three-division world champion. He also achieved fame for beating Gentleman Jim Corbett (the man who beat John L. Sull ...

Bob Fitzsimmons
took on European wrestling champion Ernest Roeber. In September 1901,
Frank "Paddy" Slavin Frank Patrick Slavin (5 January 1862 – 17 October 1929), also known as "Paddy" Slavin, was an Australian heavyweight Boxing, boxer. He was a pioneer of prizefighting in his country, fighting under the tutelage of Larry Foley. One of Slavin's fi ...
, who had been a contender for Sullivan's boxing title, knocked out future world wrestling champion
Frank Gotch Frank may refer to: People As a name * Frank (given name) * Frank (surname) Groups of people * A member of the medieval Germanic people, the Franks * Crusaders in medieval Middle Eastern history * Levantines (Latin Christians) known as Franco ...
in
Dawson City Dawson City, officially the City of Dawson, is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in differe ...

Dawson City
, Canada. The judo-practitioner Ren-nierand, who gained fame after defeating George Dubois, would fight again in another similar contest, which he lost to Ukrainian Catch wrestler Ivan Poddubny. Another early example of mixed martial arts was
Bartitsu Bartitsu is an wikt:eclectic, eclectic martial art and self-defence method originally developed in England in 1898–1902, combining elements of boxing, jujitsu, cane fighting, and French kickboxing (savate). In 1903, it was immortalised (as "barits ...
, which
Edward William Barton-Wright Edward William Barton-Wright CE, M.J.S. (member of the Japan Society) (1860–1951) was an English entrepreneur specialising in both self defence training and physical therapy. He is remembered today as having been one of the first Europeans ...
founded in London in 1899. Combining
catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
,
judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

judo
,
boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

boxing
,
savate Savate (), also known as boxe française, savate boxing, French boxing or French footfighting, is a French kickboxing combat sport that uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of English boxing with graceful kicking techniques. ...
,
jujutsu Jujutsu ( ja, link=no, 柔術 ), also known as jiu-jitsu and ju-jitsu, is a family of Japanese martial art '' fully robed and equipped, armed with a ''naginata The ''naginata'' (, ) is a pole weapon A pole weapon or pole arm is a clos ...

jujutsu
and
canne de combat Canne de combat is a France, French martial art. As weapon, it uses a ''canne'' or Stick-fighting, cane (a kind of walking-stick) designed for fighting. ''Canne de combat'' was standardized in the 1970s for sporting competition by Maurice Sarry. Th ...
(French stick fighting), Bartitsu was the first martial art known to have combined Asian and European fighting styles, and which saw MMA-style contests throughout England, pitting European Catch wrestlers and Japanese Judoka champions against representatives of various European wrestling styles. Among the precursors, but not ancestors, of modern MMA are mixed style contests throughout Europe, Japan, and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. In Japan, these contests were known as ''merikan'', from the Japanese slang for "American ighting. ''Merikan'' contests were fought under a variety of rules, including points decision, best of three throws or knockdowns, and victory via knockout or submission.
Sambo Sambo may refer to: Places * Sambo, Angola, a commune in Tchicala Tcholohanga, Huambo Province, Angola * Sambo Creek, a village in Honduras Other uses * Sambo, botanist author abbreviation for Maria Cengia Sambo (1888–1939), Italian lichenolog ...
, a martial art and combat sport developed in Russia in the early 1920s, merged various forms of combat styles such as wrestling, judo and striking into one unique martial art. The popularity of professional wrestling, which was contested under various
catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
rules at the time, waned after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, when the sport split into two genres: "
shoot In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anci ...
", in which the fighters actually competed, and " show", which evolved into modern
professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
. In 1936, heavyweight boxing contender Kingfish Levinsky and professional wrestler Ray Steele competed in a mixed match, which catch wrestler Steele won in 35 seconds. 27 years later, Ray Steele's protégé
Lou Thesz Aloysius Martin "Lou" Thesz (April 24, 1916 – April 28, 2002) was an American professional wrestler. A twenty-five time world champion, he held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times for a combined total of 10 years, three months ...
fought boxer
Jersey Joe Walcott Arnold Raymond Cream (January 31, 1914 – February 25, 1994), best known as Jersey Joe Walcott, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1930 to 1953. He held the world heavyweight title from 1951 to 1952, and broke the record for t ...
twice in mixed style bouts. The first match was a real contest which Thesz won while the second match was a work, which Thesz also won. In the 1940s in the Palama Settlement in Hawaii, 5 martial arts masters, under the leadership of Adriano Emperado, curious to determine which martial art was best, began testing each other in their respective arts of Kenpo, Jujitsu, Chinese and American boxing and Tang soo do. From this they developed
Kajukenbo Kajukenbo (Japanese: カジュケンボ Kajukenbo) is a hybrid martial art from Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from the U.S. mainla ...
, the first American Mixed Martial Arts. In 1951, a high-profile grappling match was Masahiko Kimura vs. Hélio Gracie, which was wrestled between
judoka is a system of unarmed combat, and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of , "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by (嘉納治五郎) as an eclectic martial art, distinguishing itself from ...

judoka
Masahiko Kimura was a Japanese judoka is generally categorized as a modern Japanese martial art, which has since evolved into an Olympic event. The sport was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano (嘉納治五郎) as a physical, mental, and moral pedagogy Ped ...

Masahiko Kimura
and
Brazilian jiu jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a d ...
founder Hélio Gracie in Brazil. Kimura defeated Gracie using a gyaku-ude-garami armlock, which later became known as the "Kimura" in Brazilian jiu jitsu. In 1963, a catch wrestler and judoka "
Judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

Judo
"
Gene Lebell Ivan Gene LeBell (born October 9, 1932) is an American martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat sport, co ...
fought professional boxer Milo Savage in a no-holds-barred match. Lebell won by Harai Goshi to rear naked choke, leaving Savage unconscious. This was the first televised bout of mixed-style fighting in North America. The hometown crowd was so enraged that they began to boo and throw chairs at Lebell. On February 12, 1963, three karatekas from ''Oyama dojo'' (
kyokushin is a style of stand-up fighting In martial arts and combat sports, stand-up fighting is hand-to-hand combat between opponents in a standing position, as distinguished from ground fighting. Clinch fighting is stand-up grappling. Fighters ...
later) went to the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Thailand and fought against three Muay Thai fighters. The three kyokushin karate fighters were Tadashi Nakamura, Kenji Kurosaki and Akio Fujihira (also known as Noboru Osawa), while the Muay Thai team of three had only one authentic Thai fighter. December 28, 2015 Japan won 2–1: Tadashi Nakamura and Akio Fujihira both knocked out their opponents with punches while Kenji Kurosaki, who fought the Thai, was knocked out by elbows. The Japanese fighter who lost, Kenji Kurosaki, was a kyokushin instructor, rather than a contender, and that he had stood in as a substitute for the absent chosen fighter. In June of the same year, karateka and future kickboxer
Tadashi Sawamura was a Japanese people, Japanese kickboxing, kickboxer whose real name was . He was one of the first popular participants in the sport, and enjoyed great fame throughout his career. He is sometimes credited with sustaining the early boom in the p ...
faced top Thai fighter Samarn Sor Adisorn: Sawamura was knocked down sixteen times on his way to defeat. Sawamura went on to incorporate what he learned in that fight in kickboxing tournaments. During the late 1960s to early 1970s, the concept of combining the elements of multiple martial arts was popularized in the West by
Bruce Lee Lee Jun-fan (; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee (), was a Chinese American Chinese Americans are Americans of Chinese people, Chinese ancestry. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas ...

Bruce Lee
via his system of
Jeet Kune Do Jeet Kune Do is a hybrid martial art heavily influenced and adapted by the personal philosophy and experiences of martial artist Bruce Lee. Overview and philosophy Jeet Kune Do was conceived by Bruce Lee, based on his experiences in unarmed ...
. Lee believed that "the best fighter is not a Boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style, to be formless, to adopt an individual's own style and not following the system of styles." In 2004, UFC President
Dana White Dana Frederick White Jr. (born July 28, 1969) is an American businessman and the current President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world. Under White's leadership, th ...

Dana White
would call Lee the "father of mixed martial arts" stating: "If you look at the way
Bruce Lee Lee Jun-fan (; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee (), was a Chinese American Chinese Americans are Americans of Chinese people, Chinese ancestry. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas ...

Bruce Lee
trained, the way he fought, and many of the things he wrote, he said the perfect style was no style. You take a little something from everything. You take the good things from every different discipline, use what works, and you throw the rest away". A contemporary of Bruce Lee,
Wing Chun Wing Chun Kuen (), commonly known as Wing Chun (), or Ving Tsun, is a concept-based traditional Southern Chinese kung fu (wushu Wushu may refer to: Sports * Chinese martial arts Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella te ...

Wing Chun
practitioner Wong Shun Leung, gained prominence fighting in 60-100 illegal '''' fights against other Chinese martial artists of various styles. Wong also fought and won against Western fighters of other combat styles, such as his match against a Russian boxer named Giko,Peterson, D.
Wong Shun Leung: The Legend behind the Legend; Recalling the life of Bruce Lee's teacher
Retrieved on June 25, 2009.
his televised fight against a
fencer Fencer may refer to: * Fencer, a person who participates in the sport of fencing * Fencer, a person who makes fences * Fencer, the device which energizes an electric fence * Fencer, the NATO reporting name of the Sukhoi Su-24 combat jet * HMS Fence ...

fencer
,Lam, G., & LeBlanc, G. E.
The Wing Chun double knife training: Baat Jaam Do
Retrieved on July 7, 2009.
and his well-documented fight against
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
ese
Kung-Fu Chinese martial arts, often called by the umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "under", and ὄνυμα, ''ónuma'', "name") is a semantics, semantic relation between a hyponym denoting a sub ...
master Wu Ming Jeet.Longley, K.
Dave Lacey 'Lai Dai Wai': Buck Sing Choy Lay Fut's unrepentant 'Black Panther'
(originally published in ''Impact International Martial Arts Magazine''). Retrieved July 7, 2009.
Wong combined boxing and
kickboxing Kickboxing is a group of Stand-up fighting, stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punch (strike), punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing, with Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate also having some influence. Kickboxing ...

kickboxing
into his
kung fu Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella terms kung fu (; ), kuoshu () or wushu (), are several hundred fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common ...

kung fu
, as Bruce Lee did. Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki took place in Japan in 1976. The classic match-up between professional boxer and professional wrestler turned sour as each fighter refused to engage in the other's style, and after a 15-round stalemate it was declared a draw.
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali (; born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer, poet and philanthropist. Nicknamed The Greatest, he is widely regarded as one of the most significa ...

Muhammad Ali
sustained a substantial amount of damage to his legs, as
Antonio Inoki Muhammad Hussain Inoki (born on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law en ...
slide-kicked him continuously for the duration of the bout, causing him to be hospitalized for the next three days. The fight played an important role in the history of mixed martial arts. In
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, several
shoot-style Shoot wrestling is a combat sport that originated in Japan's professional wrestling circuit of the 1970s. Professional wrestlers of that era attempted to use more realistic or even "full contact" moves in their matches to increase their excitemen ...
professional wrestling promotions like
UWF International Union of Wrestling Forces International, better known as UWF International, U-Inter, or simply UWFi, was a shoot style professional wrestling promotion in Japan from 1991 to 1996. Although the matches were worked (i.e. predetermined), the UWF-i was ...
and
Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Group (''Purofesshonaru-resuringu Fujiwara-Gumi'', プロフェッショナルレスリング藤原組) was a shoot style Shoot wrestling is a combat sport that originated in Japan's professional wrestling circuit of th ...
attempted to create a
combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed (Hand-to-hand combat, not using weapons). Combat is sometim ...
-based style which blended
wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the oppon ...

wrestling
,
kickboxing Kickboxing is a group of Stand-up fighting, stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punch (strike), punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing, with Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate also having some influence. Kickboxing ...

kickboxing
and
submission grappling#REDIRECT Submission wrestling Submission Wrestling, also known as Submission Fighting, Submission grappling, Sport grappling, is a form of competition and a general term for martial arts and combat sports that focus on clinch and ground fight ...
. While the matches were predetermined, the style was very convincing at the time and can be retrospectively considered a precursor to mixed martial arts. Professional wrestlers
Masakatsu Funaki is a Japanese actor, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler known professionally as , who has previously wrestled in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi (PWFG), Universal Wrestling ...

Masakatsu Funaki
and
Minoru Suzuki (born June 17, 1968) is a Japanese professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers wi ...
founded
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
in 1993 which promoted legitimate contests initially under professional wrestling rules. These promotions inspired
Pride Fighting Championships Pride Fighting Championships (Pride or Pride FC, founded as KRS-Pride) was a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company. Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997. Pride held more than sixty mixed martial arts eve ...
which started in 1997. Pride was acquired by its rival Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2007. A well-documented fight between
Golden Gloves The Golden Gloves is the name given to annual competitions for amateur boxing Amateur boxing is a variant of boxing practised at the varsity sports, collegiate level, at the Olympic Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games, as well as ...
boxing champion Joey Hadley and Arkansas Karate Champion David Valovich happened on June 22, 1976, at Memphis Blues Baseball Park. The bout had mixed rules: the
karateka (; ; Okinawan language, Okinawan pronunciation: ) is a martial arts, martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It developed from the Okinawan martial arts, indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts (called , "hand"; ''tii'' in Okinawan) under the ...

karateka
was allowed to use his fists, feet and knees, while the boxer could only use his fists. Hadley won the fight via knockout on the first round. In 1988
Rick Roufus Rick John Roufus (born June 3, 1966) is a retired American Kickboxing, kickboxer. He is one of the most famous kickboxers in America, and has also competed professionally in boxing and mixed martial arts. An accomplished professional fighter thr ...
challenged
Changpuek Kiatsongrit Changpuek nglish: White ElephantKiatsongrit ( th, ช้างเผือก เกียรติทรงฤทธิ์, born October 13, 1966 ) was a Thai Muay Thai fighter. He is credited as being one of the first Muay Thai fighters to go ...
to a non-title
Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

Muay Thai
vs.
kickboxing Kickboxing is a group of Stand-up fighting, stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punch (strike), punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing, with Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate also having some influence. Kickboxing ...

kickboxing
super fight. Rick Roufus was at the time an undefeated Kickboxer and held both the
KICK A kick is a physical strike Strike may refer to: People *Strike (surname) Physical confrontation or removal *Strike (attack), attack with an inanimate object or a part of the human body intended to cause harm *Airstrike, military strike by ...
Super Middleweight World title and the PKC Middleweight U.S title. Changpuek Kiatsongrit was finding it increasingly difficult to get fights in Thailand as his weight (70 kg) was not typical for Thailand, where competitive bouts tended to be at the lower weights. Roufus knocked Changpuek down twice with punches in the first round, breaking Changpuek's jaw, but lost by technical knockout in the fourth round due to the culmination of low kicks to the legs that he was unprepared for. This match was the first popular fight which showcased the power of such low kicks to a predominantly Western audience.


Timeline of major events


Modern sport

The movement that led to the creation of present-day mixed martial arts scenes emerged from a confluence of several earlier martial arts scenes:
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
and the
vale tudo Vale Tudo (; en, Everything Goes) is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with relatively few rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are assoc ...
events in Brazil, rooftop fights in
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
's
street fighting Street fighting is hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people. Unlike sport fighting, a street fight might involve weapons, multiple opponents, and no rules. The venue is usually a public place (e.g. a street) ...

street fighting
culture, and the Japanese professional wrestling circuit. Vale tudo began in the 1920s and became renowned through its association with the "
Gracie challenge The Gracie Challenge was an open invitation challenge match issued by members of the Gracie family, representing their self-defense system of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu against challengers of other martial art systems in a vale tudo match. A precursor to the ...
", which was issued by
Carlos Gracie Carlos Gracie (September 14, 1902October 7, 1994) was a Brazilian martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat ...
and Hélio Gracie and upheld later by descendants of the
Gracie family The Gracie Family () is a prominent martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the oppo ...
. The "Gracie Challenges" were held in the garages and gyms of the Gracie family members. When the popularity grew, these types of mixed bouts were a staple attraction at the carnivals in Brazil. In the mid-20th century, mixed martial arts contests emerged in
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
's
street fighting Street fighting is hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people. Unlike sport fighting, a street fight might involve weapons, multiple opponents, and no rules. The venue is usually a public place (e.g. a street) ...

street fighting
culture in the form of rooftop fights. During the early 20th century, there was an influx of migrants from
Mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

Mainland China
, including
Chinese martial arts Chinese martial arts, often called by the umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompass ...
teachers who opened up martial arts schools in Hong Kong. In the mid-20th century, soaring
crime in Hong Kong In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...
, combined with limited
Hong Kong Police The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) is the primary law enforcement, investigation agency, and largest disciplined service under the Security Bureau of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of ...
manpower, led to many young
Hongkongers Hongkongers (), also known as Hong Kongers, Hong Kongese, Hongkongese, Hong Kong citizen and Hong Kong people, typically refers to legal residents of the city of Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrat ...
learning martial arts for
self-defence Self-defense (self-defence primarily in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial ...
. Around the 1960s, there were about 400 martial arts schools in Hong Kong, teaching their own distinctive styles of martial arts. In Hong Kong's street fighting culture, there emerged a rooftop fight scene in the 1950s and 1960s, where gangs from rival martial arts schools challenged each other to bare-knuckle fights on Hong Kong's rooftops, in order to avoid crackdowns by colonial
British Hong Kong Hong Kong was a colony and dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sove ...
authorities. The most famous fighter to emerge from Hong Kong's rooftop fight scene was
Bruce Lee Lee Jun-fan (; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee (), was a Chinese American Chinese Americans are Americans of Chinese people, Chinese ancestry. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas ...

Bruce Lee
, who combined different techniques from different martial arts schools into his own
hybrid martial arts Hybrid martial arts, also known as hybrid fighting systems or sometimes eclectic martial arts or freestyle martial arts, refer to martial arts or fighting systems that incorporate techniques and theories from several particular martial arts (ecle ...
system called
Jeet Kune Do Jeet Kune Do is a hybrid martial art heavily influenced and adapted by the personal philosophy and experiences of martial artist Bruce Lee. Overview and philosophy Jeet Kune Do was conceived by Bruce Lee, based on his experiences in unarmed ...
. Lee went on to popularize the concept of mixed martial arts internationally. Early mixed-match martial arts
professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
bouts in Japan (known as ''Ishu Kakutōgi Sen'' (異種格闘技戦), literally "heterogeneous combat sports bouts") became popular with
Antonio Inoki Muhammad Hussain Inoki (born on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law en ...
only in the 1970s. Inoki was a disciple of
Rikidōzan (born Kim Sin-rak; ; November 14, 1924 – December 15, 1963), better known as Rikidōzan (), was a Korean-Japanese wrestler who competed in professional wrestling and sumo wrestling. He was known as The Father of Puroresu, and one of the mos ...
, but also of
Karl Gotch Charles Istaz (August 3, 1924 – July 28, 2007) was a Belgian-born German-American professional wrestler and trainer, best known by his ring name Karl Gotch. In Japan, Gotch was known as the "God of Wrestling" due to his influence in shaping the P ...
, who trained numerous Japanese wrestlers in
catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
. Regulated mixed martial arts competitions were first introduced in the United States by CV Productions, Inc. Its first competition, called ''Tough Guy Contest'' was held on March 20, 1980,
New Kensington, Pennsylvania New Kensington, known locally as New Ken, is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Westmoreland County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, situated along the Allegheny River northeast of Pittsburgh. The population was 13,116 at the 2010 U ...
,
Holiday Inn Holiday Inn is an American hospitality of hotel A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided inside a hotel room may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large sui ...
. During that year the company renamed the brand to ''Super Fighters'' and sanctioned ten regulated tournaments in
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
. In 1983, Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill that specifically called for: "Prohibiting Tough Guy contests or Battle of the Brawlers contests", and ended the sport.Nash, John S. (May 23, 2012
The Martial Chronicles: Before Fighting Was Ultimate It Was Super
,
SB Nation ''SB Nation'' (originally known as ''SportsBlogs Nation'') is a sports blogging network owned by Vox Media Vox Media, Inc. is an American mass media company based in Washington, D.C., and New York City. The company was established in Nove ...
(bloodyelbow.com) Retrieved August 31, 2014
Werner, Sam (June 24, 2011
MMA roots were planted in New Kensington
,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The ''Pittsburgh Post-Gazette'', also known simply as the PG, is the largest newspaper serving metropolitan Metropolitan may refer to: * Metropolitan area, a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding t ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Retrieved September 1, 2014
Japan had its own form of mixed martial arts discipline,
Shooto Shooto is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent. ...
, which evolved from shoot wrestling in 1985, as well as the shoot wrestling derivative
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
, which was founded as a promotion in 1993. Pancrase 1 was held in Japan in September 1993, two months before
UFC 1 ''The Ultimate Fighting Championship'' (later renamed ''UFC 1: The Beginning'') was the first mixed martial arts Mixed martial arts (MMA), sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact ...
was held in the United States in November 1993. In 1993, the sport was reintroduced to the United States by the
Ultimate Fighting Championship The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) promoter (entertainment), promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC is owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Endeavor (comp ...
(UFC). UFC promoters initially pitched the event as a real-life fighting video game tournament similar to ''Street Fighter'' and ''Mortal Kombat''. The sport gained international exposure and widespread publicity when jiu-jitsu fighter Royce Gracie won the UFC 1, first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament, submitting three challengers in a total of just five minutes. sparking a revolution in martial arts. The first Vale Tudo Japan tournaments were held in 1994 and 1995 and were both won by Rickson Gracie. Around the same time, International Vale Tudo competition started to develop through (World Vale Tudo Championship (WVC), Vale Tudo Japan, VTJ, International Vale Tudo Championship, IVC, UVF etc.). Interest in mixed martial arts as a sport resulted in the creation of the
Pride Fighting Championships Pride Fighting Championships (Pride or Pride FC, founded as KRS-Pride) was a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company. Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997. Pride held more than sixty mixed martial arts eve ...
(Pride) in 1997, where again Rickson participated and won. The sport reached a new peak of popularity in North America in December 2006: a UFC 66, rematch between then Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former champion Tito Ortiz, rivaled the pay-per-view, PPV sales of some of the biggest boxing events of all time, and helped the UFC's 2006 PPV gross surpass that of any promotion in PPV history. In 2007, Zuffa, Zuffa LLC, the owners of the UFC MMA promotion, bought Japanese rival MMA brand Pride Fighting Championships, Pride FC, merging the contracted fighters under one promotion. Comparisons were drawn to the consolidation that occurred in other sports, such as the AFL-NFL Merger in American football.


Origin of the term ''MMA''

The first documented use of the name ''mixed martial arts'' was in a review of
UFC 1 ''The Ultimate Fighting Championship'' (later renamed ''UFC 1: The Beginning'') was the first mixed martial arts Mixed martial arts (MMA), sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact ...
by television critic
Howard Rosenberg Howard Anthony Rosenberg (born June 10, 1942) is an American television critic. He worked at '' The Louisville Times'' from 1968 through 1978 and then worked at the ''Los Angeles Times The ''Los Angeles Times'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''LA T ...
, in 1993. The term gained popularity when the website newfullcontact.com, then one of the biggest covering the sport, hosted and reprinted the article. The first use of the term by a promotion was in September 1995 by Rick Blume, president and CEO of Battlecade Extreme Fighting, just after UFC 7. UFC official Jeff Blatnick was responsible for the Ultimate Fighting Championship officially adopting the name mixed martial arts. It was previously marketed as "Ultimate Fighting" and "No Holds Barred (NHB)", until Blatnick and John McCarthy (mixed martial arts), John McCarthy proposed the name "MMA" at the UFC 17 rules meeting in response to increased public criticism. The question as to who actually coined the name is still in debate.


Regulation

The first state regulated MMA event was held in Biloxi, Mississippi on August 23, 1996, with the sanctioning of IFC's Mayhem in Mississippi show by the Mississippi Athletic Commission under William Lyons. The rules used were an adaptation of the kickboxing rules already accepted by most state athletic commissions. These modified kickboxing rules allowed for take downs and ground fighting and did away with rounds, although they did allow for fighters to be stood up by the referee and restarted if there was no action on the ground. These rules were the first in modern MMA to define fouls, fighting surfaces and the use of the cage. In March 1997, the Iowa Athletic Commission officially sanctioned Battlecade Extreme Fighting under a modified form of its existing rules for Shootfighting. These rules created the three 5 minute round, one-minute break format, and mandated shootfighting gloves, as well as weight classes, for the first time. Illegal blows were listed as groin strikes, head butting, biting, eye gouging, hair pulling, striking an opponent with an elbow while the opponent is on the mat, kidney strikes, and striking the back of the head with closed fist. Holding onto the ring or cage for any reason was defined as a foul. While there are minor differences between these and the final Unified Rules, notably regarding elbow strikes, the Iowa rules allowed mixed martial arts promoters to conduct essentially modern events legally, anywhere in the state. On March 28, 1997, Extreme Fighting 4 was held under these rules, making it the first show conducted under a version of the modern rules. In April 2000, the California State Athletic Commission voted unanimously in favor of regulations that later became the foundation for the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. However, when the legislation was sent to the California capital in Sacramento for review, it was determined that the sport fell outside the jurisdiction of the CSAC, rendering the vote meaningless. On September 30, 2000, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) began allowing mixed martial arts promoters to conduct events in New Jersey. The first event was an IFC event titled Battleground 2000 held in Atlantic City. The intent was to allow the NJSACB to observe actual events and gather information to establish a comprehensive set of rules to regulate the sport effectively. On April 3, 2001, the NJSACB held a meeting to discuss the regulation of mixed martial arts events. This meeting attempted to unify the myriad rules and regulations which had been utilized by the different mixed martial arts organizations. At this meeting, the proposed uniform rules were agreed upon by the NJSACB, several other regulatory bodies, numerous promoters of mixed martial arts events and other interested parties in attendance. At the conclusion of the meeting, all parties in attendance were able to agree upon a uniform set of rules to govern the sport of mixed martial arts. The rules adopted by the NJSACB have become the de facto standard set of rules for professional mixed martial arts across North America. On July 30, 2009, a motion was made at the annual meeting of the Association of Boxing Commissions to adopt these rules as the "Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts". The motion passed unanimously. In November 2005 the United States Army began to sanction mixed martial arts with the first annual Army Combatives Championships held by the US Army Combatives School. Canada formally decriminalized mixed martial arts with a vote on Bill S-209 on June 5, 2013. The bill allows for provinces to have the power to create athletic commissions to regulate and sanction professional mixed martial arts bouts.


MMA organizations


Promotions

According to #MMA fighter ranking, MMA portal ''Tapology.com'' listings, hundreds of MMA promotions around the world produce MMA events. Since the UFC came to prominence in mainstream media in 2006, and with their 2007 merger with Pride FC and purchases of World Extreme Cagefighting, WEC and Strikeforce (mixed martial arts), Strikeforce, no companies have presented significant competition, and the UFC is regarded as having most of the #MMA fighter ranking, top ranked talent. Fighters usually get contracts in the UFC after competing successfully in other MMA promotions from around the world. Some MMA promotions tend to exist more to build up prospects while others have a mix of prospects and veterans. Some exist only to be feeder leagues to the bigger promotions (e.g. ''LFA'', ''CWFC''), others exist to try to be the best in the world (e.g. ''ACB'', ''ONE Championship''). Some promotions only do four shows a year while others are doing them monthly. According to ''ScorecardMMA.com'', one of the world's top statistical rankings services for MMA, and the only one currently ranking MMA promotions worldwide statistically; "To rank MMA Promotions we use an index that we calculate weekly- ''Promotion Score''.Promo Score calculation is based on the strength of Events and Fighters that Promotion has at that time. Promo Score has three main components: * Event Index: based on the quality of events in the last quarter and in the last year. * Owned Fighter Index: calculated based on the quality of fighters that the promotion currently owns (contracted, or used recently). * Utilized Fighters Index: fighters that the promotion has used in the last four months and in the last three quarters. As of May 26, 2018 the top 15 MMA promotions (out of 41 ranked) in the world are: # Ultimate Fighting Championship, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Based in Las Vegas, United States. Broadcasts their fights locally on ESPN (prior to 2019 on Fox Sports) and on other networks around the world. # Bellator MMA. Based in Newport Beach, California, United States. Broadcasts their fights locally on the Paramount Network and other networks around the world. # Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB). Based in Grozny, Russia. Broadcasts their fights locally on Match TV and streaming on YouTube (with Russian commentary) and Facebook (with English commentary). # Fight Nights Global (FNG). Based in Moscow, Russia. Broadcasts their fights locally on ''Match TV'', and streaming on VKontakte. # ONE Championship. Based in Kallang, Singapore. Broadcasts their fights regionally on Fox Sports Asia and streaming on their Mobile app (without Geo-blocking). # Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF). Based in Tokyo, Japan. Broadcast their fights locally on Fuji Television and for Pay-per-view on SKY PerfecTV! (Japan only) and ''FITE TV'' (internationally). # Invicta FC (all female MMA). Based in Enka, North Carolina, United States. Broadcasts their fights on UFC Fight Pass. #
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
. Based in Tokyo, Japan. Broadcast their fights locally on Tokyo MX and streaming on AbemaTV (with Japanese commentary) and on UFC Fight Pass (with English commentary). # M-1 Global. Based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Broadcasts their fights locally on Russia-2 and streaming on their mobile app (with English commentary). # Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA). Based in Houston, Texas, USA. Broadcasts their fights locally on AXS TV Fights. # World Fighting Championship Akhmat (WFCA). Based in Grozny, Russia. Broadcasts their fights locally on ''Grozny TV'' (also streaming on ''Grozny.tv''). # Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW). Based in Warsaw, Poland. Broadcasts their fights locally on Polsat Sport and on Fight Network internationally. # Deep (mixed martial arts), Deep. Based in Nagoya, Japan. Broadcast their fights locally on ''SKY PerfecTV!'' (Fighting TV Samurai channel) and streaming on AbemaTV. # Road Fighting Championship (Road FC). Based in Wonju, South Korea. Broadcasts their fights locally on MBC Sports+ and streaming on afreecaTV (with Korean commentary) and ''YouTube'' (with English commentary). # Cage Warriors (CWFC). Based in London, England, UK. Broadcasts their fights locally on BT Sport and on UFC Fight Pass.


Gyms

There are hundreds of MMA training facilities throughout the world. These are the current top MMA Gyms in the world based on how many top ranked UFC fighters they currently train. There are 160 fighters, who train at over 80 different gyms, in the top 15 of the UFC's 10 divisions. The rankings are based on a system where a champion earns their gym 25 points, A #1 contender is 15, a #2 contender 10 and then a decrease in ranking equaling a decrease of 1 point until the ranking reaches #10. From there, rankings 11–15 are each worth one point. (updated July 2015): # Nova União (mixed martial arts), Nova União located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil # Greg Jackson (MMA trainer), Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA located in Albuquerque, New Mexico # American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) located in San Jose, California. # Team Alpha Male located in Sacramento, California. # American Top Team (ATT) located in Coconut Creek, Florida. # Kings MMA located in Huntington Beach, California. # Blackzilians located in Boca Raton, Florida. # COUNTER COMBAT CLUB® located in Birmingham, United Kingdom # Matt Serra#Personal life, Serra-Longo located in Long Island, New York. # Glendale Fighting Club located in Glendale, California. # Black House (MMA), Black House (Team Nogueira) based out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. # Glover Teixeira, Teixeira MMA & Fitness (Teixeira MMA) located in Bethel, Connecticut.


Media

Web data traffic ranking leader Alexa Internet lists 40 online media outlets under its "MMA news and media" website category. , the top 10 most popular websites covering the sport are: # Sherdog.com # MMAFighting.com (
SB Nation ''SB Nation'' (originally known as ''SportsBlogs Nation'') is a sports blogging network owned by Vox Media Vox Media, Inc. is an American mass media company based in Washington, D.C., and New York City. The company was established in Nove ...
) # Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC.com # MMAjunkie.com # MMAmania.com (SB Nation) # BloodyElbow.com (SB Nation) # Mixedmartialarts.com # ESPN.com/mma # MMAWeekly.com # Lowkickmma.com


Fighter development

As a result of an increased number of competitors, organized training camps, information sharing, and modern kinesiology, the understanding of the effectiveness of various strategies has been greatly improved. UFC commentator Joe Rogan claimed that martial arts evolved more in the ten years following 1993 than in the preceding 700 years combined. The high profile of modern MMA promotions such as UFC and Pride has fostered an accelerated development of the sport. The early 1990s saw a wide variety of traditional styles competing in the sport. However, early competition saw varying levels of success among disparate styles. In the early 1990s, practitioners of grappling based styles such as
Brazilian jiu-jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
dominated competition in the United States. Practitioners of striking based arts such as
boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

boxing
,
kickboxing Kickboxing is a group of Stand-up fighting, stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punch (strike), punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing, with Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate also having some influence. Kickboxing ...

kickboxing
, and karate, who were unfamiliar with submission grappling, proved to be unprepared to deal with its Submission hold, submission techniques. As competitions became more and more common, those with a base in striking arts became more competitive as they cross-trained in styles based around takedown (grappling), takedowns and submission holds. Likewise, those from the varying grappling styles added striking techniques to their arsenal. This increase of cross-training resulted in fighters becoming increasingly multidimensional and well-rounded in their skill-sets. The new hybridization of fighting styles can be seen in the technique of "ground and pound" developed by wrestling-based UFC pioneers such as Dan Severn, Don Frye and Mark Coleman. These wrestlers realized the need for the incorporation of strikes on the ground as well as on the feet, and incorporated ground striking into their grappling-based styles. Mark Coleman stated at UFC 14 that his strategy was to "Ground him and pound him", which may be the first televised use of the term. Since the late 1990s, both strikers and grapplers have been successful at MMA, though it is rare to see any fighter who is not schooled in both striking and grappling arts reach the highest levels of competition. The greatest MMA fighter of all time is considered by experts, fighters and fans to be either light heavyweight Jon Jones or lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov. Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Demetrious Johnson, Fedor Emelianenko, José_Aldo, Jose Aldo and Stipe Miocic are also included in this discussion.


Rules

The rules for modern mixed martial arts competitions have changed significantly since the early days of
vale tudo Vale Tudo (; en, Everything Goes) is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with relatively few rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are assoc ...
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
ese shoot wrestling, and
UFC 1 ''The Ultimate Fighting Championship'' (later renamed ''UFC 1: The Beginning'') was the first mixed martial arts Mixed martial arts (MMA), sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact ...
, and even more from the historic style of
pankration Pankration (; el, παγκράτιον) was a sporting event introduced into the Ancient Greece, Greek Ancient Olympic Games, Olympic Games in 648 BC, which was an empty-hand submission sport with few rules. The athletes used boxing and wrestlin ...

pankration
. As the knowledge of fighting techniques spread among fighters and spectators, it became clear that the original minimalist rule systems needed to be amended. The main motivations for these rule changes were protection of the health of the fighters, the desire to shed the perception of "barbarism and lawlessness", and to be recognized as a legitimate sport. The new rules included the introduction of MMA weight classes, weight classes; as knowledge about submissions spread, differences in weight had become a significant factor. There are nine different weight classes in the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. These nine weight classes include Flyweight (MMA), flyweight (up to 125 lb / 56.7 kg), Bantamweight (MMA), bantamweight (up to 135 lb / 61.2 kg), Featherweight (MMA), featherweight (up to 145 lb / 65.8 kg), Lightweight (MMA), lightweight (up to 155 lb / 70.3 kg), Welterweight (MMA), welterweight (up to 170 lb / 77.1 kg), Middleweight (MMA), middleweight (up to 185 lb / 83.9 kg), Light heavyweight (MMA), light heavyweight (up to 205 lb / 93.0 kg), Heavyweight (MMA), heavyweight (up to 265 lb / 120.2 kg), and Super heavyweight (MMA), super heavyweight with no upper weight limit. MMA gloves, Small, open-fingered gloves were introduced to protect fists, reduce the occurrence of cuts (and stoppages due to cuts) and encourage fighters to use their hands for striking to allow more captivating matches. Gloves were first made mandatory in Japan's
Shooto Shooto is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent. ...
promotion and were later adopted by the UFC as it developed into a regulated sport. Most professional fights have the fighters wear 4 oz gloves, whereas some jurisdictions require amateurs to wear a slightly heavier 6 oz glove for more protection for the hands and wrists. Time limits were established to avoid long fights with little action where competitors conserved their strength. Matches without time limits also complicated the airing of live events. The time limits in most professional fights are three 5 minute rounds, and championship fights are normally five 5-minute rounds. Similar motivations produced the "stand up" rule, where the referee can stand fighters up if it is perceived that both are resting on the ground or not advancing toward a dominant position. In the U.S., state athletic and boxing commissions have played a crucial role in the introduction of additional rules because they oversee MMA in a similar fashion to boxing. In Japan and most of Europe, there is no regulating authority over competitions, so these organizations have greater freedom in rule development and event structure. Previously, Japan-based organization
Pride Fighting Championships Pride Fighting Championships (Pride or Pride FC, founded as KRS-Pride) was a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company. Its inaugural event was held at the Tokyo Dome on October 11, 1997. Pride held more than sixty mixed martial arts eve ...
held an opening 10-minute round followed by two five-minute rounds. Stomps, soccer kicks and knees to the head of a grounded opponent are legal, but elbow strikes to the head are not. This rule set is more predominant in the Asian-based organizations as opposed to European and American rules. More recently, Singapore-based organization ONE Championship allows soccer kicks and knees to the head of a grounded opponent as well as elbow strikes to the head, but does not allow head stomps. In 2016, ONE later banned soccer kicks. However, they still allow knees to the head of a grounded opponent.


Victory

Victory in a match is normally gained either by the judges' decision after an allotted amount of time has elapsed, a stoppage by the referee (for example if a competitor cannot defend himself intelligently) or the fight doctor (due to an injury), a submission (combat sports), submission, by a competitor's cornerman throwing in the towel, or by knockout. Knockout (KO): as soon as a fighter is unable to continue due to legal strikes, his opponent is declared the winner. As MMA rules allow submissions and ground and pound, the fight is stopped to prevent further injury to the fighter. Submission: a fighter may admit defeat during a match by: * a physical tap on the opponent's body or mat/floor * tapping verbally Technical Submission: the referee stops the match when the fighter is caught in a submission hold and is in danger of being injured. This can occur when a fighter is choked unconscious, or when a bone has been broken in a submission hold (a broken arm due to a kimura, etc.) Technical Knockout (TKO): * Referee stoppage: The referee may stop a match in progress if: ** a fighter becomes dominant to the point where the opponent cannot intelligently defend themself and is taking excessive damage as a result ** a fighter appears to be losing consciousness as he/she is being struck ** a fighter appears to have a significant injury such as a cut or a broken bone Doctor Stoppage/Cut: the referee will call for a time out if a fighter's ability to continue is in question as a result of apparent injuries, such as a large cut. The ring doctor will inspect the fighter and stop the match if the fighter is deemed unable to continue safely, rendering the opponent the winner. However, if the match is stopped as a result of an injury from illegal actions by the opponent, either a disqualification or no contest will be issued instead. Corner stoppage: a fighter's corner may announce defeat on the fighter's behalf by throwing in the towel during the match in progress or between rounds. This is normally done when a fighter is being beaten to the point where it is dangerous and unnecessary to continue. In some cases, the fighter may be injured. Retirement: a fighter is so dazed or exhausted that he/she cannot physically continue fighting. Usually occurs between rounds. Decision: if the match goes the distance, then the outcome of the bout is determined by three judges. The judging criteria are organization-specific. Forfeit: a fighter or their representative may forfeit a match prior to the beginning of the match, thereby losing the match. Disqualification: a "warning" will be given when a fighter commits a foul or illegal action or does not follow the referee's instruction. Three warnings will result in a disqualification. Moreover, if a fighter is unable to continue due to a deliberate illegal technique from his opponent, the opponent will be disqualified. No Contest: in the event that both fighters commit a violation of the rules, or a fighter is unable to continue due to an injury from an accidental illegal technique, the match will be declared a "No Contest", except in the case of a technical decision in the unified rules. A result can also be overturned to a no contest if the fighter that was originally victorious fails a post fight drug test for banned substances. Technical decision: in the unified rules of MMA, if a fighter is unable to continue due to an accidental illegal technique late in the fight, a technical decision is rendered by the judges based on who is ahead on the judges' scorecards at that time. In a three-round fight, two rounds must be completed for a technical decision to be awarded and in a five-round fight, three rounds must be completed.


Fighter ranking

MMA fighters are ranked according to their performance and outcome of their fights and level of competition they faced. The most popular and used, ranking portals are: * Fight Matrix: Ranks up to 250–500 fighters worldwide for every possible division male and female. * Sherdog: Ranks top 10 fighters worldwide only for current available UFC divisions. Also used by ESPN. *
SB Nation ''SB Nation'' (originally known as ''SportsBlogs Nation'') is a sports blogging network owned by Vox Media Vox Media, Inc. is an American mass media company based in Washington, D.C., and New York City. The company was established in Nove ...
: Ranks top 14 fighters worldwide only for male divisions. Also used by USA Today. * MMAjunkie.com: Ranks top 10 fighters worldwide for current UFC available divisions. * Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC: Ranks top 15 contenders, UFC signed fighters only, as per UFC divisions. (For example: #2 means the fighter is #3 for the UFC, behind the Champion and the #1.) * Tapology: Ranks top 10 fighters worldwide for every possible division. * Ranking MMA: Top 50 MMA World Rankings for all Men's Divisions and Top 25 MMA World Rankings for all Women's Divisions. RankingMMA publishes Independent Mixed Martial Arts rankings that does not exclude any fighter based on their promotion. RankingMMA also provides UFC Rankings (Complete Roster), Historical MMA Rankings, Non-UFC Rankings, and MMA Prospect Rankings. Ranking MMA has published MMA World Rankings since 2006. * ''Sports Illustrated'': Ranks top 10 fighters worldwide for current UFC available divisions. * MMA Rising: Ranks top 10 fighters worldwide in every possible division. Notable for their ''Unified Women's Mixed Martial Arts. Rankings'' * MMA Weekly: Ranks top 10 male fighters worldwide in every possible division, and P4P for female fighters. Also used by Yahoo! Sports. * Bleacher Report: Ranks top 10 UFC fighters in each division. * Fight! Magazine: Ranks top 5 fighters and only in male divisions. * Oddsshark.com: Ranks top 10 fighters worldwide in current UFC divisions. * GroundandPound.de: Ranks top 10 European male fighters in all divisions. * MMAViking: Ranks top 5 Scandinavian male fighters in all divisions and Scandinavian female pound for pound.


Clothing

Mixed martial arts promotions typically require that male fighters wear shorts in addition to being barechested, thus precluding the use of keikogi, gi or fighting kimono to inhibit or assist submission (combat sport term), submission holds. Male fighters are required by most athletic commissions to wear groin protectors underneath their trunks. Female fighters wear short shorts and sports bras or other similarly snug-fitting tops. Both male and female fighters are required to wear a mouthguard. The need for flexibility in the legs combined with durability prompted the creation of various fighting shorts brands, which then spawned a range of mixed martial arts clothing and casual wear available to the public.


Fighting area

According to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, an MMA competition or exhibition may be held in a ring or a fenced area. The fenced area can be round or have at least six sides. Cages vary: some replace the metal fencing with a net, others have a different shape from an octagon, as the term "the Octagon" is trademarked by the UFC (though the 8-sided shape itself is not trademarked). The fenced area is called a cage generically, or a hexagon, an octagon or an octagon cage, depending on the shape. File:Fedor vs Coleman.JPG, A Ring used by Pride Fighting Championships, PRIDE. File:Chris Weidman knock out Anderson Silva at UFC 162..jpg, An Octagon cage used by the UFC.


Common disciplines

Most 'traditional' martial arts have a specific focus and these arts may be trained to improve in that area. Popular disciplines of each type include: * Stand-up fighting, Stand-up: Boxing, Kickboxing,
Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

Muay Thai
, Karate, Taekwondo, Capoeira, Combat Sambo, Savate, Sanda (sport), Sanda, Wushu (sport), Wushu are trained to improve stand-up striking. * Clinch fighting, Clinch:
Judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

Judo
, Catch Wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, Luta Livre,
Sambo Sambo may refer to: Places * Sambo, Angola, a commune in Tchicala Tcholohanga, Huambo Province, Angola * Sambo Creek, a village in Honduras Other uses * Sambo, botanist author abbreviation for Maria Cengia Sambo (1888–1939), Italian lichenolog ...
, are trained to improve Stand-up grappling position, clinching, takedown (grappling), takedowns and throw (grappling), throws, while
Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

Muay Thai
is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch. * Ground fighting, Ground:
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
,
Judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

Judo
,
Sambo Sambo may refer to: Places * Sambo, Angola, a commune in Tchicala Tcholohanga, Huambo Province, Angola * Sambo Creek, a village in Honduras Other uses * Sambo, botanist author abbreviation for Maria Cengia Sambo (1888–1939), Italian lichenolog ...
,
Catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
, Luta Livre and submission wrestling are trained to improve ground control and position, as well as to achieve submission holds, and defend against them. Most styles have been adapted from their traditional forms, such as
boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

boxing
stances, which lack effective counters to leg kicks, the
Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

Muay Thai
stance, which is poor for defending against takedowns due to its static nature, and
Judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

Judo
or
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
techniques, which must be adapted for No-keikogi, Gi competition. It is common for a fighter to train with multiple coaches of different styles or an organized fight team to improve various aspects of their game at once. Aerobic exercise, Cardiovascular conditioning, speed drills, strength training and flexibility (anatomy), flexibility are also important aspects of a fighter's training. Some schools advertise their styles as simply "mixed martial arts", which has become a style in itself, but the training will still often be split into different sections. While mixed martial arts was initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters, this is no longer the case. As the sport has become more mainstream and more widely taught, it has become accessible to wider range of practitioners of all ages. Proponents of this sort of training argue that it is safe for anyone, of any age, with varying levels of competitiveness and fitness.


Brazilian jiu-jitsu/Grappling

Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the early 1990s, when BJJ expert Royce Gracie won the UFC 1, first, UFC 2, second and UFC 4, fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships, which at the time were single-elimination tournament, single-elimination martial arts tournaments. Royce often fought successfully against much larger opponents who practiced other styles, including
boxing Boxing is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent ...

boxing
,
wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the oppon ...

wrestling
, shoot-fighting, karate and taekwondo. It has since become a staple art and key component for many MMA fighters. BJJ is largely credited for bringing widespread attention to the importance of
ground fighting Ground may refer to: * Soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, ga ...
. BJJ is primarily a ground-based fighting style that emphasizes joint locks and chokeholds to submit the adversary, but it can also use other techniques such as throw (grappling), throws and grappling hold, holds derived from wrestling and from its Jujutsu/Judo base. Some fighters who are known for using BJJ skills or hold a black belt include: Royce Gracie, Antônio Carlos Júnior, Amanda Nunes, Anderson Silva, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Charles Oliveira, Cris Cyborg, Deiveson Figueiredo, Demian Maia, Fabrício Werdum, Gleison Tibau, Glover Teixeira, José Aldo, Junior dos Santos, Lyoto Machida, Rafael dos Anjos, Renan Barão, Rousimar Palhares, Ronaldo Souza, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Mackenzie Dern, Chael Sonnen, Tony Ferguson, Demetrious Johnson, Frank Mir, Georges St-Pierre, B.J. Penn, Nate Diaz, and Brian Ortega.


Wrestling

Wrestling (including Freestyle wrestling, freestyle, Greco-Roman wrestling, Greco-Roman, and American Folk wrestling, folkstyle) gained tremendous respect due to its effectiveness in mixed martial arts competitions. It is widely studied by mixed martial artists and credited for conferring an emphasis on conditioning for explosive movement and stamina, both of which are critical in competitive mixed martial arts. It is known for excellent takedowns, particularly against the legs. Notable wrestlers who were MMA competitors include: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Chael Sonnen, Jon Jones, Johny Hendricks, Cain Velasquez, Chad Mendes, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Mark Coleman, Frankie Edgar, Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, Chris Weidman, Daniel Cormier, Dan Henderson, Yoel Romero, Mark Schultz (wrestler), Mark Schultz, and Henry Cejudo


Catch-as-catch-can

Catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
is the ancestor of freestyle wrestling and includes submissions which are prohibited in freestyle wrestling. Widely popular around the world during the 19th and 20th centuries, catch wrestling underwent a decline as its amateur-side became olympic freestyle wrestling, while the professional side became modern
professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment and performing art, which combines athletics with performance. It comprises of exhibitions, called 'matches', held by touring companies called Professional wrestling promotion, promotions, in ...
. Catch survived in Japanese ''Puroresu''-style Pro Wrestling, where wrestlers such as
Antonio Inoki Muhammad Hussain Inoki (born on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law en ...
and
Karl Gotch Charles Istaz (August 3, 1924 – July 28, 2007) was a Belgian-born German-American professional wrestler and trainer, best known by his ring name Karl Gotch. In Japan, Gotch was known as the "God of Wrestling" due to his influence in shaping the P ...
promoted "strong style pro wrestling", that while Work (professional wrestling), worked, had realistic and full contact moves, resulting in the creation of the Universal Wrestling Federation (Japan), Universal Wrestling Federation and Shoot wrestling (which in their own turn would inspire the creation of legit proto-MMA shootfighting organizations such as
Shooto Shooto is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent. ...
and
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
). Many pro wrestlers that trained in shoot-style would later compete in MMA, which led to resurgence of Catch with the advent of mixed martial arts in the 90s. The term ''no holds barred'' was used originally to describe the wrestling method prevalent in catch wrestling tournaments during the late 19th century wherein no wrestling holds were banned from the competition, regardless of how dangerous they might be. The term was applied to mixed martial arts matches, especially at the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A lot of MMA fighters train in catch wrestling as their sole grappling style or as a complement to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, as it teaches techniques and tactics not found in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Notable MMA fighters who use catch wrestling as their primary grappling style include: Josh Barnett, Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Bas Rutten, Kazushi Sakuraba, Erik Paulson, Bobby Lashley,
Minoru Suzuki (born June 17, 1968) is a Japanese professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers wi ...
,
Masakatsu Funaki is a Japanese actor, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler known professionally as , who has previously wrestled in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi (PWFG), Universal Wrestling ...

Masakatsu Funaki
, Rumina Sato, Masakazu Imanari,
Antonio Inoki Muhammad Hussain Inoki (born on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, martial artist Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law en ...
, and Paul Sass.MMA Fan's Guide to Grappling: Catch Wrestling
- Bloody Elbow


Muay Thai/Kickboxing

Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

Muay Thai
or Thai boxing and
kickboxing Kickboxing is a group of Stand-up fighting, stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punch (strike), punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing, with Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate also having some influence. Kickboxing ...

kickboxing
, along with boxing, are recognised as a foundation for striking in mixed martial arts, and are both widely practiced and taught. Although both may seem identical, each has different techniques. Muay Thai originated in Thailand, and is known as the "art of eight limbs", which refers to the use of the legs, knees, elbows and fists. One of the primary benefits of training in Muay Thai for MMA is its versatility. Techniques cover the long, middle and short range with everything from kicks to clinch holds and throws. Meanwhile, kickboxing is a group of stand-up combat martial arts based on kicking and punching. The modern style originated in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, developed from Karate and Muay Thai, and had further development in the Netherlands and the United States. Different governing bodies apply different rules, such as allowing the use of elbows, knees, clinching or throws, etc. Notable fighters who use Muay Thai include former UFC women's strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk, UFC Featherweight Edson Barboza UFC Middleweight Darren Till and former UFC champions Zhang Weili, Anderson Silva, José Aldo and Cris Cyborg, while some kickboxers in MMA include Mirko Cro Cop, Alistair Overeem, Israel Adesanya, Sean O'Malley (fighter), Sean O'Malley, Michael Page, Cory Sandhagen, and Bas Rutten.


Boxing

Boxing is a combat form that is widely used in MMA and is one of the primary striking bases for many fighters. Boxing punches account for the vast majority of strikes during the stand up portion of a bout and also account for the largest number of significant strikes, knock downs and KOs in MMA matches. Several aspects of boxing are extremely valuable such as footwork, combinations, and defensive techniques like slips, head movement and stance (including chin protection and keeping hands up) commonly known as the Guard position. Boxing-based fighters have also been shown to throw and land a higher volume of strikes when compared with other striking bases, at a rate of 3.88 per minute with 9.64 per minute thrown (compared with Muay Thai at 3.46 and 7.50, respectively). Fighters known for using boxing include: Petr Yan, Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, Calvin Kattar, Cain Velasquez, Nick Diaz, Glover Teixeira, Junior dos Santos, B.J. Penn, Dan Hardy, Shane Carwin and Andrei Arlovski.


Luta Livre

Luta Livre (also referred to Luta Livre ''Brasileira'', ''Submission'' or ''Esportiva'') is a Brazilian submission wrestling style, developed in Brazil in the 1920s by
catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
practitioner Euclydes Hatem, Euclydes "Tatu" Hatem, including techniques from Catch Wrestling,
Judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

Judo
, Wrestling and
Brazilian jiu-jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
. Luta Livre is divided in the categories of ''Esportiva'', which is a form of submission grappling, differentiating from no-gi BJJ with its focus on quick and energetic submissions, and ''Vale tudo'', which includes strikes both standing up and on the ground in addition to grappling and submissions. Luta Livre was important to the development of Mixed Martial Arts, as rivalry between BJJ and Luta Livre fueled the Vale tudo scene. However, the success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu over Luta Livre practitioners, especially after the ''Desafio: Jiu Jitsu vs Luta Livre'' event in 1991 (which was broadcast live by Rede Globo), resulted in the style waning in popularity, although it seems to be making a resurgence, especially as an alternative to both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Catch Wrestling. Some notable Luta Livre practitioners in MMA include: Marco Ruas, Eugenio Tadeu, Renato Sobral, José Aldo, Alexandre Franca Nogueira, Terry Etim and Darren Till.


Judo

Using their knowledge of ne-waza/ground grappling and tachi-waza/standing grappling, several
judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

judo
practitioners have also competed in mixed martial arts matches. Fighters who hold a black belt in judo include Fedor Emelianenko, Marco Ruas, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dong Hyun Kim, Cub Swanson, and Olympians Ronda Rousey, Hector Lombard and Rick Hawn and Hidehiko Yoshida. Former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho has credited judo for his success in an interview.


Sambo

Sambo is a Russian martial art, combat sport and self-defense system. It is a mixture of
judo is a system of unarmed combat, gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art and Olympic sport (since 1964).『日本大百科全書』電子版【柔道】(CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Nipponica, "Judo"). Judo was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigor ...

judo
and freestyle wrestling using a keikogi known as kurtka. Sambo focuses on throwing, takedowns, grappling, and includes submissions from Judo and
catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
. Sambo also has a modality known as ''combat sambo'', which adds punches, kicks, elbows and knees, making it a proto-MMA hybrid fighting style. Sambo is popular in Russia and eastern Europe, where it is taught as a complement to Judo and Wrestling training, Sambo also provides a good base for MMA with all-around skills for combining grappling and striking. Some notable Sambo fighters that transitioned into MMA include: Fedor Emelianenko, Igor Vovchanchyn, Oleg Taktarov, Dan Severn and Khabib Nurmagomedov.


Karate

Karate, especially Kyokushin and other Full contact karate, full contact styles, has proven to be effective in the sport as it is one of the core foundations of kickboxing, and specializes in striking techniques. Various styles of karate are practiced by some MMA fighters, notably Chuck Liddell, Bas Rutten, Lyoto Machida, Stephen Thompson (fighter), Stephen Thompson, John Makdessi, Uriah Hall, Ryan Jimmo, Georges St-Pierre, Kyoji Horiguchi, and Louis Gaudinot. Liddell is known to have an extensive striking background in American Kenpo, Kenpō with Fabio Martella whereas Lyoto Machida practices Shotokan Ryu, and St-Pierre practices Kyokushin.


Wushu/Sanshou/Sanda/Kung Fu

Sanshou, Wushu Sanshou and other
Chinese martial arts Chinese martial arts, often called by the umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompass ...
have also been utilized in MMA. They can be highly effective in competition due to their mixture of striking and takedowns, achieved through a condensation of traditional Chinese martial arts techniques. Most prominent and chief amongst these fighters is Cung Le, who is most notable for his TKO and KO victories over former UFC champions Frank Shamrock (in Strikeforce) and Rich Franklin (at UFC Macau). Other Wushu Sanshou based fighters who have entered MMA include former UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili, Cung Le, Michael Page, KJ Noons, Pat Barry (fighter), Pat Barry, Zhang Tiequan, Muslim Salihov, and Zabit Magomedsharipov.


Taekwondo

Several accomplished MMA fighters have an extensive background in taekwondo. Some fighters who use taekwondo techniques in MMA are former UFC lightweight champion and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who is 3rd dan black belt as well as an instructor, Benson Henderson, Yair Rodriguez, Marco Ruas and former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who is a 5th dan black belt. In his instructional book, Anderson Silva admitted the influence of taekwondo in the formation of his unique style. "In each of my fights, I tried to utilize techniques from all the various styles I had studied. I threw taekwondo kicks. I threw Muay Thai knees and elbows, and I used my knowledge of Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the ground." Anthony Pettis has also stated that he is "definitely a traditional martial artist first and a mixed martial artist second", as well as his "style of attacking is different [because of his] taekwondo background."


Capoeira

Capoeira has been incorporated into MMA in more recent years and is often used as an addition to Brazilian jiu-jitsu; both originate from Brazil. Several fighters use this martial art when fighting, although not fully, as music and dancing are major components of the discipline. Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva, and Marco Ruas (who is ranked a Mestre in the art) incorporated some techniques and has in turn helped Capoeira gain more attention in MMA. It is known for its quick and complex manoeuvres, which use power, speed, and leverage across a wide variety of kicks, spins and techniques.


Basic strategies

The techniques utilized in mixed martial arts competition generally fall into two categories: striking techniques (such as kicks, knee (strike), knees, punch (strike), punches and Elbow (strike), elbows) and
grappling Grappling, in hand-to-hand combat Hand-to-hand combat (sometimes abbreviated as HTH or H2H) is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at short range (grappling Grappling, in hand-to-hand combat Hand-to-hand combat (some ...
techniques (such as clinch holds, pinning holds, submission holds, sweep (grappling), sweeps, takedown (grappling), takedowns and throw (grappling), throws). Today, mixed martial artists must cross-training, cross-train in a variety of styles to counter their opponent's strengths and remain effective in all the phases of combat.


Sprawl-and-Brawl

Sprawl-and-Brawl is a stand-up fighting tactic that consists of effective stand-up striking, while avoiding
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, typically by using sprawl (grappling), sprawls to defend against takedown (grappling), takedowns. A Sprawl-and-Brawler is usually a boxing, boxer or kickboxer, muay Thai, Thai boxer or karate, Karateka who has trained in various styles of
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,
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, and/or Sambo (martial art), sambo to avoid takedowns to keep the fight standing. This is a form which is heavily practiced in the amateur leagues. These fighters will often study submission wrestling to avoid being forced into submission should they find themselves on the ground. This style can be deceptively different from traditional kickboxing styles, since sprawl-and-brawlers must adapt their techniques to incorporate takedown (grappling), takedown and
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defense. A few notable examples are Igor Vovchanchyn, Mirko Filipović, Chuck Liddell, Mark Hunt and more recently Junior dos Santos, Conor McGregor, Andrei Arlovski, and Joanna Jędrzejczyk.


Ground-and-pound

Ground-and-pound is a strategy consisting of taking an opponent to the ground using a takedown (grappling), takedown or throw, obtaining a top, or grappling position, dominant grappling position, and then striking the opponent, primarily with fists, Strike (attack)#Hammerfist, hammerfists, and elbows. Ground-and-pound is also used as a precursor to attempting submission (combat sport term), submission holds. The style is used by fighters well-versed in submission defense and skilled at takedowns. They take the fight to the ground, maintain a grappling position, and strike until their opponent submits or is knockout, knocked out. Although not a traditional style of striking, the effectiveness and reliability of ground-and-pound has made it a popular tactic. It was first demonstrated as an effective technique by Mark Coleman, then popularized by fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Glover Teixeira, Don Frye, Frank Trigg, Jon Jones, Cheick Kongo, Mark Kerr (fighter), Mark Kerr, Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Matt Hughes (fighter), Matt Hughes, Chris Weidman, and Khabib Nurmagomedov. While most fighters use ground-and-pound statically, by way of holding their opponents down and mauling them with short strikes from the top position, a few fighters manage to utilize it dynamically by striking their opponents while changing positions, thus not allowing their opponents to settle once they take them down. Cain Velasquez is one of the most devastating ground strikers in MMA and is known for continuing to strike his opponents on the ground while transitioning between positions. Fedor Emelianenko, considered among the greatest masters of ground-and-pound in MMA history, was the first to demonstrate this dynamic style of striking in transition. He was striking his opponents on the ground while passing Guard (grappling), guard, or while his opponents were attempting to recover guard. In the year 2000, MMA play-by-play commentator Stephen Quadros coined the popular phrase ''lay and pray''. This refers to a situation where a wrestler or grappler keeps another fighter pinned or controlled on the mat to avoid a stand up, yet exhibits little urgency to finish the grounded opponent with a knockout or a submission for the majority or entirety of the fight. The implication of "lay and pray" is that after the wrestler/grappler takes the striker down and 'lays' on him to neutralize the opponent's striking weapons, he 'pray's that the referee does not return them to the standing position. This style is considered by many fans as the most boring style of fighting and is highly criticized for intentionally creating non-action, yet it is effective. Some argue that 'lay-and-pray' is justified and that it is the responsibility of the downed fighter to be able to protect himself from this legitimate fighting technique. Many consider Jon Fitch's style to epitomize 'lay and pray'. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has been criticized by fans for playing it safe and applying the lay and pray tactic in his fights, as has Bellator MMA Welterweight champion Ben Askren, who justified the tactic, explaining that championship fights are much harder as they are five rounds long, compared with the usual three.


Submission-Seeking

Submission-Seeking is a reference to the strategy of taking an opponent to the ground using a takedown or throw (grappling), throw and then applying a submission hold, forcing the opponent to submission (combat sport term), submit. While grapplers will often work to attain dominant position, some may be more comfortable fighting from other positions. If a grappler finds themselves unable to force a takedown, they may resort to ''pulling guard (grappling), guard'', whereby they physically pull their opponent into a dominant position on the ground. Submissions are an essential part of many disciplines, most notably
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
,
catch wrestling Catch wrestling (originally Catch-as-catch-can) is a classical hybrid grappling style and combat sport. It was developed by John Graham Chambers, J. G. Chambers in Britain . It was popularised by wrestlers of travelling funfairs who developed the ...
,
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, sambo (martial art), Sambo, and shootwrestling. Submission-based styles were popularized in the early UFC events by Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock, and were the dominant tactic in the early UFCs. Modern proponents of the submission-seeking style, such as Demian Maia, Ronaldo Souza, Charles Oliveira, Ryan Hall (grappler), Ryan Hall, Marcin Held, and Paul Craig (fighter), Paul Craig tend to come from a
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ; ; , , , ''jiu-jitsu brasileiro'') is a martial arts, martial art based on grappling (ne-waza) and submission holds. It focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one's opponent, gaining a ...
background.


Clinch-Fighting

Clinch-Fighting is a tactic consisting of using a clinch hold to prevent the opponent from moving away into more distant striking range, while also attempting takedowns and striking the opponent using knee (strike), knees, stomp (strike), stomps, elbow (strike), elbows, and Punch (combat), punches. The clinch is often utilized by wrestlers and Judokas that have added components of the striking game (typically boxing), and
Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

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fighters. Ken Shamrock was known for his impressive clinch work when he submitted Dan Severn with a standing guillotine choke at UFC 6 Wrestlers and Judoka may use clinch fighting as a way to neutralize the superior striking skills of a stand-up fighter or to prevent takedowns by a superior ground fighter. Ronda Rousey, with her
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background, is considered a master at initiating throws from the clinch to set up Armlock, armbars.Marrocco, Steven (February 22, 2013)
UFC 157 preview: How can Liz Carmouche beat heavy favorite Ronda Rousey?
"...While Rousey is generally a master at initiating throws from the clinch to set up armbars...". ''MMAjunkie.com''. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
The clinch or "plum" of a
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Muay Thai
fighter is often used to improve the accuracy of knee (strike), knees and elbow (strike), elbows by physically controlling the position of the opponent. Anderson Silva is well known for his devastating Muay Thai clinch. He defeated UFC middle weight champion Rich Franklin using the Muay Thai clinch and kneeing Franklin repeatedly to the body and face - breaking Franklin's nose. In their rematch Silva repeated this and won again.Slack, Jack (March 29, 2013)
Best of the Best: Anderson Silva's Muay Thai Clinch Work
"...This is truly the difference between fighters who flail to grab a hold of their opponents head and try to knee, and someone like Silva who will set up his grips scientifically...". ''Bleacher Report''. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
Other fighters may use the clinch to push their opponent against the cage or ropes, where they can effectively control their opponent's movement and restrict mobility while striking them with punches to the body or stomps also known as ''dirty boxing'' or "Wall and Maul". Randy Couture used his Greco Roman wrestling background to popularize this style en route to six title reigns in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.Sllack, Jack (January 4, 2013)
Randy Couture Judo Chop: Boxing into the Clinch
"...The first major exponent of Greco-Roman wrestling in MMA, Randy Couture remains one of the few fighters to make full use of opportunities to clinch and the damage which can be done to the opponent from there...". ''bloodyelbow.com''. Retrieved July 16, 2013.


Score oriented fighting

Especially used by fighters with strong
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background when facing a highly skilled grappler, or by wrestlers who prefer Stand-up fighting, stand-up fights. Usually fighters who adopt this strategy use takedowns only for Score (sport), scoring, allowing the adversary to stand up and continue the fight. They also want to land clear strikes and control the octagon. In order to win the fight by decision all score oriented fighters have to have strong defensive techniques and avoid takedowns. In general, fighters who cannot win fights through lightning offense, or are more suited to win fights in the later rounds or via decision are commonly known as ''grinders''. Grinders aim to shut down their opponent's game plan and chip away at them via clinching, smothering and ground-and-pound for most of the rounds. Prominent examples of grinders are Pat Healy (fighter), Pat Healy, Chael Sonnen, and Colby Covington.


Women's mixed martial arts

While mixed martial arts is primarily a male dominated sport, it does have female athletes. Female competition in Japan includes promotions such as the all-female Valkyrie (mixed martial arts), Valkyrie, and Jewels (mixed martial arts), JEWELS (formerly known as Smackgirl). However historically there has been only a select few major professional mixed martial arts organizations in the United States that invite women to compete. Among those are Strikeforce (mixed martial arts), Strikeforce, Bellator Fighting Championships, the all female Invicta Fighting Championships, and the now defunct EliteXC. There has been a growing awareness of women in mixed martial arts due to popular female fighters and personalities such as Megumi Fujii, Miesha Tate, Cristiane Santos, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, Ronda Rousey, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Holly Holm and Gina Carano among others. Carano became known as "the face of women's MMA" after appearing in a number of EliteXC events. This was furthered by her appearances on MGM Television's 2008 revival of their game show ''American Gladiators (2008 TV series), American Gladiators''. Additionally, U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids (Democratic Party (United States), D-Kansas, KS-Kansas's 3rd congressional district, 3), elected in 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in Kansas, 2018, is a former professional MMA fighter.


History

In Japan, female competition has been documented since the mid-1990s. Influenced by female professional wrestling and
kickboxing Kickboxing is a group of Stand-up fighting, stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punch (strike), punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing, with Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Savate also having some influence. Kickboxing ...

kickboxing
, the Smackgirl competition was formed in 2001 and became the only major all-female promotion in mixed martial arts. Other early successful Japanese female organizations included Ladies Legend Pro-Wrestling, ReMix (a predecessor to Smackgirl), U-Top Tournament, K-Grace, and AX. Aside from all-female organizations, most major Japanese male dominated promotions have held select female competitions. These have included Deep (mixed martial arts), DEEP, MARS, Gladiator, HEAT, Cage Force, K-1, World Victory Road, Sengoku,
Shooto Shooto is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent. ...
(under the name G-Shooto), and
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
(under the name Pancrase Athena). In the United States, prior to the success of ''The Ultimate Fighter'' reality show that launched mixed martial arts into the mainstream media, there was no major coverage of female competitions. Some early organizations who invited women to compete included, International Fighting Championships, SuperBrawl, King of the Cage, Rage in the Cage, Ring of Combat, Bas Rutten Invitational, and HOOKnSHOOT. From the mid-2000s, more coverage came when organizations such as Strikeforce (mixed martial arts), Strikeforce, EliteXC, Bellator Fighting Championships, and Shark Fights invited women to compete. Outside
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
and the United States, female competition is almost exclusively found in minor local promotions. However, in Europe some major organizations have held select female competitions, including It's Showtime (kickboxing), It's Showtime, Shooto Europe, Cage Warriors, and M-1 Global. Following Zuffa's acquisition of Strikeforce in March 2011, the UFC began promoting women's fights, with Ronda Rousey rapidly becoming one of the promotion's biggest draws. Controversy arose in 2013, when CFA (Championship Fighting Alliance) fighter Fallon Fox came out as a transgender woman. The case became a centerpiece of debates concerning whether it was fair to have a transgender woman compete against cisgender women in a contact sport. Neither the UFC nor Invicta FC says they will allow her to fight, and then-UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey said she would not fight her.


Amateur mixed martial arts

Amateur Mixed Martial Arts is the amateur sports, amateur version of the Mixed Martial Arts in which participants engage largely or entirely without remuneration. Under the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and World MMA Association (WMMAA), it is practiced within a safe and regulated environment which relies on a fair and objective scoring system and competition procedures similar to those in force in the Mixed martial arts rules, professional Mixed Martial Arts rules. Amateur MMA is practiced with board shorts and with approved protection gear that includes shin protectors, and amateur MMA gloves. The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and the World Mixed Martial Arts Association announced an amalgamation on April 11, 2018, uniting the two organisations behind one bid for Olympic sport recognition.


World Mixed Martial Arts Association

World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) was founded in 2012 in Monaco by M-1 Global commercial promoters and is under the leadership of the General Secretary Alexander Endelgarth, President Finkelstein and Fedor Emelianenko. The World MMA Association is an organization that manages and develops mixed martial arts, it establishes rules and procedures and hosts MMA competitions. World MMA Association includes national MMA organizations, representing the sport and registered in accordance with national laws. As of December 2013 WMMAA has 38 member states under its umbrella, in 2017 World MMA Association has 83 members: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Guatemala, Georgia, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela. On October 20, 2013, the first World MMA Championship was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


International Mixed Martial Arts Federation

On February 29, 2012, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) was set up to bring international structure, development and support to mixed martial arts worldwide. IMMAF launched with support of market leader, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The IMMAF is a non-profit, democratic federation organized according to international federation standards to ensure that MMA as a sport is allowed the same recognition, representation and rights as all other major sports. The IMMAF is registered under Swedish law and is founded on democratic principles, as outlined in their statutes. As of March 2015, there are 39 total members from 38 countries, which come from Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland (Northern Ireland), Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, The Seychelles, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The IMMAF held its first Amateur World Championships in Las Vegas, USA, from June 30 to July 6, 2014.


Safety

Mixed Martial Arts competitions have changed dramatically since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993, specifically with the inception of the Mixed martial arts rules#Unified rules, Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. There remains a paucity of data on injuries that occur in MMA, and resulting concerns with regard to MMA's safety remain. A 2014 systematic review concluded that the injury incidence rate in MMA appears to be greater than in most, if not all, other popular and commonly practiced combat sports.


Injury rates

In a 2014 meta-analysis of the available injury data in MMA, the injury incidence rate was estimated to be 228.7 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures (one athlete-exposure is defined as one athlete participating in a single fight). The estimated injury incidence rate in MMA is greater than in other full-contact combat sports such as
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(44.0 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures), taekwondo (79.4 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures), amateur boxing (77.7 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures), and professional boxing (118.0-250.6 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures).


Injury pattern

In general, the injury pattern in MMA is very similar to that in professional boxing but unlike that found in other combat sports such as judo and taekwondo. The most commonly injured body region is the head (66.8% to 78.0% of reported injuries) followed by the wrist/hand (6.0% to 12.0% of reported injuries), while the most frequent types of injury were laceration (36.7% to 59.4% of reported injuries), fracture (7.4% to 43.3% of reported injuries), and concussion (3.8% to 20.4% of reported injuries). The frequency of impact to the ear and low utilization of ear protection leads to a high frequency of perichondral hematoma that can lead to cauliflower ear.


Mental health

In preliminary results reported in April 2012 as part of an ongoing study of a 109 professional boxers and MMA fighters being conducted by Dr. Charles Bernick and his colleagues at Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, fighters with more than six years of ring experience were observed to have reductions in size in their hippocampus and thalamus, while fighters with more than twelve years of ring experience were observed to have both reductions in size and symptoms such as memory loss (the hippocampus and thalamus deal with memory and alertness). Dr. Bernick speculates that the cumulative damage over time from lesser blows may eventually prove an even more important topic of study than that of infrequent concussions.


Fatalities

There have been seven known deaths in MMA to date. There were no documented cases of deaths after a sanctioned MMA event prior to 2007. Since 2007, there have been six fatalities in mixed martial arts matches. The first was the death of Sam Vasquez on November 30, 2007. Vasquez collapsed shortly after being knocked out by Vince Libardi in the third round of an October 20, 2007 fight at the Toyota Center (Houston), Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Vasquez had two separate surgeries to remove blood clots from his brain, and shortly after the second operation suffered a stroke and did not regain consciousness. The second death stemming from a sanctioned mixed martial arts contest occurred in South Carolina on June 28, 2010, when 30-year-old Michael Kirkham was knocked out and never regained consciousness. He was pronounced dead two days after the fight. The third death on August 11, 2012, involved 30 year old Tyrone Mims, who was making his amateur MMA debut at “Conflict MMA: Fight Night at the Point VI” in South Carolina, making his the second MMA-related death in the state. After being TKO’d in the second round of the fight he became unresponsive and was taken to Medical University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead one hour later. No evidence of brain trauma or concussion was found and the initial autopsy has proved inconclusive. Coroner Rae Wooten explained that his death may likely have been from an irregular heartbeat caused by over exertion; however whether or not his death was a direct result of his fight remains a mystery. On February 27, 2014, 29-year-old Booto Guylain was transported to Johannesburg General Hospital to be treated for swelling and bleeding on the brain after suffering a KO loss via elbow in the last round of his fight in South African promotion “Extreme Fighting Championship Africa”. He was unable to make a recovery, and after one week in the hospital he was pronounced dead. On April 9, 2016, 28-year-old João Carvalho (fighter), João Carvalho, died following a Total Extreme Fighting event at the National Stadium in Dublin (Ireland). The Portuguese fighter was beaten by technical knockout in a fight on 9 April 2016 against Charlie Ward (fighter), Charlie Ward, and fell ill twenty minutes after the fight. He was taken immediately to Beaumont hospital, where he underwent emergency brain surgery, but died two days later. On July 15, 2017, after a TKO loss resulting from unanswered punches in the second round of his fight, 37 year old Donshay White became unresponsive and collapsed in his locker room and was rushed to the KentuckyOne Health Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in Kentucky. He was soon pronounced dead and was revealed to be caused by hypertensive/atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Another death occurred in the UK on 17 November 2019 when 26-year-old Saeideh Aletaha died in hospital after being knocked out in the third round of a contest at Central Hall in Southampton that was part of the Fast and Furious fight series.


Legality of professional competitions


Australia

Mixed martial arts in Australia, MMA in Australia is permitted in all States and Territories of Australia by various combat sports authorities and organizations. There is debate about the use of the cage, which was banned in Victoria (Australia), Victoria in 2007 and then relegalized in 2015. The cage was banned in Western Australia in 2013, but its use was again permitted in 2017.


Bahrain

MMA is legal in Bahrain. Bahrain National MMA Federation (BNMMAF) has been set up under the patronage of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and the jurisdiction of the Sports Minister Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The development of MMA in the nation is convened through KHK MMA, which also owns Brave Combat Federation, which is the largest Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the Middle East. Bahrain will be hosting World MMA Amateurs Championship 2017 supported by International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.


Belgium

MMA is tolerated in Belgium but not supported. In May 2012 the Belgian MMA Federation (BMMAF) was accepted by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation as its third member, after several years of carrying out many of the tasks of a national federation under the former name of the Belgian Shooto and MMA Federation. Active in developing MMA in Belgium from 2005, the group later redefined their activities to include MMA in order to be able to use a cage. Registered as a federation in Belgium in 2006, the former Belgian Shooto and MMA Federation organized more than 1500 MMA bouts (Amateur, B class and A class), and built a structure for the sport nationally that included insurance, rules and regulation, and experience levels for fighters and technical seminars. The BMMAF has continued its activities as part of the wider MMA community under IMMAF.


Brazil

January 17, 2013 saw the announcement that the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, or Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), had joined the International MMA Federation. The CABMMA represents state federations across Brazil and is spearheaded by lawyers Giovanni Biscardi and Rafael Favettia, a former Executive Secretary of the Minister of Justice and Interim Minister of Justice. The CABMMA supervised its first event with "UFC on FX 7" on January 19, 2013, at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in São Paulo. The CABMMA first hit international sports headlines when it suspended fighter Rousimar Palhares for prolonging a submission on opponent Mike Pierce, despite him tapping several times, during Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil on October 9, 2013. The CABMMA was called to preside over another controversial situation involving a Brazilian competitor, when Vitor Belfort's use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy came to light over Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC on FX 8 (May 18, 2013)


Bulgaria

Appearing on professional basis around 2008–2009, MMA is a new sport in Bulgaria and growing rapidly. With a strong wrestling and boxing culture in the region, general interest in the sport is huge. However, it remains unregulated. The Bulgarian Federation for Mixed Martial Arts was elected as the national federation representing the Republic of Bulgaria under the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation in October 2014; and like all IMMAF members, is a non-profit, democratic organization. Established in November 2013 by 10 MMA clubs, the organization is headed by UFC competitor Stanislav Nedkov. The federation's registration to the Ministry of Justice was approved in June 2014 and its application for formal recognition by the Ministry of Sport is in its advanced stages.


Cambodia

In January 2013, the Cambodian Mixed Martial Arts Association was created under the Cambodian Martial Arts Federation. At this time there are no MMA events organized with the CMMAA approval. Television channel MYTV holds its KWC promotion under the sanctioning of the Cambodian Boxing Federation, responsible for sanctioning all boxing and Kun Khmer events in the country, in direct contrast to the situation in neighbouring Thailand.


Canada

For many years, professional MMA competitions were illegal in Canada. Section 83(2) of the Canadian Criminal Code deemed that only boxing matches where only fists are used are considered legal. However most provinces regulated it by a provincial athletic commission (skirting S. 83(2) by classifying MMA as "mixed boxing"), such as the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Northwest Territories. The legality of MMA in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and New Brunswick varies depending on the municipality. Professional MMA competitions remain illegal in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and Nunavut because it is not regulated by an athletic commission. Canada formally decriminalized mixed martial arts with a vote on Bill S-209 on June 5, 2013. The bill formally gives provinces the power to create athletic commissions to regulate and sanction professional mixed martial arts bouts. Bill S-209 does not in and of itself make MMA legal across Canada; it allows provinces to make it legal on a province by province basis.


China

The first professional mixed martial arts promotion was Art of War Fighting Championship which was founded by Andrew Pi, a Chinese Americans, Chinese American BJJ practitioner. After defeating Xu Xiaodong in a televised MMA match he noticed the lack of formal rules, medical care or oversight which could have led to MMA and BJJ being banned in China so he came up with an idea to create a regulated professional MMA promotion. Art of War I was held at the Beijing Sports University on November 6, 2005, making it the first professional MMA event to be held in China. In 2011, the Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation (Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation, RUFF) hosted the first MMA event in Shanghai sanctioned by China's governing body for combat sports, the Wushu Sports Management Center of the General Administration of Sport in China. RUFF formally crowned the first Chinese national MMA champions in 2013 with each champion receiving 1,000,000 RMB in prize money. Other MMA promotions in China include the 'Real Fight Championship', which has produced three events in Henan and Beijing.


Denmark

In Denmark, Mixed Martial Arts may be practiced but is not an official or legally regulated sport. On November 11, 2012, the voluntary Danish Mixed Martial Arts Federation held its first official general assembly in Odense, Denmark. There the DMMAF was officially founded and a board was elected headed up by President Claus Larsen. The Federation was publicly launched on Friday November 24, inviting Danish MMA organizations, gyms and academies to sign up as members. The DMMAF is working towards recognition under the Danish Sports Federation, Dansk Idræts Forbund. On November 25 the DMMAF's application to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation was approved.


France

There remains political opposition to MMA in France and full contact MMA competition was banned until 2020. All bouts on French soil recorded as Mixed Martial Arts were in fact held under Pancrase Rules and other variants (Pankration, Kempo, Pankido). These bouts involved no striking on the ground as it was illegal in the country. The Commission National de Mixed Martial Arts (CNMMA) was founded as a non-profit organization for the development of MMA in 2009. The CNMMA had worked over four years to put an educational structure in place, including a technical system for the safe progression from grass-roots level, all the way up to the top professional level. Comprising 11 regional leagues working under regional technical advisers and teams, the CNMMA joined the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) in March 2013 as The Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA). In 2012, CFMMA president Bertrand Amoussou-Guenou, Bertrand Amoussou ascended to the position of President of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation. On June 24, 2019, Roxana Maracineanu, France's minister of sport announced the legalization of mixed martial arts as of January 1, 2020. On October 8th, 2020 the country's first officially regulated MMA event went ahead in Vitry-sur-Seine. Dubbed the Mixed Martial Arts Grand Prix.


India

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (India) has not recognized Mixed Martial Arts as a sport in India. There exist multiple bodies of association and federations which offer services to organize Mixed martial Arts events across India. Among them are All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) and MMA India – National Sports Federation. Mixed Martial Arts events have been organized in India by Super Fight League, Brave Combat Federation, and Kumite 1 League.


Ireland

The Irish Martial Arts Commission, which is recognized by the Irish Sports Council, does not include MMA among its recognized martial arts. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport does not recognise MMA as a sport. UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao, UFC Fight Night 46, featuring Conor McGregor, was held in Dublin in 2014. Mixed Martial Arts Federation Ireland (MMAFI), intended as a federation for amateur MMA clubs, gained observer status at IMMAF in June 2012. MMAFI had a meeting in March 2013 with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (Northern Ireland), Northern Ireland sports minister, Carál Ní Chuilín about the prospect of getting recognition from Sport Northern Ireland.


Japan

MMA competition has been legal in Japan since at least the mid-1980s, when
Pancrase Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. is a mixed martial arts promotion company founded in Japan in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Masakazu Sakai is the current CEO in Japan. The name was based on ''pankration Pa ...
fights began to be held. There are several MMA-related organizations, including Rizin Fighting Federation, RIZIN FF, Deep (mixed martial arts), DEEP, Pancrase,
Shooto Shooto is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent. ...
, Fighting Nexus, Deep, Grachan and ZST.


Malaysia

In July 2013 the Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA) was formally announced as the official national governing body for MMA in Malaysia, ahead of its formation in December 2013. MASMMAA is registered under the Malaysian Sports Development Act 1997 and recognized by the Commissioner of Sports, under the auspices of the office of the Youth & Sports Ministry. The federation comprises representatives of ten states out of fourteen in Malaysia. MASMMAA became affiliated to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation in April 2014.


Norway

In Norway, professional MMA is illegal. Since 1981, all sports involving knockouts as a method of victory were banned but it was lifted for professional boxing in late 2014. Norwegian MMA fighters must therefore travel abroad to compete. The Norwegian MMA Federation (NMMAF) was elected as a full member of the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) on April 22, 2012, representing 49 member gyms across Norway. In 2012 the "Merkekamper" concept was introduced by the NMMAF, with government sanctioning, which enables member MMA gyms to hold events with sparring matches, but governed by strict rules concerning how hard a fighter is permitted to strike. On April 5, 2019, MMA was recognized by and welcomed into the Norwegian Martial Arts Federation (Norwegian language, Norwegian ''Kampsportforbundet''), a federation of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) with the goal of growing the amateur sport.


Pakistan

In Pakistan, Mixed Martial Arts Pakistan organizes MMA events. The organization was founded in 2007 by veteran Pakistani MMA fighter Bashir Ahmad (mixed martial artist), Bashir Ahmad for promotion of MMA in Pakistan.


Portugal

The FMMAP is recognized by the Portuguese government as a non-profit sports federation and oversees Amateur MMA competition and coaching nationally. Based in Vila do Conde, the Federação de Mixed Martial Arts de Portugal (FMMAP) was founded as a collaborative effort between six existing non-profit organizations in 2012, as Portugal's first dedicated MMA Federation. This is in line with government requirements for all sport federations in Portugal which stipulates that they consist of at least three associated, non-profit groups. The composite FMMAP organisations are all involved in the coaching and promotion of MMA with a shared goal for the amateur sport, but come from various martial arts that include Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Pankration Athlima, Mixed Martial Arts, Jeet Kune Do, Freestyle martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling. Affiliated groups at launch were AAMU – Associação Artes Marciais, Associação de Artes Marciais e Desportos de Combate (Açores), Associação Areagon (Chaves City), Associação Mirandelense de Artes Orientais (Mirandela City), Associação Portuguesa de Ciências de Combate/JKD Unlimited Portugal (Lisbon City), KMD MMA system (Porto City), Barcelos Gym (Barcelos City). The FMMAP is affiliated to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).


Romania

The Romanian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (RMMAF) was established in 2012 as a legal non-profit federation under the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Romania. The Federation was formed by the board of MMA organization AGON and backed by a broad representation of the Romanian MMA community, including around twenty MMA clubs and non-profit MMA organizations around the country. Based in Bucharest, Romania AGON club was founded in its present legal form in June 2012, following a long period of time of acting under different other organisations, with Gheorghe Stanciu elected as its president. The RMMAF is affiliated to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).


Russia

In September 2012, MMA was given 'National Sport' status in Russia, and on the same day fighter and M-1 Global promoter Fedor Emelianenko was appointed to the role of Russian MMA Union president.


Singapore

The MMA program at Singapore is licensed by the Cantonment Police Division.


Sweden

MMA competition is legal and under the purview of the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF), which was formed in 2007 and began overseeing MMA events and governing the sport as a whole in 2008. In 2009 the SMMAF was accepted into the Association of Swedish Budo and Martial Arts Federation, thus granting MMA "national sport" status and making its approved clubs eligible for partial government subsidization. On April 30, 2011, the SMMAF sanctioned the first event under its purview to utilize the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. The Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation governs the sport of MMA in Sweden as a member affiliated to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation. The SMMAF hit the headlines when it withdrew Swedish headliner, Alexander Gustafsson, from competing at Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC on FUEL 9 in Sweden (April 6, 2013), due to a facial laceration.


South Africa

MMA competition is legal and under the purview of the Professional Mixed Martial Arts Council or PROMMA Africa, which was formed in 2010 with the main purpose to regulate MMA at larger MMA promotions such as EFC Worldwide (Formerly known as EFC Africa). PROMMA Africa began overseeing Rise of the Warrior MMA events in 2010. In 2012 the PROMMA Africa Council was accepted into the Mixed Martial Arts Association of South Africa (MASA) thus granting MMA "national sport" status. In addition to EFC Africa, there are other leagues such as Dragon Legends MMA.


Taiwan

MMA is officially sanctioned by the government and sports authorities of
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
and numerous
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
ese MMA fighters are currently training and competing at international level, with several in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, UFC and other MMA organizations. Many major international MMA fights are held at stadiums in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
every year. Additionally, many martial arts schools and gyms in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
provide professional level MMA training.


Thailand

In 2012, the Sports Authority of Thailand banned competitions. It has been speculated that the
Muay Thai Muay Thai ( th, มวยไทย, , ), sometimes referred to as "Thai boxing," is a Martial arts, martial art and combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinch fighting, clinching techniques. This discipline is known as t ...

Muay Thai
industry played a factor in the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT)'s final decision, as MMA could potentially take away business from Muay Thai. SAT Deputy Governor Sakol Wannapong has said "Organizing a MMA event here would hurt the image of Muay Thai, if you want to do this kind of business, you should do it in another country. Organizing MMA here could mislead the public into believing that Muay Thai is brutal." Jussi Saloranta, the owner of Thailand's only MMA promotion, DARE Fight Sports, revealed that his lawyers found that the ban was actually premature, and that from a legal standpoint, there is no law banning mixed martial arts in the country, suggesting that the SAT's ban was more of a scare tactic. DARE continue to showcase events, informing fans only at the last minute through texts on the day of the event, and presenting the videos on YouTube as ''The Most Dangerous Gameshow''. Saloranta has also helped set up the MMA Association of Thailand, in the hopes of reaching a compromise with SAT and regulating mixed martial arts in Thailand. On September 12, 2013, DARE Fight Sports released a statement announcing SAT had removed the ban on MMA and would henceforth sanction the sport in Thailand. Dare Fight Sports is currently the only MMA organization in Thailand to be officially sanctioned and publicized by the tourism authority of Thailand, although there are new MMA organizations appearing around the country.


United States

In the United States, professional MMA is overseen by the Association of Boxing Commissions. According to the Associations of Boxing Commissions, professional MMA competitions are allowed in all states. Alaska has no boxing or athletic commission. Montana has a state athletic commission, although it does not regulate MMA. However, MMA is legal in both states. West Virginia became the 44th state to regulate mixed martial arts on March 24, 2011. On March 8, 2012, Wyoming became the 45th state to regulate MMA. On May 4, 2012, it was announced that Vermont had become the 46th state to regulate MMA. Legislation allowing MMA in Connecticut came into effect on October 1, 2013, making it the 47th state to regulate the sport. On March 22, 2016, the New York State Assembly voted to lift the State's 1997 ban on MMA and on April 14, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed the bill legalizing and regulating the sport into law.


Vietnam

On February 20, 2020, deputy minister of Internal Affairs, Tran Anh Tuan signed the legalisation of the MMA sport in Vietnam.


See also

* Hybrid martial arts * List of current mixed martial arts champions * List of female mixed martial artists * List of male mixed martial artists * List of undefeated mixed martial artists * List of Mixed Martial Artists with the most sanctioned fights * Mixed martial arts clothing * Mixed martial arts competition for children * Shoot fighting


References


External links

*
Rocky Maricano's final opponent Big Bob Baker, father of Mixed Martial Arts
{{DEFAULTSORT:Mixed Martial Arts Mixed martial arts, Combat sports