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A Brief History Of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

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Early Beginnings of MMA

The history of mixed martial arts (MMA) can be traced back to various cultures all over the world. In ancient Greece, pankration was a popular form of entertainment spectators would watch. Pankration was an unarmed combat sport that combined boxing and wrestling, and it was not unusual for matches to end in death. The Romans also had their own version of mixed martial arts called Psychopathia which consisted of boxing, wrestling, and street fighting. Ancient China also has a long history of mixed martial arts with various forms like Lei Tai and Shuai Jiao. In Japan, Shooto and Pancrase are popular forms of MMA that have their origins in Jujutsu, Karate, and Sumo respectively.

Modern MMA

MMA as we know it today started to take shape in the early 1900s with Catch Wrestling tournaments being held in England and America. These tournaments were based on catch-as-catch-can wrestling which was a style of amateur wrestling that did not have any set rules. The first professional Mixed Martial Arts tournament was held in Japan in 1936 by Jigoro Kano who was the founder of Judo. This event was called The Tournament of Champions and it featured freestyle wrestlers from Europe taking on Catch Wrestlers from America. The tournament was won by American Freestyle wrestler Ad Santel who defeated Japanese Judoka Seiko Iwata in the finals. However, it would not be until 1993 that MMA would gain worldwide attention with the creation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The UFC is an American mixed martial arts promotion company that is owned and operated by Endeavor Group Holdings (formerly Zuffa LLC). Dana White serves as President of the UFC while Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta operate as Co-Chairmen & CEOs respectively. The first ever UFC event was held on November 12th, 1993 at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver Colorado. It was called UFC 1: The Beginning and it featured eight fighters from different disciplines going head to head in one-on-one fights inside an eight-sided steel cage known as “The Octagon”. The event was won by fighter Royce Gracie who submitted three opponents using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu within one night to become the inaugural UFC tournament champion. Since then, the UFC has grown exponentially holding events all over the world with some Fight Nights being shown live on television networks such as FOX, ESPN & BT Sport here in the UK while pay-per-view broadcasts are still largely dominated by UFC programming. 


Mixed Martial Arts is a sport with a rich history dating back thousands of years ago to ancient Greece & Rome all the way through to modern-day promoters such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). While its popularity has waxed and waned over time, there is no denying that MMA today is more popular than ever before with events being shown live on television networks around the world. Who knows what the future holds for this exciting sport? Please check out the MMA fight gear and equipment Musclebound stocks, such as MMA sparring gloves, MMA fight shorts and MMA shinguards from world-leading brands such as MMA Venum, MMA Hayabusa, Fumetsu and One Championship.

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