WHAT IS THE MMA ? Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) indicate a full contact combat sport whose regulation allows the use of all sports techniques of "striking" martial arts (BOXE, Kick Boxing and Thai Boxing) combined with those of grappling , Judo, Wrestling and Greco-Roman, Catch Wrestling).
The term mixed martial arts (often abbreviated to MMA, acronym of the English term Mixed Martial Arts, and sometimes improperly called free fight, no holds barred or vale tudo) indicates a full contact combat sport whose regulation allows the use both percussion techniques (ie kicks, punches, elbows and knees), and wrestling techniques (such as throws, levers and strangulations). An MMA competition begins with standing combat which can continue on the ground and the athletes can win by points, by KO or by submission (i.e. by forcing the opponent to surrender by leveraging or strangling). The term derives from the fact that the format is originally conceived as a point of comparison between different disciplines; but over the years, by adapting the techniques of each to the new scenario, combining different styles and studying strategies functional to the context of this sport, according to some judgments, mixed martial arts would have taken their own path for which they would be evolving towards a style in its own right. In general, those who compete in professional MMA competitions have specialized in some particular combat sport, which they practice regularly or who have learned to focus that type of fight within a mixed martial arts match.
UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The MMA is currently the highest expression of combat sports, and the UFC is the most important MMA championship in the world and the largest "showcase" to express oneself at the highest possible levels.
Pancrazio and ancient history. The roots of mixed martial arts are, in spirit, the heirs of the tradition of the ancient Greek pancratius. The ancient Greeks introduced this discipline in the Olympic Games in 648 BC, in it not only boxing and wrestling were combined, but the regulation allowed athletes to use every possible technique to defeat the opponent, even the most brutal, so much so that the the clash was on the borderline between sport and war action. Pancratium also spread to Roman society and Greek athletes often fought in arenas. Subsequently, in 393, Emperor Theodosius I banned pagan holidays, such as the Olympic games, by edict, so that ancient fighting disciplines such as circus games and pancratius itself were banned. Therefore, the memory of it was lost in the following Middle Ages, even if it is the subject of debate among scholars whether it could have survived in some limited niche within Byzantine society.
The mixed fighting of 1900.
Until the nineteenth century there is no news of combat sports competitions with the simultaneous use of boxing and wrestling techniques, but in the colonies of North America the English practitioners of Lancashire catch as catch can sometimes engaged in almost unregulated clashes. sayings rough and tumble. In Anglo-Saxon countries, however, meetings began to be organized, especially in fairs and circuses, which engaged practitioners of English boxing against Taekwondo or wrestlers of various different specialties. These meetings were known by the term no-holds-barred and were entertainment shows rather than a real sport.
In the United States, the first major fight between a boxer and a wrestler in contemporary times took place in 1887, when John L. Sullivan, the then world heavyweight boxing champion, stepped into the ring against his athletic trainer, the Greek champion. -Roman William Muldoon, and was knocked to the ground in two minutes. The next publicized bout took place over the next decade, when future heavyweight champion Bob Fitzsimmons defeated Greco-Roman European wrestling champion Ernest Roeber. In 1936, heavyweight Kingfish Levinsky and professional wrestler Ray Steele met for a challenge that Steele won in 35 seconds.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the British engineer Edward William Barton-Wright made his contribution to the development of mixed combat systems. He was not only among the first to introduce the study and practice of oriental disciplines to the West, but after spending many years in the East and in particular in Japan, he developed the idea that the best elements of the various martial arts could be combined in a single effective discipline for self-defense in an unarmed society. He founded a martial art in which boxing, savate, kōdōkan judo, jujitsu, schwingen and canne de combat merged, actively studying both distance and close combat, with bare hands or with sticks, standing and on the ground. The discipline was called bartitsu, merging his surname with the term "ju-jitsu". Bartitsu was the first known martial art to combine European and Asian fighting styles. Furthermore, Barton often organized meetings in England in which representatives of European wrestling and Japanese champions confronted each other. Nevertheless, after Barton's death, the bartitsu school went into decline and was only rediscovered in the following century.
The US influence.
Towards the end of the 19th century, inter-style combat encounters, known as Merikan, from Japanese slang for "American combat", spread to Japan. Merikan matches pitted an Asian wrestler, who could only take jujitsu, against a Westerner who could punch; Judo practitioners soon began to take over, discouraging American interest in the discipline.
After World War I, fighting in the West followed two main lines. On the one hand there were the so-called "shoot" competitions, with physical fights that ended with the defeat of the opponent; on the other hand the "show" competitions, in which the clashes followed choreographies turning into real shows, with professionals who were athletes and actors at the same time; from the latter would then originate today's pro wrestling.
In the late sixties and early seventies of the twentieth century, the concept of combining elements of various martial arts was popularized by Bruce Lee, with the introduction of his jeet kune do. Lee believed that only effective techniques in combat should be used, from whatever source they came: a fighter should be as flexible and adaptable as water. He actualized what Barton had already anticipated in England years earlier and brought him into the spotlight in North America and then, consequently, in the rest of the world.
These ideas were the inspiration for the consolidation of today's MMA system, although the scope is different: competitive competition for MMA, self-defense and street fighting for Lee, who in particular rejected sporting confrontation as an end in itself. same. Jeet kune do was also important for the development of hybrid martial arts systems. In 2004, UFC president Dana White would even call Bruce Lee the "father of mixed martial arts", stating: "If you notice the way Bruce Lee trained, the way he fought, and the various things he wrote , he said that the perfect style was not having style. You have to take a little of something out of everything. You take the good things from every different discipline, you use what works and throw the rest away."
The movement that ultimately led to the creation of today's American and Japanese mixed martial arts scenes stems from two interconnected sub-cultures and two fighting styles: Brazilian jiu-jitsu and shoot wrestling. The first emerged at vale tudo meetings in Brazil, followed later by shooto shows in Japan.
Dana White - UFC president
TOWARDS MODERN SPORT
The Gracie family.
The practice of the vale tudo began in the twenties of the twentieth century and became famous with the "Gracie challenge" (or Gracie challenge) instituted by Carlos Gracie and Hélio Gracie, then carried on by their descendants. The tournaments of vale tudo were free and very bloody fights, the term in Portuguese in fact means "worth everything" and the regulation forbade only bites, scratches and fingers in the eyes. In this type of competition, two schools excelled: the ju-jitsu school of the Gracie, precisely, and that of Luta livre. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu quickly became popular for its effectiveness, as members of the Gracie family often prevailed in tournaments. Hélio became the figure of reference, being the school head and the greatest expert in the family.
In the nineties his nephew Rorion Gracie emigrated to America where he opened the first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools in the United States and organized the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC, following the rules that were already of the vale tudo. The first edition was held on November 12, 1993, and was born as a tournament with eight participants, without weight or time limits, with very few rules (no fingers in the eyes, no bites, blows to the genitals were only fined, you could freely give heads and blows to opponents who have ended up on the ground, etc ...), with the aim of comparing masters of various disciplines to demonstrate what, in theory, "the ultimate martial art" was. The first tournaments proceeded by single elimination and whoever won the final won a whopping $ 50,000. His brother Royce Gracie distinguished himself by winning three of the first four competitions, defeating three challengers in the first in less than five minutes total. The Gracie family became a key figure in the MMA circuit and Royce with his victories gave international visibility to this competition, to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and to the vale tudo regulation.
Antonio Inoki and Japanese wrestling.
In Japan, on the other hand, pro-wrestling matches based on inter-style matches, known as Ishu Kakutōgi Sen (異種 格 闘 技 戦, literally "heterogeneous combat sports") became popular with Antonio Inoki in the 1970s. Inoki was a pupil of Rikidōzan, but also of Karl Gotch who trained many Japanese wrestlers in catch wrestling. He promoted meetings called Shoot wrestling or Shoot fighting, in which champions such as Tatsumi Fujinami, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Satoru Sayama (better known as "Tiger Mask"), Masami Soranaka and Akira Maeda, among the most famous Japanese professional wrestlers of that period, stood out. . In 1985 the Shooto mixed martial arts organization was created, followed in 1993 by the Pancrase tournament; named in honor of the ancient pancrazio, even if it was actually a derivation of shoot wrestling.
At the same time, the spread of the idea of combining wrestling and percussion influenced Azuma Takashi, a black belt in karate kyokushinkai and judo, who helped spread the idea of comparing and combining multiple styles by developing at the end of the 20th century the hybrid martial art known as daido juku kudo. Takashi drew on training techniques and methods of various combat sports, and then organized meetings similar to those of mixed martial arts (but with some differences such as the presence of the gi, protective helmets and a time limit for the fight on the ground. ). He encouraged his students to compete also in other disciplines and in other tournaments.
The first worth tudo tournaments in Japan were held in 1994 and 1995, in the wake of the American UFC, and were both won by another member of the Gracie family, Rickson. In 1997, in Japan, interest in this sport finally resulted in the birth of the mixed martial arts organization Pride Fighting Championship, currently the main event of the sport together with the UFC.
In 1999 Ozawa Takashi at the same time founded the Zendokai karate. It is in fact a mixed martial art which unlike MMA has a well-defined technical program.
The term "Mixed Martial Arts" was instead coined by Rick Blume, president and CEO of Battlecade, another tournament organized in North America after the first UFC, in 1995.
Regulation: the "unified rules".
In the following years, MMA continued to spread and develop, eventually gaining a media interest capable of rivaling boxing and pro-wrestling. Also for this reason, given that the fights could be too bloody for an increasingly large audience, as well as to preserve the health of the athletes, first in the UFC and then in other organizations, rules were gradually added that limited the wrestlers with respect to the rules. (which indeed often in many countries was considered on the threshold of legality if not practiced only in clandestine matches), while keeping MMA the freest and most flexible combat sport of all, up to current standards. The various tournaments born after 1993 were all identical in basic substance, but gradually introduced small differences in the rules that differentiated them from each other. In almost all American states, for example, combat sports competitions that did not have weight categories, minimum protections and time limits became illegal, so MMA tournaments had to adapt, moving away from the format that had been desired by the Gracie for the first UFC.
In April 2000, the California State Athletic Commission unanimously voted for a series of regulations that later became the basis for the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. However, when the legislation was subjected to legal analysis, it was determined that the sport was outside the jurisdiction of the CSAC, rendering voting superfluous. In September 2000, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board began allowing matches to take place in New Jersey. The intent was to observe them directly to gather sufficient information to establish a comprehensive set of rules to effectively regulate the sport. On April 3, 2001, the NJSACB ordered a meeting to discuss this in an attempt to unite the myriad regulations that have been used over the years by different mixed martial arts organizations. The already proposed unified rules were welcomed by the NJSACB, several other regulatory bodies, numerous promoters of mixed martial arts events and other interested factions in the circuit. At the conclusion of the meeting, all parties agreed on a unified 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 matches in North America. In 2009, a motion was made at the annual meeting of the Association of Boxing Commissions to adopt these rules under the name of "Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts". The motion passed unanimously.
Nowadays, therefore, talking about MMA specifically means talking about the unified rules and each tournament, match or match fought according to its specifications (with minimal variations), although several and important non-US organizations still use different set of rules such as the Pride rules or the global fight rules.
The sport reached a new peak in popularity in December 2006 in North America during UFC 66 in the fight between then light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former champion Tito Ortiz, rivaling the PPV sales of some of the biggest fights. of all-time mixed martial arts, and helping the 2006 UFC PPV outperform any other PPV promotion in history.
In 2007, Zuffa, promoter of the UFC MMA promotion brands, bought the Japanese rival brand Pride FC, merging the wrestlers under contract into a single organization and drawing comparisons with the consolidations that took place in other sports, such as the merger between AFL and NFL that took place in American Football.
Since the UFC burst into the mainstream media in 2006 and the 2007 merger with Pride and the subsequent purchase of the WEC, few companies have presented competition.
However numerous organizations have promoted significant shows in rivaling the UFC, among them were Strikeforce, Bellator, Dream, IFL and EliteXC.
On April 30, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada the UFC set a new audience record with UFC 129 bringing 55,724 spectators to the Rogers Center, the event also set the MMA box office record that amounted to $ 12,075. 000, the highest salary in Toronto for any event. UFC 129 could also hold the record for the whole of Canada, however the revenues for the 2010 Winter Olympics are not counted.
As a result of the increased number of practitioners, organized training camps, dissemination of information and modern kinesiology, the understanding of the combat effectiveness of different strategies has been greatly increased. UFC commentator Joe Rogan claimed that martial arts evolved more in the years following 1993 than in the previous 700 years.
The high profile of modern MMA promotions such as the UFC and Pride have spurred an accelerated development of the sport. The early 1990s saw a wide variety of traditional styles competing in matches. However, the first editions saw different levels of success between the various disciplines. The mixed martial arts therefore from the first UFC tournaments have given the spark to a general evolution in the styles of fighters: when they were launched, in fact, the world panorama of martial arts was shaken by the highlighting of tactics, strategies and settings that locally they had already been widespread for a long time (especially in the val tudo) but which internationally were still fertile ground for discovery, study and application. The limelight of mixed martial arts provoked the evolution of training methods and fighting styles of athletes and martial artists who wanted to compete in these open tournaments, highlighting above all the need to learn different types of confrontation.
The outcome of the first UFC tournaments made it appear that most of the fights were resolved in the ground fight, which put practitioners of primarily percussion arts (called "strikers") at a disadvantage against those who they specialized in ground fighting (called "grapplers"). The members of the Gracie family, particular specialists in this type of combat and already for decades expert interpreters of the format of the vale tudo (as were the first UFC) and of crossing different styles, had no difficulty in quickly imposing themselves against opponents practicing a only pure discipline and who often had no experience in dealing with an adversary expert in grips and levers, when they did not literally ignore what to expect and what responses to give to such initiatives.
Subsequently it was the American Olympic wrestling practitioners who dominated, they used their superiority in standing wrestling and excellent athletic training to knock down the opponent, block him to the ground and from there force him to surrender even by knocking him out simply by unloading punches from a position of clear advantage (a method called "ground and pound", or "knock it down"). Wrestlers such as Dan Severn, Don Frye and Mark Coleman were among the UFC pioneers of this tactic. The Olympic wrestlers won the most no-rules UFC tournaments (1-12), winning six editions out of twelve. In Japanese tournaments, on the other hand, shoot wrestlers were quite successful, offering a good combination of wrestling and catch wrestling techniques. It therefore became important for a versatile and efficient fighter to study the fight and in particular of a style that contemplated submission techniques. The prominence it had in MMA tournaments has even contributed to codify a new international sporting discipline (now recognized by the International Federation of Associated Struggles) simply called submission wrestling or submission grappling which does not allow boxing or kicking techniques but which allows fighting techniques. and the submission techniques used in mixed martial arts, without using the gi.
In the late 1990s the "strikers" learned to prevent knockdowns and became more adept at fighting on the ground, being able more often to keep fighting standing. The Chute Boxe gym in Brazil produced many champions who imposed themselves by adapting muay thai techniques to the reality of MMA style combat. Examples of Chute boxing athletes are Wanderlei Silva and Anderson Silva. In contrast to ground and pound, "sprawl and brawl" (or "stand up and fight") also spread. The study of percussion techniques, both on the long distance (simple kicks and punches) and above all on the short one (elbows and knees, in particular in the contact phase called clinching) thus regained considerable importance, even if in some tournaments it was lesser because the regulation partially or completely prohibited the most dangerous techniques such as elbows or kicks on the ground.
Conor McGregor - The most famous world champion of MMA
For these reasons, if at the beginning in MMA tournaments representatives of individual schools were compared with their own methodologies and settings (often adapted to a type of confrontation that envisaged different rules, objectives and needs), nowadays those who are engaging in mixed martial arts is almost always induced or required to study different disciplines, both to perform at best in the exchange of blows, and to fully master the phases of the fight. This practice is called "cross-training", that is, cross training, to indicate that an athlete practices several combat sports at the same time from which he draws that wealth of techniques and specific experience to confront himself in the expressed modalities of MMA. Especially after the advent of the 21st century, specific sports courses of MMA have also spread, i.e. in which various sectors are not studied separately (eg percussion with gloves, percussion with bare hands, standing wrestling, ground wrestling, etc.) but the training directly involves the study and practice of the type of match that occurs in MMA, and therefore a boxing phase with gloves, a contact phase and a fight on the ground in which the exchange of blows is foreseen; all according to a style now in its own right, therefore different from what those who compete specifically for matches of a particular specialty can have.
Since the late 1990s both strikers and grapplers have been successful in MMA although nowadays it is rare to see an untrained fighter in both percussion and wrestling reach high levels of competition. Generally the most trained disciplines to study the various aspects of combat are Olympic wrestling, muay thai, submission grappling, brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and boxing, however it happens that some athletes come from other styles such as judo. , taekwondo, kyokushinkai karate, sambo and sanda.
In November 2005, recognition of the effectiveness of mixed martial arts as a combat sport came when the United States Army included it in the first annual Army Combatives Championships intramilitary tournaments organized by the US Army Combatives School.
The programs and regulations of the MMA. (For the programs and regulations of the MMA, the WKLF refers to the relevant international Federations)
More to know about MMA: articles, news, photos, videos...
UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC acronym) is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. The UFC is the most important organization in the field of MMA globally. The company's headquarters is in Las Vegas and is led by WME-IMG and was founded by Art Davie, Rorion Gracie, Robert Meyrowitz and Ayoub (QF).
The UFC began operating at a tournament organized to identify the best fighter in the world, of any fighting style, following the rules of the Brazilian vale tudo. With an extremely limited set of rules, the UFC first became known for its no-holds-barred fighting and the brutality of punches, kicks, knees, and heads that fighters inflict on each other. Very strong pressures from different environments pushed the UFC into the undergrowth of combat sports, also decreeing the end of the transmission of events in pay-per-view and consequently reducing its visibility.
The UFC was able to recreate itself by adopting stricter rules, binding itself to athletic commissions and self-identifying itself as a legitimate promoter of combat sports. Leaving behind the label of unregulated organization and carrying the banner of mixed martial arts, the UFC has re-emerged from isolation becoming socially more acceptable, regaining pay-per-view spaces and promoting shows on free-to-air TV stations. In the United States it is possible to follow the UFC on the Fox Sport network; UFC shows are also broadcast in over 150 countries around the world and were held not only on US soil but also in more than 10 different countries.
The UFC uses the regulations in effect in the state hosting the event, the most widespread being the unified MMA regulation, created by the Nevada commission in 2017. The fights take place in an octagonal cage.
She was awarded Promotion of the Year at the Fighters Only World MMA Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Best MMA Brand in 2008 and Best MMA Gloves Manufacturer in 2009; was also awarded Promotion of the Year for Best Female MMA Organization at the Women's Mixed Martial Arts Awards in 2013 and 2014.