After 7 years and 50 plus events, my favorite moments are when new fans venture out to an event. Mixed martial arts are one of the fastest growing sports in popularity and participation. I still find that most sports enthusiasts cringe a little bit when they hear the term “MMA”. I believe it is because the media has, until recently, painted a very grungy picture of the sport, its athletes, and the promoters. It is an uphill battle to change perceptions and cultural norms. The sport of MMA has come a long way from no weight classes and no rules. I digress…Why is it that I love introducing new fans to our sport? Because it destroys a preconceived notion that we are simply human cock-fighting.
I find that first time attendees are very engaged and eager to learn more. For this reason, we have compiled a series of educational/informative blogs to help fanatics taking their first steps into the mysterious world of mixed martial arts.
What is MMA?
MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, competition can be tracked all the way back to the Classic Greek era, where a combat sport known as Pankration was practiced.
Pankration involved a combination of striking and grappling skills, which draws comparisons of today’s MMA.
In the 1920’s Vale Tudo (anything goes) gained popularity in Brazil, which was described as an unarmed full-contact combat sport.
The term mixed martial arts (MMA) was first used in 1993, by television critic Howard Rosenberg.
The sport first started to gain worldwide exposure and publicity when Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter Royce Gracie won the very first UFC(Ultimate Fighting Championship) tournament, forcing three opponents to submit in a total of 5 minutes.
Royce Gracie’s ancestors played a big part in Vale Tudo gaining such prominence in Brazil.
The UFC officially adopted the term MMA in 1998, after previously referring to it as “ultimate fighting” or “no holds barred.”
The UFC and MMA in general started to hit it’s peak in 2006, after a light heavyweight rematch between UFC greats Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz set pay-per-view records.
Though UFC continues to be the ultimate proving ground for mixed martial artists all around the world; growing popularity for the sport has created opportunity for competition. Promotions such as Bellator, World Series of Fighting, One FC, and Hard Knocks Fighting Championship, all play a role in the growth and development of the sport.
Bringing us to today, where WME, William Morris Endeavor, bought the UFC for over 4 billion dollars. A heavyweight in the entertainment world, WME, is hedging their bet that MMA will continue to exponentially grow. They have even opened their door for clients to invest their own money into the evolving sport. Clients like Ben Affleck, Sylvester Stallone, Conan O’Brien, Mark Wahlberg, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Serena Williams, Maria Sharipova, and Adam Levine, just to name a few.
In blogs to come we will be discussing specific techniques, ways to win, the many forms a stage takes for athletes compete on(cage/rings/platforms), the evolution of the rules, weight classes, and many many others.