MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, and it is the fusion of different styles of martial arts and combat sports. This full contact sport blends the best aspects of disciplines like boxing, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, wrestling, muay thai, judo and karate so that a person is able to defeat an opponent using different fighting and striking techniques. It is quite new, since it was developed in the 90´s; however, it has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world, gathering an audience as massive as the boxing audience.
Although it started out as a sport that was considered barbaric because it had no rules and everything was allowed, today things have changed. It may not seem to, but the MMA have strict rules now, that protect athletes from severe damage, although at the same time it allows a lot of action. The MMA has evolved and now has more rules, weight categories, and round limits. In addition to these rules, a list of fouls that could not be committed inside the octagon was created.
Since then, the sport has gained millions of followers, turning it into a million-dollar business.
In fact, betting on this sport also moves millions of dollars a year. MMA is becoming increasingly popular around the world. While it is most popular in America, in Europe there is also a very large crowd that follows this sport, that is why bets on the UFC are growing exponentially too; or as they say in Spain “las apuestas UFC están en su esplendor”.
What is UFC?
Many people thing that MMA is the same as UFC, but they are not. UFC stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, the main MMA organization in the world, created in the United States. The popularity of this organization is what has made people relate it directly to the sport. In simple words, MMA is a sport, and UFC is a league within the sport. As it is the most important league in the world, it is better known and that is why it generates confusion. It is important to clarify that the UFC is not the only MMA organization out there, there are hundreds of organizations around the world.
Before the UFC was created in the United States, similar events where held in Brazil and Japan. Those events called Vale Tudo (Anything Goes) allowed fights without gloves and had almost no rules. The first UFC tournament was in 1993. But back then, the UFC is not the same as we know it today. Before, the UFC had no weight classes, no gloves and virtually no rules.
Nowadays, the UFC is completely regulated, that is why it is no longer considered a human cockfighting or a violent sport. In fact, it has become one of the fastest growing sports, gathering more and more fans around the world.
As we have already mentioned, Ultimate Fighter Championship is the most important company in the MMA, and it continues to grow. By 2016, UFC’s PPV (pay-per-view) had already surpassed boxing events, and by now it is getting closer and closer to the wrestling audience. Today, the numbers have increased exponentially, turning the UFC into a multimillionaire activity. Especially when we talk about bets. UFC betting is very popular among fans; people from all around the word can bet on UFC fights. In Spain, the UFC betting or “las apuestas UFC” (as Spaniards say) is in full swing. UFC betting is a business that moves millions of dollars a year.
The origin of the MMA can be traced back to the motivation of knowing which martial art or contact sport was the best to defeat any opponent. It has also been related to “Pankration” which was a sport practiced in ancient Greece. It was martial art that combined wrestling with boxing and would have been part of the training of some Greek soldiers.
Others relate it to the “vale tudo” events in Brazil, as it also accepts the use of various fighting techniques. However, vale tudo is considered an independent discipline and is taught as such. While MMA is the combination of different martial arts and is usually taught separately. However, the birth of this sport is also related to Helio Gracie, a Brazilian martial artist who created the martial art called Gracie Jiu jitsu (or Brazilian Jiu jitsu). During his lifetime, he dedicated himself to spreading his style of combat. Then, his son, Rorion Gracie founded the UFC, to demonstrate the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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