What is MMA?

What is MMA? What is the history behind this combat sport and who are the most popular fighters? Below we answer these questions.

What is MMA?

MMA is the acronym for Mixed Martial Arts, and as the name suggests, it combines martial arts and wrestling to create a unique and disciplined sport. There are six different types of sporting techniques that are used in contemporary MMA. These include those from judo, wrestling, traditional boxing, Roman wrestling, karate and Tae Kwan Do.

MMA is fairly new, but it is actually one of the fastest-growing sports across the globe that is played both professionally and at an amateur level. Most MMA fights consist of three rounds, although in some circumstances they can go as far as five rounds. Each round lasts approximately five minutes. There are strict rules that need to be followed in each match, and these are documented in the Unified Rules handbook. It should also be mentioned that the UFC, which is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the main organisation behind MMA.

The history of MMA and how it started

Although MMA is a fairly modern sport, popularised by the UFC in the early 1990s, this combat sport, which is played both on the ground and while standing, has actually been around for thousands of years.

The origins of MMA began in ancient Greece. When played during the Olympics, it was known as Pankration. The Romans also adopted this sport as their own. However, the MMA we know today, as already stated, came to fruition in the 1990s.

There were several MMA associations before the emergence of the UFC. These included shoot wrestling and the Jiu Jitsu Gracie clan that originated in Japan, plus Vale Tudo that originated in Brazil. Although popular in their own countries, they were rarely seen in the rest of the world.

The first UFC fight was aired in 1993 and this is what really catapulted MMA onto the world map. Surprisingly, it was only meant to be a one-off as part of a competition that demonstrated the different sporting techniques that we see in MMA today. Due to the huge success of this televised event, MMA grew to become a successful sport.

Famous MMA fighters

Over the decades, MMA has seen the emergence of dedicated, professional and skilled fighters. Here we share three of the most famous MMA fighters in the world.

Georges St-Pierre

George St-Pierre, or GSP to his fans, is from Canada and is viewed by many to be the greatest MMA fighter ever. He only lost two fights during the first three years of his MMA career, and has won every single match since then.

Anderson Silva

Silva is best known as The Spider and is also viewed by many fans to be the best MMA fighter in the world. This is because for seven years he was the reigning UFC champion. Many of his fans still remember the match with Chris Weidman, in which he sustained a broken leg.

Royce Gracie

Royce Gracie was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame and is a pioneer of MMA. He was one of the very first UFC fighters and won his first match against Ken Shamrock. He is also well known for making the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu popular and the sport it is today.