Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a mixed martial art that combines elements of boxing, wrestling, judo, jujitsu, karate, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), and other disciplines. MMA rapidly shed its no-holds-barred reputation and evolved as one of the world’s fastest-growing spectator sports in the early twenty-first century, despite initial criticism as a brutal blood sport with no regulations. MMA events are sanctioned in several nations and all 50 states in the United States.
Mixed martial arts is thought to have originated during the 648 BCE Olympic Games when pankration—the military training of Greek armies—was regarded as the oldest Greek fighting sport. Wrestling, boxing, and street fighting were used in harsh competition. Only biting and eye-gouging were prohibited, kicking and hitting a downed opponent. When one of the combatants concedes defeat or is knocked out, the contest is over. Competitors have died during matches in the past. The ancient Olympics’ Pankration became one of the most popular events.
Regulations and rules
The UFC was a driving force behind creating a set of regulations to standardize the sport worldwide. By 2009, regulatory agencies in the United States and numerous fighting promotions worldwide had approved the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. MMA fighters participate in a ring or a fenced area, wearing padded fingerless gloves but no shoes or headgear, and fighting in a call or a gated area. They may strike, toss, kick, or grapple with an opponent, and they can attack from either a standing or a prone position. Headbutting, gouging (shoving a finger or thumb into an opponent’s eye), biting, hair pulling, and any crotch attack are all outlawed. Certain assaults on a grounded opponent, such as kicking or kneeing the head, are also banned, as are downward elbow strikes, neck blows and strikes to the spine or back of the head. If a fighter breaks a rule, the referee may issue a warning, deduct points, or dismiss the offending participant (especially if a flagrant infraction is suspected).