Mixed martial arts is a combat sport. It allows disciplines from various martial arts such as boxing, karate, taekwondo, Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling and Brazilian Jujitsu to compete.
MMA was initially heavily criticized and labeled as a no rules blood match. However, it is currently one of the most popular sports in the world right now and its popularity continues to grow with many new fans being attracted to the sport.
What is the UFC?
Just like NBA which is a basketball organization and basketball which is the sport, people often make the mistake of calling MMA the UFC. They are interlinked but the UFC is actually an MMA organization. The UFC was formed in 1993 and is labeled as the premier MMA organization.
Are there any rules?
There is a misconception is that there are no rules in MMA. The UFC has actually incorporated rules to make the sports safer and more acceptable to the public.
Each fight has 3 – 5 rounds depending on the level of the fight. Normal fights will be 3 rounds, however, championship bouts will be 5 rounds. Each of these rounds will be 5 minutes each.
Fighters can win fights by submission, knockout, technical knockout (TKO) or by points. The fights can also be scored a draw or disqualification.
What is Pride FC?
Pride FC is a Japanese MMA organization that was formed in 1997. It only lasted 10 years however this period was seen as the golden era of MMA with some of the best fighters and fights. Iconic fighters in this era were Wanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson and Fedor Emelianenko, all of whom went on to fight in the UFC.
Were there rules and differences between the organizations?
Although the UFC and Pride FC were both MMA organizations there were some differences in the rules. Pride FC was seen as being more brutal. With a 10 minute first round instead of 5 minutes. Elbows, soccer kicks and head stomps were also allowed to be performed while the opponent was on the ground. Each of these moves is illegal in the UFC and doing them will result in a foul.
Pride FC became famous for its legendary tournaments called Pride Grand Prix where fighters competed in multiple bouts in the same night. Just like the UFC, Pride FC had weight categories however, it also had open weight bouts were fighters of different weights would compete against each other.
The emergence of women fighters
MMA is a male-dominated sport. However, there have always been female competitors. Recently female MMA has grown in popularity. This is largely due to the promotion the UFC has done to create female superstars such as Rhonda Rousey and Misha Tate, One of the greatest female MMA fighters of all time is Brazilian Cris Cyborg.
Current crop of superstars
After the historic days of Pride FC. The UFC now has a new era of MMA superstars. Fighters such as Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Nate Diaz are not only popular for their fights and fighting style but for their trash talk and behavior outside of the ring that encourages media attention.