While mixed martial arts has only been organized and televised for the last 20 years or so, the sport’s roots go back many hundreds of years. Fighters use skills from the world’s most ancient of martial arts as well as new styles of fighting. This versatility is what makes MMA so excited to watch and to learn. For those with little knowledge about MMA, here are a few important facts.
Nothing will get you tossed out of a gym faster than the words, “Isn’t MMA just like the WWE?” WWE is fake. The guys might look tough, but they aren’t actually fighting. In a sanctioned MMA fight, you get to see two tough fighters use every move in their fight arsenal in order to overcome their opponent. In the fighting world, MMA is as real as it gets.
You probably already guessed that it’s called mixed martial arts because it mixes several types of martial arts together. Each fighter is able to use whatever martial arts skills they have during the bout, which allows them to adapt to an opponent more easily. There are many styles showcased in MMA, including boxing and wrestling, as well as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Vale Todo and many others. While some fighters might be experts in one style, they also learn skills from several other martial arts. Some fighters are more versatile than others. For example, Fedor Emelinenko is a Grand Master in Sambo, as well as holding a black belt in Judo.
Some people confuse the terms MMA and UFC, believing that they are the same thing. The UFC is an MMA organization but there are plenty of other groups out there hosting great mixed martial arts fights. Bellator MMA, for example, hosts a series of prominent tournaments, as does King of the Cage and other smaller enteritis. Just about every large city in the country has MMA events during the year, so there is rarely a weekend that goes by when you can’t find an MMA event to attend.
At one time in its history, Senator John McCain referred to MMA as “human cockfighting.” In the early days, MMA was certainly more dangerous, but sanctioned fights are now under the guise of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which has plenty of rules in place to protect fighters. Since the rules were created, there have been three deaths occurring from injuries during a sanctioned MMA fight. Fatalities, however, are a sad reality of many sports, such as bicycle racing, skiing, NASCAR events, and even soccer has a deadlier record than MMA.
There are plenty of other facts you’ll need to learn, but you can start by simply watching some fights and reading some blogs and forums about the sport. If you want to take a look at some of the top names in the sport today and in the past, look up names such as Carlos Gracie, Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Fedor Emelinenko, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, BJ Penn, Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre just to name a few of the important figures in MMA.