Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Mixed Martial Arts

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Helen Yankovskaya

MMA-1Mixed Martial Arts is a type of sport combat. Moves from various martial arts are allowed, including kicking and striking. Fighting takes place in the parterre or not. Minimum protective gear is used, that’s a full contact combat. Some of MMA are elimination tournaments and some of them are group tournaments. Mixed form tournaments are also organized.

Every year more than 100 Mixed Martial Arts competitions take place (within the framework of corresponding organizations) such as UFC (USA), “2 Hot 2 Handle” (Netherlands), “Pride” (Japan), Vale Tudo tournaments (Brazil), M-1 (Russia), etc. Countries mentioned above are the world leaders in this type of sport.

The idea to organize fights between representatives of various martial arts was realized in the end of 19th – beginning of 20th centuries. Cross matches became quite popular, for example, box world champion fighting against the champion of another martial art and so on, that was some sort of casino gambling game in which you made bets on the winning martial art. Mostly this type of events was held in casino by their owners, but those fights weren’t regular.

Mixed Martial Arts was eventually formed in 1990s. Certain format tournaments started to open their branches outside their countries of origin. Which led the MMA to the new heights of popularity. For example, European Vale Tudo is a branch of a Brazilian form of combat.

Meanwhile, UFC-Japan is the analogue of famous American UFC. Some European versions of “Rings” tournaments became more popular and longer lasting than Japanese version, despite the fact that Japan was first to introduce it. “Rings” tournaments are no longer organized in Japan.

In 90’s MMA was on the top of the charts of the bookmaking companies, MMA took 2-3 places in most of the betting and gambling charts, as for the first place, it almost always was taken by the Super Bowl in US and by Soccer in Europe.

First Mixed Martial Arts tournament called UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) took place in USA in 1993. That year is officially considered to be the birth year of this new type of sport. Which was popular not only by the fans of sport but also by the betters and gamblers.

UFC, which attracts today a lot of famous Mixed Martial Arts masters, perhaps initially was planned as a show rather than sport event. Organizers planned to make one or two tournaments to get together representatives of various martial arts (including Olympic sports) such as karate, jiu jitsu, box, kickboxing, wrestling, sumo and others. Their purpose was to find out which of the combat styles are the most successful and effective. But after first championships UFC became highly popular far outside of USA, and what was originally meant to be the show turned out to be one of the most interesting sport events in the world.


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