What is the Difference between MMA and UFC?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) are not the same thing, though they are often confused. Mixed martial arts is a sport that is rapidly taking over boxing as the most-watched combat sport in the world. Once a rather brutal sport with few if any rules, MMA has become increasingly popular.

It is now possible to watch MMA online as well as in brick-and-mortar venues.  The sport is often hosted at casinos, as a draw to bring in more punters. Before and after the fight, the crowd can enjoy any of the table games or perhaps go online to one of the reputable keno casinos to take a chance on winning a progressive jackpot. Meanwhile, here we look at the differences between MMA and the UFC.  

Sport vs. organisation

The UFC is a US company based in Las Vegas, Nevada that promotes mixed martial art events.  While anyone can train in MMA, only a select few are permitted to fight in the UFC. This is similar to many sports where only select players can take part in certain leagues or tournaments. 

Around the world, MMA fighters are represented by several associations that have created their own rules for MMA, but in the US, several state commissions, including the UFC, have agreed on a Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Most other MMA rulebooks are a close variation of these agreed rules, though there are some big differences such as Japan, where fighters can kick an opponent’s head even if the opponent is on the ground. A move the UFC considers illegal.

Early history of MMA

The aim of an MMA fight is to defeat an opponent through the use of strikes, throws and grappling techniques. When MMA was first coming to light, fighters were usually expert in just a single martial art, but now fighters cross-train so that they not only excel at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for example, but also excel at wrestling, and different variants of boxing for a comprehensive set of essential skills needed in an MMA fight. 

Muhammad Ali

Perhaps the most famous MMA fight took place in 1976, when arguably the world’s best-ever boxer, Muhammad Ali, fought Antonio Inoki, a famous Japanese professional wrestler. Sadly, the match was a disaster as an MMA fight since Ali did not want to wrestle, and Inoki did not want to box. However, the fight led to clarification about what MMA should be.

The beginning of UFC

In the early days of the UFC, when fighters with different martial arts expertise fought to see which martial art was the best, the UFC had just three rules, which banned the worst aspects of fighting which were biting, eye-gouging and groin strikes, but even so, the marketing of MMA at the time still promoted a brutal sport. In the very early days, the fight would only end when one fighter was knocked out or surrendered, which led to some gruesome sights.

The UFC was later bought by Dana White and associates who, to promote MMA to a wider audience, improved the presentation of the UFC to make MMA cleaner and the Unified Rules were created in 2001, rules which continue to be followed by the UFC at events it hosts globally.  


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