Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports. The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be traced back to the ancient Olympics where one of the earliest documented systems of codified full range unarmed combat was utilized in the sport of Pankration. Various mixed style contests took place throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. The combat sport of Vale Tudo that had developed in Brazil from the 1920s was brought to the United States by the Gracie family in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest MMA promotion company worldwide.
Most 'traditional' martial arts have a specific focus and these arts may be trained to improve in that area. Popular disciplines of each type include:
Various forms of Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, TaeKwonDo, and Karate are trained to improve footwork, elbowing, kicking, kneeing and punching.
Freestyle, Greco-Roman wrestling, Sambo and Judo are trained to improve clinching, takedowns and throws, while Muay Thai is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Wrestling, shoot wrestling, catch wrestling, Judo and Sambo are trained to improve ground control and position, as well as to achieve submission holds, and defend against them.
There are four
major promotions right now that push this sport.
Bellator Fighting Championships:
World Series of Fighting:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest mixed martial arts promotion company in the world, which hosts most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport and produces events worldwide. Based in the United States, the UFC has eight weight divisions and enforces the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Dana White serves as the president of the UFC while Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta control the UFC's parent company, Zuffa, LLC.
The first UFC event was held in 1993 in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the event was to identify the most effective martial art in a real fight between competitors of different fighting disciplines, including Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Karate and other styles. In subsequent competitions, fighters began adopting effective techniques from more than one discipline, which indirectly helped create an entirely separate style of fighting known as present-day mixed martial arts.
With a cable-television deal and expansion into Canada, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Asia, and new markets within the United States, the UFC as of 2012 has gained in popularity, along with greater mainstream-media coverage. As of 2001 viewers can access UFC programming on pay-per-view television in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Italy. UFC programming can also be found on FX, Fuel TV, and Fox in the U.S., on ESPN in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, as well as in 150 countries and 22 different languages worldwide. UFC also carries a mobile site for on-the-go users and a Sports Bars page for fans to find places showing the pay-per-view. It is also available on the Roku streaming player.
It's current champions are:
Flyweight (125 lbs): Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson
Women's Bantamweight (135 lbs): "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey
Bantamweight (135 lbs): TJ Dillybar
Featherweight (145 lbs): Jose Aldo
Lightweight (155 lbs): Anthony "Showtime" Pettis
Welterweight (170 lbs): Johny "Big Rig" Hendricks
Middleweight (185 lbs): Chris Weidman
Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Jon Jones
Heavyweight (max 265 lbs): Cain Velasquez
It's current champions are:
Women's Strawweight (115 lbs): Jessica Aguilar
WSOF was formed in 2012, having signed a broadcast deal with the NBC Sports Network. This will be the third MMA promotion that NBC Sports has hosted, having broadcast World Extreme Cagefighting and Ultimate Fighting Championship events when the channel was formerly known as Versus. NBC Sports had been one of the bidders for the rights to broadcast future UFC events, but lost out to Fox. However, some journalists regarded WSOFs deal with NBC Sports to be a considerable coup for a debuting promotion, considering NBC Sports' past interest in the UFC. Upon the announcement of the broadcast deal, WSOF President Ray Sefo stated that the promotion wanted to host 8-10 events per year, whilst holding a one-year deal with NBC Sports. However, the next day, an NBC spokesman revealed that the deal only covered WSOFs inaugural event, with the option for more, should NBC hold a positive evaluation. On February the 4th 2013 it was reported by several news outlets that NBC Sports signed a 3 year deal with WSOF.
In the Summer of 2013, the World Series of Fighting quietly purchased Nicaragua’s Omega MMA and rebranded it World Series of Fighting: Central America. The promotion held its first event on July 27, 2013, headlined by former boxing world champion Ricardo Mayorga. In September 2013, World Series of Fighting purchased the Aggression Fighting Championship organization to enter the Canadian market, but it was later found out the AFC executives closed down the company to join a new organization World Series of Fighting: Canada. World Series of Fighting: Japan was created along with the newly formed partnership with Pancrase to host events in Japan, whilst plans are in place to create branches in New Zealand and Australia.
WSOF also uses a ten-sided cage for their events, unlike the UFC's eight-sided octagon.
Bantamweight (135 lbs): Marlon Moraes
Featherweight (145 lbs): Rick Glenn
Lightweight (155 lbs): Justin Gaethje
Welterweight (170 lbs): Rousimar Palhares
Middleweight (185 lbs): David Branch
Soon-to-be WSOF champions:
Heavyweight - Derrick Mehman, Mike Russow
Light-Heavyweight - Tyrone Spong
It's current champions are:
Atomweight (105 lbs): Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson
Strawweight (115 lbs): VACANT (Carla Esparza has moved to the UFC!)
Flyweight (125 lbs): Barb Honchak
Bantamweight (135 lbs): Lauren Murphy
Featherweight (145 lbs): Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino
Invicta Fighting Championships, also known as Invicta FC, is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) organization focused on female fighters. It was founded in 2012 by Janet Martin and former King of the Cage, World Fighting Alliance, International Fight League, Affliction Entertainment, UFC and Strikeforce executive Shannon Knapp. It has a strategic partnership with fellow Japanese MMA promotion Jewels.
When Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, purchased rival promotion Strikeforce in March 2011, Shannon Knapp received several calls from female fighters who were afraid of what the future might hold for them in Strikeforce since the UFC had never promoted a women's fight. As the women were calling Knapp for representation, she started looking at the issue and met Janet Martin, and between the two acquired the financial resources needed.
The term Invicta, a Latin word for "invincible and incomparable", was chosen by founders Knapp and Martin since the terms invincible and incomparable are very masculine, but the term appears in the feminine form in Latin, and they thought it was a good description for women's MMA.