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Submitted by on Aug 27, 2021

Mixed martial arts (MMA), often known as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), or ultimate fighting, is a full-contact combat sport that combines striking, grappling, and ground fighting tactics from numerous combat sports and martial arts from across the world. The phrase “mixed martial arts” was originally used in a review of UFC 1 by television journalist Howard Rosenberg in 1993. The identity of the person who originated the phrase is a point of contention.

Various interstylistic competitions took held throughout Japan and the Four Asian Tigers countries in the early twentieth century. Vale Tudo was a Brazilian sport in which fighters of diverse styles competed with little to no regulations. Vale Tudo bouts were popular within the Gracie family as a method to promote their particular Brazilian jiu-jitsu style.

Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do popularise the notion of mixing aspects of different martial arts in the West throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki fight in 1976 in Japan, between boxer Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki, was a forerunner to contemporary MMA. It spurred the formation of Pancrase in 1993 and Pride Fighting Championships in 1997.


Tough Guy Contest, subsequently renamed Battle of the Superfighters, was founded by CV Productions, Inc. in 1980 as the first regulated MMA league in the United States. In Pennsylvania, the corporation sanctioned 10 events. The Pennsylvania State Senate, however, approved a law banning the sport in 1983.

The Gracie family founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) MMA promotion organisation in 1993, bringing Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the United States, which had been established in Brazil since the 1920s. The company held an event with almost no rules, owing to Art Davie and Rorion Gracie’s influence in attempting to replicate Vale Tudo fights that existed in Brazil, and would later implement a different set of rules (for example, prohibiting kicking a grounded opponent), which differed from other leagues that were more in favour of realistic fights.

Competitors from various fighting styles were put against one another in tournaments with minimal restrictions, which were originally advertised as a competition to identify the best effective martial arts for genuine unarmed conflict. Individual warriors then combined several martial arts into their fighting technique.

MMA promoters were under pressure to implement new rules in order to improve participant safety, comply with sport laws, and extend the sport’s popular acceptability. The sport has grown in popularity as a result of these developments, with a pay-per-view industry that matches boxing and professional wrestling.

Leitai, a no-holds-barred mixed combat sport that incorporated Chinese martial arts, boxing, and wrestling, first emerged in Ancient China.

The Pancrastinae is a statue depicting the pancratium, which occurred in the Roman Colosseum. Statues honouring notable pankratiasts were erected in Rome and other places as late as the Early Middle Ages. This statue, which is currently at the Uffizi, is a Roman replica of a lost Greek original from the third century BC.

A brawl between Ancient Greek pankratiasts. Lamberg Collection, originally discovered on a Panathenaic amphora.
Pankration was a sport in Ancient Greece that involved grappling and striking abilities comparable to those found in current mixed martial arts. Pankration was created by merging existing wrestling and boxing traditions, and it made its Olympic debut in the 33rd Olympiad in 648 BC.

Except for biting and gouging, which were prohibited, all blows and grips were permitted. There were no rounds; the combatants, known as pankratiasts, battled until one of them could no longer fight or signified submission by raising their index finger. “No branch of sports was more popular than the pankration,” writes historian E. Norman Gardiner. Similar mixed combat sports have also been found in Ancient Egypt, India, and Japan.

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