Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is now one of the biggest sports in the World. Here we can take a look at where it all started, and what has made it so popular.
“The best fighter is not a Boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt on any style. He kicks too good for a Boxer, throws too good for a Karate man, and punches too good for a Judo man.” ― Bruce Lee
Martial arts such as boxing and wrestling have always competed against each other to see which style is best. The beginning of MMA can be traced all the way back to Roman / Ancient Greek times where these such 'unarmed' contests would take place.
MMA fighters must be proficient in a number of martial arts styles. MMA combines aspects of many different fighting styles, so to be successful a fighter will need to master Judo, Boxing, Wrestling, Kickboxing, and/or many more!
Fighters all possess different 'strengths'. Kickboxing backgrounds such as Michael Page's, means he predominantly uses kicks, strikes and evasions. Whereas an opponent proficient in Jiu Jitsu will utilise holds and locks to try and take the fight 'to ground'.
Due to the above, fighters 'transferring' to MMA will have to learn more martial arts in order to be successful. A boxer for example will need to master wrestling or Jiu Jitsu to become successful.
As a result of this, MMA fighters are able to carry on fighting even if they are out of their comfort zone. Depending on the opponent, competitors will have to adjust how they are fighting and which skills they need to use.
Relatively unknown or not 'mainstream' martial arts have grown in popularity due to the success of MMA. For example Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu are extremely effective in MMA bouts, so have become part of many fighters training schedule.
The mainstream success of MMA gas seen rules and regulations improved to keep competitors safe. It's reputation as a glorified street fight has been changed into what could be considered the utimate test of a serious martial artist.
As above, during MMA contests, fighters are not allowed to gouge eyes, strike to the groin, or strike their opponent if they are unconscious. Whilst rules differ according to organisation, they are in place to protect fighters and keep contests entertaining.
Mixed Martial Arts was actually considered for the 2004 Olympic Games. Due to it's ancient beginnings as an unarmed combat sport. It was however later decided to include various other sports ahead of it.
The leading MMA organisation is the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). It was founded nearly 25 years ago, in 1993, and now includes some of the most recognised athletes in the world. Some of the UFC's top earning fights are amongst the highest earning pay per view events of all time.
It's safe to say MMA is firmly amongst the most viewed sports in the world, with fighters such as Conor McGregor going on to amass fortune and fame previously unprecedented in martial arts.
What do you think is the most effective martial art used in MMA? Let us know in the comments or through our social media channels @MAOmagazine.
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