The term MMA is delivered from Mixed Martial Arts, a unique combat sport which brings together all forms of combat to create an individual sport of its own. Primary styles which are used in MMA include boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling, Brazilian ju-jitsu, judo and karate.
It appears that a form of MMA named pankration was a combat sport in the ancient Greek period. Ancient Greek pankratiasts were worshiped hero warriors including the legends of Arrichion, Dioxxipus, Polydamos and Hercules. Pankration first took place as an official Ancient Olympic sport in 648 BC with bouts taking place inside a combat arena which had sides of 12 to 14 feet – similar to a small modern day boxing ring. Pankration was the subject of many myths and legends. Many of the characteristics of pankration now form modern day MMA. Gladiators in Roman times often fought in coliseum battles with no weapons in a battle to the death, making it a sport with a deep history in human society.
Over the past two decades there has been a significant growth in the formalisation of MMA, with organisations forming to both sanction and promote MMA simultaneously. It is a unique feature of MMA, with other combat sports relying on a promoter to produce events, and a sanctioning body to recognise world and regional titles.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been the modern day leader in producing, promotion and recognising world champion MMA fighters and events. The UFC is led by president and CEO Dana White. The UFC promotion found it difficult to get events sanctioned by state and international government regulated legislative boards, as MMA was seen as an unsavory and almost cannibalistic activity. However when White took over – after convincing business associates to purchase the fledgling business for $2 Million – he transformed both the UFC and the sport of MMA. White made effective rule changes which made event cards more attractive to state commissions, and promoted and emphasizes the athletic capabilities of the fighters, who were undoubtedly great athletes.
A popular and significant part of the growth of modern day MMA was the production of the reality television series The Ultimate Fighter. The Ultimate Fighter took a behind the scenes look at the life and unique culture of up and coming MMA fighters.
Most MMA contest take place inside a cage, which is primarily of octagon formation. This makes the sport exciting and fascinating for participants, spectators and followers of the sport as it create a coliseum feel like the previous gladiators of the Roman era.
MMA is primarily popular in North America and regions of Asia. Recently there has been a growing trend for MMA fighters to travel to Thailand to train in Muay Thai to improve abilities in this area, as it is becoming of recognized importance.
Modern day MMA stands alone as an individual sport, with an increasing presence and growing culture. There have been several attempts to migrate boxing and MMA promotions together, however given MMA uniqueness both from a sporting and business perspective it has made it difficult for supporters to become fans of both sports simultaneously.