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MMA Fighting & Mixed Martial Arts Fighting
Freestyle Fighting for Great Athletes

  1. What Is MMA Fighting
  2. The Rules of MMA Fighting & Mixed Martial Arts
  3. Strategies for MMA Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts
  4. How to Train for MMA Fighting
  5. MMA Fighting Moves
  6. How MMA Fighting Got Started
  7. The UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship
  8. The Fans of MMA Fighting
  9. The Stars of MMA Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts

mma fighting mixed martial artsWhat Is MMA Fighting

MMA Fighting, also called Mixed Martial Arts, is a combat sport with full contact and no holds barred. MMA competitions bring together two fighters of different backgrounds for freestyle fighting with only a few rules. Fighters try to defeat their opponent by submission or by knock out. Fighters can use any of the martial arts and other tactics to defeat an opponent. The rules allow the use of striking and grappling techniques while standing or on the ground. Basic fighting tactics are punching, kicking and grabbing each other in a clinch.

Unlike professional boxing, MMA is authentic fighting, without scripts or acting. The intense level of athletic training, nutrition, conditioning, workouts and practice builds awesome fighters.

mma fighting mixed martial artsThe Rules of MMA Fighting & Mixed Martial Arts

mma fighting mixed martial arts ground fighting
MMA Ground Fighting
The rules for MMA fighting may vary between events. Unlike boxing and wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts has no international sanctioning body. The people who organize a MMA fight can decide the rules for that fight.

Early free-for-all MMA fights were criticized and called human cockfights. They were perceived by some as “barbaric, no-rules, fight-to-the-death” competitions. Basic rules are now in place to protect the fighters, to get state licensing for events, and to meet the requirements of television broadcasters.

MMA fighting matches often take place in an 8-sided cage, called the octagon.The fighters wear small gloves with open fingers to reduce cuts and bleeding. Each fight is timed. All non-championship fights go three 5-minute rounds. Championship fights are five 5-minute rounds. The “stand-up” rule allows the referee to make the fighters stand up if it appears they are both resting on the floor.

Weight classes for MMA fighting were set up to better match the fighters. The weight classes are: Lightweight 160lbs and below, Welterweight to 170, Middleweight to 185 lbs, Light heavyweight to 205 lbs., and Heavyweight at 205 lbs and up.

The winner of the match is determined when any of these events occur:
  • A fighter is knocked out
  • A fighter submission
  • The judges' decision is made after the scheduled time for the match has elapsed,
  • The referee stops a match because a fighter cannot defend himself anymore.
  • The fight doctor stops the fight due to any injury.
  • The fighter’s cornerman conceeds and throws in the towel.

mma fighting mixed martial artsStrategies for MMA Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Ground & Pound Fighting
The techniques utilized in MMA Fighting & Mixed Martial Arts competition are usually striking actions or grappling actions, executed while the fighters are standing up or on the ground. Striking techniques include kicks, kneeing and punches. Grappling techniques are clinch holds, pinning holds, submission holds, sweeps, takedowns and throws. Generally, MMA bans biting, strikes to the groin, eye-gouging, fish-hooking and small-joint manipulation. Some fights may allow elbow strikes, headbutts and spinal locks.

mma fighting mixed martial artsHow to Train for MMA Fighting

Today, Mixed Martial Art fighters must cross-train for combat in a variety of styles. For instance, a stand-up fighter needs much more than boxing footwork to handle a submission artist who has also trained on takedowns.

MMA fighters learn many traditional fight disciplines. For stand-up fighting, fighters need skills in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and forms of full-contact karate. They practice footwork, elbowing, kicking, kneeing and punching. For fighting in the clinch, fighters study Freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, Sambo and Judo. They practice clinching, takedowns and throws.

For MMA ground fighting, fighters learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, shoot wrestling, catch wrestling, Judo and Sambo. This training improves ground control, submission holds and defense. To cover the various disciplines, Mixed Martial Arts fighters work with a fight team and multiple coaches who are specialists.

mma fighting mixed martial artsMMA Fighting Moves

  • Sprawl-and-brawl is a popular stand-up MMA fighting tactic that consists of effective stand-up striking, and avoiding ground fighting, by using sprawls to defend against takedowns.
  • Clinch fighting and dirty boxing use a clinch hold to keep the opponent close, while also attempting takedowns and striking the opponent using knees, stomps, elbows, and punches. Wrestlers may rely on clinch fighting against a stand-up fighter.
  • Ground-and-pound is a popular MMA tactic for fighting on the ground. It consists of taking an opponent to the ground using a takedown or throw, obtaining a dominant top position, and then striking the opponent. Eventually the opponent may submit or be knocked out.
  • Submission grappling is also a ground fighting tactic. An opponent is brought to the ground using a takedown or throw and then a submission hold is applied, forcing the opponent to yield the match.
  • Lay-and-pray is a static strategy used when a fighter can control the opponent on the ground, but is unable to mount an effective offense. The fighter simply maintains control of the opponent, "praying" for a victory by the judge’s decision. The “lay and pray” tactic may be penalized if it looks like the fighter is stalling.

mma fighting mixed martial artsHow MMA Fighting Got Started

MMA Fighting Pankration
Mixed Martial Arts is an old style of combat, traced back to the Pankration, when boxers and wrestlers fought each other in the original Greek Olympics games in 648 BC. The premise of mixed fighting was to pit martial artists of different styles against one another to see which style was truly the best. Fights that allow different styles of fighting have also been called wrestling, shoot fighting, vale nudo, no-holds-barred fighting, or freestyle fighting.

In more recent times, a famous fighting competion between a boxer and a wrestler took place in 1887. John L. Sullivan, the world heavyweight boxing champion, entered the ring against his trainer, Greco-Roman wrestling champion William Muldoon, and was slammed to the mat in two minutes.

The next memorable encounter occurred in the late 1890s when future heavyweight boxing champion Bob Fitzsimmons took on European Greco-Roman wrestling champion Ernest Roeber, and was defeated by the wrestler.

MMA fighting, modern Mixed Martial Arts fighting, has its roots in two kinds of competition: the Vale Tudo from Brazil and Japanese Shootfighting. In 1930 in Brazil, Carlson Gracie and the Gracie family issued Gracie’s Challenge, an invitation for every competitor to compete in a no-holds-barred fight. The family promoted Gracie jiu-jitsu, which allows a smaller person to overcome a larger one and neutralize the attack. It is effective when there are no weight classes to separate the fighters, and it had no rules, no time limits, no gloves, no judges, no decisions and no draws.

Later, around 1970 in Japan, Antonio Inoki organized a series of mixed martial fights called Shootwrestling or Shootfighting and created the first MMA organization, called Shooto. Arguably the most famous MMA fight, in 1976 champion boxer Mohammad Ali took on and lost to wrestler Antonio Inoki in Japan.

The concept of combining the elements of multiple martial arts was pioneered and popularized by the famous fighter and movie star Bruce Lee in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He developed a personal freestyle fighting called Jeet Kune Do. Lee believed that "the best fighter is not a boxer, karate or judo fighter. The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style." Bruce Lee is recognized as the father of Mixed Martial Arts fighting.

mma fighting mixed martial artsThe UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship

MMA Standup Fighting
In the United States, modern Mixed Martial Arts fighting began in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the UFC, to promote the sport. UFC competitions draw the world’s greatest fighters. In 1993, the first UFC tournament was quickly won by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Royce Gracie, who submitted three challengers in just five minutes.

In 2000, the UFC was purchased by Zuffa Entertainment. After the sale, the UFC was licensed in Nevada, and owners were able to build up the pay-per-view audiences on cable TV. Meanwhile in Japan, continued interest in the sport resulted in the creation in 1997 of the PRIDE Fighting Championships. PRIDE was later purchased by Zuffa LLC, the owners of the UFC.

The United States Army recognized that Mixed Martial Arts was the most effective fighting technique for real unarmed combat situations. In 2005, the Army began its annual Army Combatives Championships.

mma fighting mixed martial artsThe Fans of MMA Fighting

MMA fighting is a young sport, with young fans. The fights are an exciting mix of boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and more, all rolled into one. Although it is still thought of as a fringe sport, Mixed Martial Arts fighting is on its way to becoming mainstream. The sport continues to evolve as fighters master new techniques. MMA popularity is growing, as are the fight purses and bonuses and the multi-million dollar endorsement contracts.

mma fighting mixed martial artsThe Stars of MMA Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts

  • MMA Mixed Martial Arts fighter Royce Gracie was born into the family that developed Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. His brother Rorion Gracie began the UFC.
  • With his Mohawk haircut, Chuck Liddell, “The Iceman,” is a well recognized star of MMA. He is a sprawl-and-brawl fighter who specializes in knocking out his opponents.
  • Mixed Martial Arts fighting is an equal opportunity sport with many events for women. Fighter Gina Carano, daughter of the Dallas Cowboy football player Glen Carano, began by studying Muay Thai and then moved into MMA fighting.
  • Fighter Chris Brennan, “The Westside Strangler,” relies on his background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to keep him among the top fighters of Mixed Martial Arts fighting.
  • In 2005, The Ultimate Fighter, a reality TV show, began its long successful run. It brought two teams of MMA fighters to compete on each episode. Teams were led by famous Mixed Martial Arts fighters Chuck Liddell and Randy “The Natural” Couture.
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