The Rise of MMA

Two UFC fighters go after each other.

Two UFC fighters go after each other.

Justin Rouhana

Two UFC fighters go after each other.

Mixed martial arts, a brutal sport, but at the same time, very intriguing. MMA as most people know it, is becoming increasingly popular. With all the talk of concussions and there negative effects to the brain in football and many other sports, many rules and regulations are being put into effect to protect players. MMA has said, “to hell with that”, and their beloved sport is as brutal as ever.

Most people are familiar with the Ultimate Fighter and The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC. There are other leagues though, such as the Bellator Fight Club and Strikeforce, which is under ownership of the UFC but run by the original Strikeforce CEO. These are less known leagues but still recognized as becoming a professional fight, if of course you are signed with them, in the MMA world.

Former NCAA Heavy-weight wrestler Brock Lesnar, who excelled in the sport, almost unrecognizable after a fight.

In MMA there are little to no existing rules. The fight can be brought to the ground from the stand-up position, which is most familar as it is essentially the same thing as boxing. The fight is brought to the ground through a takedown by means of throws or leg attacks or by a strike which knocks your opponent off his feet. On the ground, there are no knees to the head allowed but everything else is fair game. It can get very bloody in situations like these and often, what happens on the ground can determine the rest of the fight.

There are several weight classes, flyweight (0-125 lbs.), bantamweight (125-135 lbs.), featherweight (135-145 lbs.), welterweight (145-170 lbs.), middleweight (170-185 lbs.), light heavyweight (185-205 lbs.), heavyweight (205-265 lbs.) and super heavyweight (265-∞ lbs.). In other combat sports such as boxing, the heavyweight fights are usually the most entertaining as there are a lot of knockouts in the fights. In MMA there are a lot more ways to win a fight other than knock out. The heavyweights of MMA also do not have as many high speed movements and glamorous kicks and other strikes as the lower weights do. This has caused many MMA fans to enjoy the lower weight fights more, with the exception of the light heavyweight fights. This is a weightclass with the best of both worlds, knockouts and big strikes as well as submissions and quick feet.

UFC fighter Forrest Griffin after one of his fights, demonstrating the brutality of the sport.

MMA is a combat sport in which several combat sports are combined together all into one. Common fighting styles consist of traditional wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, boxing, Brazillian Jiu-jitsu, Judo, Karate and Muay-Thai. Brazillian Jiu-jitsu is a form of Jiu-jitsu in which the goal is to grapple with your opponent without using strikes and cause them to submit by using leverage and angles. Fighters who specialize in Jiu-jitsu are at a great advantage because their sport is designed to make it easier to defeat a much larger opponent. Greco-Roman wrestling or any type of wrestling is really useful in the sport because it is useful in taking down your opponent by means of throws and if you have the knowledge of Greco-Roman wrestling, you will be succesful in the grappling situations that occur very often in MMA. In Greco-Roman wrestling, you are not allowed to attack the opponent below the waist. This helps in MMA because you will be good at fighting through a clinch and taking your opponent down with minimal effort. These two fighting styles are the ones that most MMA fighters are successful in using. – Brazillian Jiu-jitsu – Greco Roman Wrestling

MMA really blew up in the world of sports in 1993, when the UFC had its first event in the US. Japan had had its own MMA leagues and fights for a while before it came to the US. The sport was publicized internationally when Brazillian Jiu-jitsu inventor and fighter Royce Gracie won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship. This sparked a revolution in the world of athletics and put MMA on the map.

MMA is breaking records worldwide in the statistics of Pay Per View numbers and has already surpassed the WWE and boxing pay per view records for most revenue and a single year. In 2007 the UFC took the record for most bets placed on a single fighting event from the world of boxing. Ever since MMA and the UFC have been making its changes to become mainstream, it has been blowing records out of the water.

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is one that is not very well known, is not very glamorous, is brutal and very violent. For some reason that no one will ever truly understand, people love it. It will go down in the history of sports and entertainment as one of the greats.