Mixed Martial Arts


Mixed Martial Arts

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Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport. The mixture of traditional martial arts has led to a wide variety of fighting techniques being used by modern MMA competitors, including both striking and grappling.

Modern mixed martial arts competition emerged in popular culture in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Based on finding the most effective martial arts for real, unarmed combat situations, competitors of various arts were pitted against one another with minimal rules or concern for safety. In the following decade, MMA promoters adopted many additional rules aimed at increasing safety for competitors and to promote mainstream acceptance of the sport.[citation needed] Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity while promoters have seen financial success to rival other combat sports, including boxing.

Overview

The techniques utilized in mixed martial arts competition generally fall into two categories: striking techniques (such as kicks, knees and punches) and grappling techniques (such as clinch holds, pinning holds, submission holds, sweeps, takedowns and throws). As mixed martial arts has no international sanctioning body, rules may vary between promotions. While the legality of some techniques (such as elbow strikes, headbutts and spinal locks) may vary, there is a near universal ban on techniques such as biting, strikes to the groin, eye-gouging, fish-hooking and small joint manipulation.

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 can not defend himself intelligently) or the fight doctor (due to an injury), a submission, by a competitor's cornerman throwing in the towel, or by knockout.

It was thought that Olympic recognition would be forthcoming for the 2004 Summer Olympics, held in Athens, under the banner of pankration. However, the International Olympic Committee was unconvinced that Greece could handle the total number of sports proposed. To placate the IOC, the organizers removed all new medal sports and pankration was excluded.

Pre-modern

One of the earliest forms of widespread unarmed combat sports with minimal rules was Greek pankration, which was introduced into the Olympic Games in 648 B.C.[7] Even as late as the Early Middle Ages, statues were put up in Rome and other cities to honour remarkable pankratiasts.

No-holds-barred events reportedly took place in the late 1800s when wrestlers representing a huge range of fighting styles including various catch wrestling styles, Greco-Roman wrestling and many others met in tournaments and music-hall challenge matches throughout Europe. The first major encounter between a boxer and a wrestler in modern times took place in 1887 when John L. Sullivan, then heavyweight world boxing champion, entered the ring with his trainer, Greco-Roman wrestling champion William Muldoon, 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 took on European Greco-Roman wrestling champion Ernest Roeber. Reportedly, Roeber suffered a fractured cheekbone in this bout, but was able to get Fitzsimmons down on the mat, where he applied an armlock and made the boxer submit. In 1936, heavyweight boxing contender Kingfish Levinsky and veteran professional wrestler Ray Steele competed in a mixed match, which Steele won in 35 seconds.

Another early example of mixed martial arts combat was the martial art of Bartitsu, founded in London in 1899, which was the first martial art known to have combined Asian and European fighting styles,[9] and which saw MMA-style contests throughout England, pitting European and Japanese champions against representatives of various European wrestling styles.

Mixed style contests such as boxing vs. jujutsu were popular entertainment throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s.[1][2][3] In Japan these contests were known as Merikan, from the Japanese slang for "American [fighting]". Merikan contests were fought under a variety of rules including points decision, best of three throws or knockdowns, and victory via knockout or submission.

Professional wrestling died out after World War I and was reborn in two streams: "shoot", in which the fighters actually competed, and "show," which evolved into modern sports entertainment professional wrestling.

Modern

he history of modern MMA competition can be traced to mixed style contests throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s; the Gracie family's vale tudo martial arts tournaments in Brazil starting in the 1920s; and early mixed martial arts matches hosted by Antonio Inoki in Japan in the 1970s. The sport gained international exposure and widespread publicity in the United States in 1993, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Royce Gracie handily won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament, submitting three challengers in just five minutes, sparking a revolution in the martial arts. Meanwhile in Japan the continued interest in the sport resulted in the creation of the PRIDE Fighting Championships in 1997.

The movement that led to the creation of the UFC and PRIDE was rooted in two interconnected subcultures. First were the vale tudo events in Brazil, followed by the Japanese shoot wrestling shows. Vale tudo began in the 1920s with the "Gracie challenge" issued by Carlos Gracie and Hélio Gracie and upheld later on by descendants of the Gracie family. In Japan in the 1970s, a series of mixed martial arts matches were hosted by Antonio Inoki, inspiring the shoot-style movement in Japanese professional wrestling, which eventually led to the formation of the first mixed martial arts organizations, such as Shooto, which was formed in 1985. The concept of combining the elements of multiple martial arts was pioneered and popularized by Bruce Lee in the late 1960's to early 1970's. 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." His innovative concepts were recognized in 2004 by UFC President Dana White when he called Lee the "father of mixed martial arts."

The United States Army began to sanction Mixed Martial arts when the US Army Combatives School held the first annual All Army Combatives Championships in Nov 2005.

The sport reached a new peak of popularity in North America in the December 2006 rematch between then UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former champion Tito Ortiz, rivaling the PPV sales of some of the biggest boxing events of all time, and helping the UFC's 2006 PPV gross surpass that of any promotion in PPV history. In 2007, Zuffa LLC, the owners of the UFC MMA promotion, bought Japanese rival MMA brand PRIDE, merging the contracted fighters under one promotion and drawing comparisons to the consolidation that occurred in other sports, such as the AFL-NFL Merger in American football. (CreditL Wikipedia).

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