Mixed martial arts, commonly known as MMA in its abbreviation is a full body contact combat sport that allows a wide range and variety of fighting styles from a mixture of martial arts form to be used in ring fight competitions. This is why the sport allows martial art practitioners of various persuasions and schools to compete. The term mixed martial arts was first coined by Rick Blume, CEO and president of Battlecade in 1995.
The origin and history of MMA is thought to have begun in Europe, Japan and China from the early 1900s. Modern MMA competition emerged in the early 1990s with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), although professional MMA competitions had been held in Japan since 1989.
Although mixed martial arts competitions originated with the intention of searching for the most effective martial art form as competitors were pitted against each other with minimum safety rules, but due to the many serious injuries that had occurred, many additional rules for safety reasons has since been introduced. Following the changes, MMA has seen increased popularity with pay per view reach rivaling even other combat sport such as professional boxing and wrestling.
Mixed style fighting contests such as boxing vs wrestling or kung fu vs karate were popular entertainment throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. These contests were known as merikan in Japan which literally means American Fighting . In the late 1960s to early 1970s the concept of combining the elements of several form of martial arts was popularized by the late Bruce Lee through his fighting philosophy of Jeet Kune Do.
Bruce Lee believed that the best fighter is not a boxer, karate or tae kung fu practitioner, but someone who can adapt to any fighting style. Thus in 2004, UFC President Dana White called Bruce Lee the father of mixed martial arts.
In 1993, MMA as a sport gained world wide attention when a Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter called Royce Gracie won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament by defeating three opponents under five minutes. In May 1999, The International Sport Combat Federation (ISCF) was formed as the world s first MMA sanctioning body and this brings in a new era of MMA as a truly recognized sport worldwide.
In December 2006, MMA reached a new peak in popularity when a rematch between then UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former champion Tito Ortiz resulted in pay per view sales of some of the biggest boxing events of all time.
The early years of the sport saw a wide variety of fighting styles ranging from Karate to Muay Thai Kickboxing, but as the sport evolves, the styles that were proven ineffective met their natural demise while the effective ones such as the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) stood tall amongst others.
Victory in the ring is usually either by the judges decision after an allotted amount of time is up, stoppage by the referee or the fight doctor, a submission by a fighter s cornerman throwing in the towel, or by a knockout. Knockout or KO as it is known is when a fighter becomes unconscious and his opponent is declared the winner.
In a submission, a fighter may declare defeat by tapping on the opponent s body, the mat, a verbal announcement or a technical knockout (KTO). The ref may stop a match in if the fighter becomes dominant to the point where the opponent cannot intelligently defend himself and is taking a lot of punishment or when a fighter appears to be unconscious from a submission hold or due to a strike or when a fighter appears to have a serious injuries such as a bad cut or a broken bone.
The referee may also call for a doctor stoppage if a fighter s ability to continue in the match is in question as a result of injuries sustained during the fight such as a large cut. The ring doctor will inspect the fighter and stop the match if the fighter is deemed unable to continue the bout safely thus rendering his opponent the victory. However, if the match is stopped as a result of an injury from illegal actions by the opponent, either a disqualification or no contest will be called for instead.
A combatant s corner man may announce defeat on behalf of the fighter by throwing in the towel when the match in progress or in between rounds. In the case of the match going its full distance in time, then the outcome of the match is determined by a panel of three judges.
In the case of a disqualification, a warning will first be given when a combatant commits a foul or illegal action or does not follow the referee s orders. A fighter earning 3 warnings get an immediate disqualification. If a fighter is injured and unable to continue the match due to a deliberate illegal technique, his opponent will be disqualified. In the event that both fighters commit a violation of the rules, or when a fighter is unable to continue due to an injury from an accidental illegal technique, the match will be declared a no contest .
At the moment, mixed martial arts as a sport is gaining fast popularity worldwide and MMA schools are poping up all over the world. It looks as if that this form of martial art sport will be here to stay for a long long time.